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IT Provider Network - The Podcast for Growing IT Service Providers
13 minutes | Jan 19, 2020
10 Things to think about before you launch an initiative in your MSP – ITPN-047
If you’re like me you started 2020 or Q1 for that matter with a list of initiatives you need to accomplish in your business. For us, we follow the 3HAG and Gazelles methodologies, so our 3-year initiatives get broken down to our annual goals which become or quarterly priorities. Somethings these priorities are to support the company, a division, a department or even a specific product or service. Whatever the objective is we always want to make sure that everyone is rowing in the right direction and that the objectives are really moving the company forward. Do your initiatives really move your MSP forward? Last week we had a leadership meeting and set out to do just that. See if our rocks in 2019 really “stuck” and made a lasting change in the company. I don’t think it was entirely surprising but most of them didn’t. And that’s what I want to talk to you about today. 10 things you should think about before launching an initiative in your company so that you can have a better chance of really moving your MSP forward. [INTRO] Defining your Rocks Of course, I don’t know your planning process but when we decide to move forward with something in the company, we have, in the past, set about it by documenting the priority with the following header type data: Let me give you an example. The title or subject of the priority: Improve operations and scalability by assessing and improving PSA configurations and processes. Why is this a top priority?: We are seeing that reactive tickets are taking too long to get resolved and we want to move to a dispatch type process for the helpdesk. What possible roadblocks do you see?: Techs are used to working from the service board, and now they will be working solely from their calendar. This might be a difficult change. What are some potential side effects from this?: Clients may not like speaking to a dispatcher since they are used to going direct-to-tech. This might cause some unhappy clients. From here we flesh out the priority with milestones and indicators of success. This concept of milestones and indicators of success confused me for quite some time but through observations of my own team, I think that right-brain people are better with the indicators of success and left brain (analytical) people with the milestones. So what are milestones and indicators of success? Milestones: Milestones are points along the way of the project or priority that needs to be accomplished so that the end goal can be met. Think of milestones as the important tasks or events needed to accomplish the project. These are typically assigned to dates so that the priority can be completed within the timeframe. Indicators of Success: This is how you know you are successful in achieving your goal with the priority. We have indicators of success in the “yellow”, “green” and “super-green” levels. This corresponds loosely to the good, better, best type of achievement for a priority. Start with the end in mind when you think of your indicators of success. Once we have our priorities, rocks, initiatives defined and an owner assigned, we score them weekly. We score the achievement of the priority as it exists today and our forecasted score for the end of the period. Quarterly if this is a quarterly goal. We score 1 to 4 with 3 being on track and good and 4 being exceeding expectations. New and Improved for 2020 – The 10 Questions you need to ask before moving forward This is what we have done for the last several years until last week’s meeting when we reviewed all the priorities from 2019 and realized we had some problems that could be addressed with more clarity before we started the initiative. That’s when we came up with these 10 questions that need to be answered before we green-light any new priority. Who is the implementation team? Who will actually get this done? Before we only listed the owner, now we are calling out the whole team. Think internally and externally. The “WHO’s” What is the meeting rhythm of the team to get this accomplished? Where and how will the team meet? What is the frequency of the meetings? This is different than what we have previously done where the owner would report status to the leadership team. This is the actual meetings to get the work done. Who do we need to consider when planning this priority? Who will be impacted directly and indirectly? Think internally and externally. What is the compelling reason behind this priority? Why are we spending time and money on this? What is our clearly defined “Why”? What best-practices are we trying to instill in the company? What new habits or best practices are going to come out of this priority that will make lasting change in the company. What likely roadblocks might we encounter? What will be the challenges in accomplishing our priority? What possible unintended side effect might be caused? How can we minimize them? How can we 80/20 this? How can we get 80% of the benefits with 20% of the effort? Where is the biggest payoff? What are the costs associated with this priority? How much money do we need to accomplish this priority and when do we need the money. How do we make sure there is a lasting change? What do we need to put in place to measure success long-term? Are there new KPI’s we need to keep this change alive and supporting the companies growth. I encourage you to define the answers to these questions with your group because different people have different viewpoints on each of the questions and we find this really helpful to get an honest, 360-degree view of the work to be done. That’s what I wanted to share with you today – 10 things you should think about before you embark on a new initiative in your company. The questions are by no means set in stone, use what you like and add your own. Let me know some of the things you think about when planning in your company? I would like to know about your business and what you’re planning for 2020.
