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2 min read

Value of Relationships

By Adam Walter on Apr 11, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

People have to realize that relationships matter no matter what industry you’re in. If you can understand that, then you’ll be much more successful. It’s the same for MSPs. Relationships are extremely important for both you and your clients.

MSPs are known for going in and fixing technology while the person isn’t at their desk. But, does the MSP actually know the person or why they need their computer fixed? Do they know what they do at their business? These things are way more important than you may realize.

As you go about your business, you should be deliberate about building relationships with your clients so that you can be the best asset for them and so they trust your advice. It all goes back to strategic engagement — you don’t have to be an expert in your customer’s business, they’re already the expert in that. If you’re only engaging with the end-users when they’re not around and simply fixing the technical issues they are having, then you’re missing out on the opportunity to connect with them. We need to open ourselves up a bit because, when we do that, we begin to foster the business-focused relationships as well.

You may not see the value in these relationships, but trust us — there is extreme value! If you are not choosing to interact with your customers, you may be missing out on opportunities for bigger projects. The information that you learn from conversations can open up the flood gates for future projects and the trust that you have with clients who you have relationships with will help and your clients succeed.

Let’s look at doctors as an example. If you have a regular doctor that you go to a couple times a year for regular checkups and other types of appointments, then you have a relationship with them. They know about your history and they understand what has worked for you in the past, which helps them know what coud work in the future. You are most likely going to feel more comfortable and trusting with this doctor rather than an urgent care doctor that you only go to when you’re not feeling well or something needs checked out. The relationship and understanding that the regular doctor has with you is valuable.

This is not just just something that you have to feel obligated to do. It’s going to pay back by allowing you to accomplish more by knowing the person you’re working with or working for.

Now, there are going to be people that you don’t match with culturally, and that is good to know. You can help those people out by finding an MSP that will match their style of relationship or company better.

Besides the abstract value relationships bring the table, they have very concrete dollar amount attached to them as well. If your client knows you and you have a relationship with them, your suggestions for products and solutions will be more likely to be put in place. Your clients will be more likely to spend the money on something that you believe will help them because they know that you are on their side. This is valuable!

Ultimately, MSPs have to decide what types of relationships you want so you and your clients can get the most value out of them.

Topics: vCIO IT Management IT Client Engagement
2 min read

Tech and Teens

By Adam Walter on Apr 4, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

We’ve got a very special guest with us for this week’s episode: Lizzie Walter, my daughter! We’re talking about one teenager’s opinion on technology and how it affects school, home life and friendships. Here’s a glimpse into our conversation!

Adam and Skip: What kinds of technologies rule your life right now?

Lizzy: Snapchat and Instagram. I don’t have Snapchat, but most teenagers have them. I usually use Instagram over most other things, even though Instagram is pretty similar to Facebook.

Adam and Skip: When we were in school, we used to have books for classes and carried them around in our backpacks. Today, most people have Chromebooks for school. What do you guys use for school?

Lizzy: Google Classroom, a portal with all of our textbooks and video platforms, Google Keep for notes and Google Classroom to plan and keep track of assignments.

Adam and Skip: Do you trust these technologies, or do you feel the need to check on it and make sure everything is working properly?

Lizzy: I trust that it’s going to be there and give me the information that I need.

Adam and Skip: Google Classroom is pretty accessible. Given the choice, would you rather pick up your phone or your Chromebook?

Lizzy: I prefer my phone to quickly check assignments, but if I have to do something on a Google Doc, then I prefer to use my Chromebook because it’s easier to see and type on. And, It’s less distracting.

Adam and Skip: VR is the new, cool technology in town. How big are you on VR stuff?

Lizzy: It’s cool and all, but most of my friends don’t have a VR headset, so I can’t really talk to them or play with them on that. I have other stuff I can do with my friends.

Adam and Skip: What’s your digital life like at home?

Lizzy: We turn on the TV and everything that we want to watch is there. Sometimes we have to pay for stuff, but that’s becoming less and less of a thing. My phone, the switch and the Xbox are my favorite technologies at home.

Adam and Skip: It’s pretty normal to get mad at technology. Do you ever get frustrated with technology?

Lizzy: Yeah. I probably yell at my phone on a daily basis because something isn’t loading.

Adam and Skip: Do teens unplug or take technology breaks?

Lizzy: Some of us do, but not a lot. I feel like I need that every once in a while. I like being outside and it’s nice to get a break from technology. I really don’t think about how much I use my phone or other technology. I can see how much I use it, but it doesn’t really bother me because I am just used to it.

Adam and Skip: What do your friends think about technology controls or people watching over them on their devices?

Lizzy: I have gotten a few complaints about restrictions, especially when I run out of time on a game.

Adam: Can you explain to everyone what our deal is and how you get restrictions with your phone?

Lizzy: I usually get more restrictions when I am abusing the phone, spending too much time on it or downloading games I’m not supposed to. But, if I’m open with how I’m using my phone and my screen time goes down, then I get more freedom and my restrictions get loosened.

