Managed Services Platform's vCIO community has been growing year by year since 2014. In fact, we are most likely now the largest active vCIO community in the world with more than 600 members. With this news, we have decided to create a short report regarding how we typically see our vCIO members across the globe.
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I am happy to introduce the sets of software features, updated templates, expert guide content and super specific programs to accelerate your growth! If your Account Management is not producing project revenues, your vCIO is not getting paid for advice, your Sales people are not getting leads or your cyber security services are not being sold then this release is for you! This is what we are going to cover:
- New Software Features for Growth
- Expert Guides for Growth
- Role Specific Programs for Growth
- Quarterly Sprints for Growth
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Whether you’re a “one-man-band”, an emerging MSP with a handful of people, a team about to reach the 20 people mark or even a large 50+ organization you have one thing in common: you may have reached a growth plateau and want to unleash your potential to get to the next level. In hindsight you can recognize that it all comes back to bottlenecks in your organization’s capabilities to unleash those potentials role by role: Account Management, vCIO, Technical Account Management, IT Sales, Cyber Security and even the owners. All of them have low-hanging-fruit opportunities and by snagging those you can get to the next level in a smooth, predictable way.
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For those of us who have been in technology for a while, we have seen some pretty crazy setups from well-meaning people. Largely this is because we have very smart capable people trying to work in environments with limited knowledge. Most were trying their hardest but just didn’t know any better.
Some of the crazy things I saw back in the day were “vlans” that were actually just subnets, firewalls with giant holes in the ruleset, and unrestricted VPNs that were completely insecure. These mistakes were not made by lazy admins, they were made by well-intentioned technicians that didn’t know they were doing anything wrong. All they knew was that things were working smoothly.
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Transforming your Basic IT Service Provider company into a high-value business partner is a study in communication - why you communicate, what you communicate and who is communicating to whom. There are four roles that are critical to your relationship with your clients. The communication from these four critical roles will determine whether your company is becoming a commodity or a differentiated brand. Let’s take a look at these roles and what you can do to make sure their communication will be excellent.
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The industry is changing, you need to evolve or be left behind by your clients. The next step to MSPs is vCIO, but how do we get there?
I have spent the last few years coaching MSPs on how to create successful vCIO programs. There is a consistent message across every single MSP:
“We want a vCIO program but have not been able to get it going”
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Here is the Problem...
Communicating with your clients at only the technical and tactical level will eventually lead to diminished engagement. Executives are looking for more strategic and business-oriented conversations. Without a clear understanding of the roles for the Account Managers, Technical Account Managers, Technical vCIOs or Business vCIOs it is nearly impossible to leverage any process, best practice or tool to get your critical audience excited.
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If you think technology strategy involves talking to your client about firewalls and server patching levels you are doing it wrong!
Technology is becoming a commodity. Just a few years ago you needed an engineer just to install wireless. Now anybody with a cheque book can order turnkey solutions from amazon and manage their entire technology stack from the cloud. Businesses need partners to help them compete, they don’t need to be more educated on the greatest next generation firewall.
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Starting vCIO services can be a struggle not just for you and your people, but for the clients too. There are some established expectations of vCIO services, which sets a hurdle right at their kickoff of these services. There is, however, a natural way of solving this problem: use easy to sell and easy to deliver productized vCIO projects.
Of course, developing such effective and elegant solutions does take time, so we’ve set up a shortcut to start, and let you build up vCIO Project products instead. Don’t worry - this isn’t taking on new work - just solve problems you’re expected to already, but start getting paid for all you do.
Let's see seven examples of typical vCIO products:
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We just finished our first ever live 3 day Managed Service Productization boot-camp in Banff, Canada. With 25 participants we worked to crack the code in scaling up the managed services. Jam-packed with real work, the workshop groups created amazing content and generated ideas that have been sparkling. I wanted to capture some of the more intriguing ideas the MSPs came up with.
I’ll be elaborating on these topics in upcoming weeks, since I see each topic as worthy of more than a blog post, but here are the main ideas. These are my personal Ah-ha! moments.
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If you’re running a successful, growing and modern managed service provider practice, you either have solid account management / technical account management practice in place, or you’re still doing it ad-hoc, and plan to develop a clear structure as soon as possible. In both cases calculating the ROI of the new role is critical, as well as setting goals and realistic expectations for the employees. Check out this ROI calculation and the huge potential of proper account management to growing your business.
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Here’s a mystery you all know all too well - pricing your stand-alone vCIO services so you’re not robbing your clients nor yourself...that trepidation when you’re putting together the proposal, or trying to ballpark a figure in a meeting. It’s always been a gamble. There’s a way to find the proper middle ground, following a simple process to help you to close more deals without risking a critical over or underestimation, of your client’s expectation or your services. Here is the formula...
We just call it a 20% rule....