11 minutes | Nov 28, 2019
Mind the Gap – ITPN-046
Show notes to follow Ask your questions or share your feedback •Comment on the shownotes below •Email email@example.com (audio files welcome) Get on the mailing list Low Volume by it is THE PLACE TO BE for all of my insider information. If you're on the list, you'll be the first to know. Signup Here Tell 'Em I Sent You If you investigate or purchase any product or service that I have talked about, please remember to mention that I sent you. I may or may not get a small commission but more importantly I hope to spread the word about the IT Provider Network. Please Subscribe Please consider Subscribing to the Podcast it is the only measure of listenership I have. Give me a Review Your written iTunes reviews encourage me and they help other people find the podcast. If you appreciate the information you are learning from the IT Provider Network then please do me a HUGE FAVOR and write a review on iTunes or on Stitcher! Connect with Me On the socials as @TerryRossi or @ITProviderNet Help a Brother Out Sign up for Coinbase Buy something from Amazon with my Affiliate Link I put these down here in case you are looking for anything from Amazon, I get a small commission if you click-thru from this site. You don't have to buy these items just click through from this page. Thanks in advance!
12 minutes | Nov 13, 2019
What I learned from Jay McBain at Marketopia’s 4U2GROW Conference
If you don’t follow Jay McBain from Forrester Research, you should. Not only is he a thought leader in our industry and a really nice guy but if you don’t follow him you would have missed his recent article The 64 Best Channel Podcasts Of 2019 where the IT Provider Network was listed among the best of the best. It was really ironic because I just saw Jay present at Marketopia’s 4U2Grow conference in Clearwater last month. Jay actually did two presentations but his first one blew me away and I want to share with you my takeaways from that talk on today’s episode of the IT Provider Network Podcast. Before I get into Jay’s talk which was entitled “Achieving Extraordinary Success in 2020 and Beyond” I have to tell you that even before Jay added The IT Provider Network to his article about the best 64 Channel Podcasts I was going to tell you about this research because it blew me away. Honest Jay I was! As I said Jay was one of the speakers at the Marketopia 4U2GROW users conference. If you have never been to a 4U2GROW conference I encourage you to attend next year. It is a really intimate event at a world-class venue with great speakers like Jay McBain,Terry and Andra Hedden, Manual Palachuk and Erik Simpson. If you aren’t familiar with Marketopia, they provide the channel (MSP’s and Vendors) with Marketing and Appointment Setting services. For full disclosure, I am a client and they gave me a Partner of the Year award. Having said that, they kill it for us with leads and that’s why we use them. Back to Jay’s presentation – I could never begin to do it justice but never the less it was so eye-opening that as soon as I was back at the office I attempted to present it to my management team. Here were my big takeaways. Buyers have changed – they are much more educated about what you are selling before you even speak to them. The playing field is much more leveled and in fact, buyers might know more about your offering and how it fairs in the marketplace that your salespeople do. Google is the great equalizer and buyers are making much more of the buying decision before they reach out to us. What this means to me is we all need to do a better job of getting in front of buyers BEFORE they have a need. Be the one they think of and can find on Google because 68% of them prefer to do their own research before talking to a salesperson. A whopping 65% of tech buying decisions are now made by business leaders, not IT. What we used to call shadow IT and look at as a threat is now becoming the norm. Line of Business leaders are now sourcing their own solutions or demanding specific solutions from IT. What this means to me is we need to expand our marketing relationships with our clients and prospects. No longer is it enough to build a relationship with the owner of the company, you need to expand your definition of the buyer and cater to all of them…uniquely. 80% of tech buyers report that the salesperson is NOT specialized enough. Wow, that means in our buyer’s eyes we are not getting it done. We need to work harder getting our teams up to date on the ever-changing tech landscape, cyber, compliance and everything else we profess to be the “expert” in. Jay also reported that 96% of MSP’s are unable to scale past 10 employees, and although Jay didn’t report it, I know almost that same percentage can’t scale past 1 million in annual revenue. The presentation went much deeper into these stats as well as the state of the channel, the explosion of software as a service and how buyers are bypassing traditional avenues and going to third parties to acquire the tech they need. There is a huge opportunity for us but we need to adapt and be agile. We need to cater to these new buyers and the way they buy. We need to expand our relationships with the buying groups that exist at our clients and prospects and stay in front of them with educational based marketing. Follow Jay – take a good look at your business and work on a plan to grow in 2020. I’m gonna help you if you are one of that 96 % do I have an offer for you. Stay tuned there is more to come! You can follow Jay McBain on Twitter https://www.twitter.com/jmcbain and LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/jaymcbain Ask your questions or share your feedback •Comment on the shownotes below •Email firstname.lastname@example.org (audio files welcome) Get on the mailing list Low Volume by it is THE PLACE TO BE for all of my insider information. If you're on the list, you'll be the first to know. Signup Here Tell 'Em I Sent You If you investigate or purchase any product or service that I have talked about, please remember to mention that I sent you. I may or may not get a small commission but more importantly I hope to spread the word about the IT Provider Network. Please Subscribe Please consider Subscribing to the Podcast it is the only measure of listenership I have. Give me a Review Your written iTunes reviews encourage me and they help other people find the podcast. If you appreciate the information you are learning from the IT Provider Network then please do me a HUGE FAVOR and write a review on iTunes or on Stitcher! Connect with Me On the socials as @TerryRossi or @ITProviderNet Help a Brother Out Sign up for Coinbase Buy something from Amazon with my Affiliate Link I put these down here in case you are looking for anything from Amazon, I get a small commission if you click-thru from this site. You don't have to buy these items just click through from this page. Thanks in advance!