Adam and Skip: To wrap up, what’s one piece of advice you can give tech leaders and parents?

Lizzy: Restrictions are good because they help turn your kid in the right direction. You may think you’re being mean, but in the long run, it’s super helpful.

Just like at Humanize IT, good conversations and open communication help everything run smoothly. Thanks Lizzie for chatting with us about your take on technology! Join us next week for another episode.

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers Virtual Chief Information Officer Implement New IT Services
2 min read

Talk like a CFO

By Adam Walter on Mar 7, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

As an MSP, you probably hate talking about finances, but, learning to talk like a CFO will help you be able to better connect with your clients. A CFO is focused on what financial actions are going to increase profits for their company, and you can use them as a resource. Let’s dive in!

First, you have to think about the CFO the same as the CEO: they are an executive who is trying to run a company. A CFO is looking at the revenue coming in and, although they are not responsible for generating that revenue, they are responsible for how that revenue gets allocated. It’s their job to manage expenses and make the right financial decisions for their company.

When an MSP comes in and talks to clients about products and services, the CFO is just thinking about it being another expense. You can’t blame them, it’s their job. Everything is looked at as either risk or reward.

To speak like a CFO, you must think about the financial aspect and how the company’s finances get managed. This means you should talk about products and services in context with how they are going to help the CFO’s company. This will let your client know that you are being thoughtful with your technology suggestions and thinking of your client’s return on investment.

With that being said, you can also learn a lot from your client’s CFOs — they are going to be one of your best resources when it comes to defining what’s going to help the company. CFOs have spent a lifetime learning what they know and you have to take advantage of that.

Ultimately, you don’t have to be a financial expert. The CFO is already filling that role.

MSPs sometimes show up to client engagements with the expectation that you need to educate your clients on technology. If we leave it in those terms, you are not going to get those meetings right. You need to show up and allow your clients to educate you on their business. Along the way, you are going to explain your role and make sure that your client understands how their technology is helping them, but the role of teaching your clients how you do your job is not what your main goal should be.

If you want to sell your clients fully on a product, you’re going to have to talk like a CFO. And, to talk like a CFO, you’re going to have to learn from one.

If you really want to get in with a CFO, tell your client contact that you want to understand how finances work at their company. Ask if you could have some time with the company’s CFO to chat about how ride offs work within their industry to see if there are any that you could help them take advantage of with your technology and services. This will knock their socks off!

You may not know anything about finances or taxes and you may hate the thought of talking about those topics, but you can sell your CFOs on what you’re trying to implement if you can show them why and how it will benefit their business and use their knowledge as a resource.

Topics: vCIO IT Account Management
2 min read

Powerpoint Costs You Clients

By Adam Walter on Feb 28, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd 

Topics: vCIO IT Sales Person QBR Humanize Podcast
2 min read

Tech Conferences

By Adam Walter on Nov 29, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers IT Sales
1 min read

Thanksgiving 2021

By Adam Walter on Nov 22, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

Topics: vCIO IT Sales Person IT Sales conversation
1 min read

Daylight Savings

By Adam Walter on Nov 15, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

Topics: vCIO IT Management Drinks with IT
2 min read

Internet of Things

By Adam Walter on Oct 11, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3uooSU

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers Implement New IT Services Adam Walter
1 min read

Shiny IT Things

By Adam Walter on Sep 20, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3uooSU 

Topics: vCIO CIO Humanize Podcast
2 min read

Episode 163: Exercise and IT

By Adam Walter on Aug 11, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl

Topics: vCIO IT Management MSP Humanize Podcast
6 min read

The State of the vCIO in 2020

By Dr Peter Torbagyi on Jan 7, 2021

Every year Managed Services Platform publishes a report about the state of the vCIO. We summarize the experiences of the largest vCIO community in the world. We’re not just interested in the major trends in the technology space, but how those impacted the vCIO role and responsibilities.

Topics: vCIO Virtual CIO CIO Managed Services Platform
4 min read

Do you have an Annual QBR Playbook?

By Myles Olson on Oct 2, 2020

Although client meetings are getting shorter due to the remote environment, account managers need to pack more into each session. Flooding the client with too much information in a short amount of time leads to an overwhelmed audience, a lack of decisions and countless unorganized follow up meetings. The key is to be able to define all the talking points with the client and spread them out logically over the year. This sets a predictable rhythm for the account manager and the client so they can discuss all salient points and make decisions one step at a time. In this blog we review how to best distribute the topics over the year and the critical points of developing your Annual QBR Playbook.

Your QBR Annual Playbook is your game plan to specify the different topics, decisions and engagement over the year on the different QBRs. This playbook is developed internally and shared with the client to engender alignment.

Different playbooks should be developed for different client segments. If you have only one meeting with a client for a year (as they are small and have no budget for more meetings) you cannot really have a playbook with them. However if they actually have 2 or more meetings a year then a playbook can come in quite handy. We are going to review a 4 meeting QBR formula as this can be applied to medium and larger clients as well.

Topics: vCIO QBR Quarterly Business Review
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