8 minutes | Apr 29, 2019
Information on upcoming training from Tony Robbins, Dean Graziosi, and Russell Brunson – Live April 30th
12 minutes | Apr 11, 2019
Who do you want to serve? ITPN-043
13 minutes | Jan 26, 2019
Kiss that Frog
One of my favorite Peter Gabriel songs is “Kiss that Frog” and today I want to urge you all to start each day by kissing that frog … although I pretty sure my advice is a little different than Peters. The dreaded Task List You know all the things on your to-do list that never seem to get done? The stuff you push off every day because something more important gets in the way, or at least that’s what you keep telling yourself and your co-workers, clients or employers. These are the frogs I want you to kiss. In our company, we have an accountability sheet We call it the “WWW” sheet. WWW stands for who, what and when and it is the way we monitor tasks that need to be done to move our company forward. Most of the tasks relate to the 6 core functions in our business. By assigning a “who” and a “when” to each “what” we make someone accountable to the task and we have assigned a deadline to it. The problem is some of those who, what , whens never seem to get done. They get discussed each week during our huddle and the due date gets pushed out further and further but they don’t get done. Since this is happening in the senior leadership team, the creme de la creme in our company, I’m sure it’s happening in team meetings throughout the company and that sucks. Wasted time and agreed upon priorities not getting done. These hard to accomplish tasks, whether they are personal like getting a haircut, or an oil change for your car, or business things like giving a performance review, or calling a client to tell them you are sorry for a mistake you made. These are the things I call frogs. I call them frogs because they are things we don’t even want to touch. We move away from them and try to avoid them at all costs. Kiss that Frog Imagine for a minute that you really had to kiss a frog, imagine it was on your WWW list. You had to give it a big wet 3-second kiss. You’d probably put it off as long as humanly possible, schedule it out for a year in the future. If you had a year to do it you would probably do it on day 365, the very last day of the year. It’s human nature we put off what we don’t want to do till the last possible moment. Think about it, when you finally forced yourself to kiss that frog, you’d pucker up and give it a big long wet kiss right on the slimy skin of his back. What would happen? You’d probably freak out a bit, spit and complain LOUDLY, but it would be over in a minute, well really 3 seconds TOPS! 3 seconds that you spent 364 days agonizing over, A year of stress for something that took less than a minute. When it comes to things we don’t want to do, agonizing over it is almost always worse than actually doing it. Once you kiss that frog, you’re a little freer, you have less weight on your shoulders and you are free to move on to the next thing without the burden of kissing that frog hanging over you. Better get a new notebook! I can help you fix this problem but you better get a new notebook because I bet if you’re like me you have hundreds of frogs to kiss. You see the way these things work is that we constantly procrastinate on all of lives burdens and they build up in our minds. We carry them around like heavy luggage every day. I know you don’t think you have 100 open items on your internal to-do list but I bet you do! I might even venture to bet you have twice that and that’s a lot of weight to carry around. These little things add up and bring you down. Let me share with you some common ones I see: The Top Ten List Working on Personal Relationships Actually doing “Date Night” Saying NO when you know you should Firing Someone Tolerating a consistently late employee Making a doctors appointment for yourself Ending a joint venture or partnership that’s been over for quite a while. Doing Employees Performance Reviews or one-on-one coaching Dealing with Unresolved Conflicts of all types, at home and work. Making a Will or updating your life insurance. I’m guessing that at least some of these frogs will resonate with you. If you think about it, I’m guessing that you have been planning to make a plan to get it done for quite a long time. The Five Things you need to do to get Kissing Find your Frogs Many people smarter than I have told you that if you want something to happen you need to write it down. The same is true if you want to kiss those frogs. You need to figure out what you have been avoiding and write it down. Writing it down frees them from your head. If you know you have to do it and it makes you even a little uncomfortable, write it down, get it on paper and free your mind. Kiss those Frogs Daily Kiss those Frogs every day. Now you need to start kissing those frogs and you need to make it a habit. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit so set your mind right that you are going to do this for 21 days straight. But to start let’s focus on the first 5 days and only kissing one frog a day. Pick 5, large or small, big or little, it doesn’t matter but pick 5 things you have been avoiding and start today. This is about building momentum, about getting rid of some of your backlog and feeling good about crossing out some open items that you’ve been ignoring. The 5 D’s Have you ever heard of the 5 D’s, I googled it and found out that it was defined as “A term used to describe a wholehearted effort to avoid someone/something.” It comes from dodgeball. Dogde Duck Dip Dive Dodge Don’t ask me why dodge is listed twice, I don’t know and I really don’t care. The 5 D’s of frog kissing is a little different. If you want to get something done that you have been “wholeheartedly been trying to avoid” then you need to do one of these 5 D’s. Do It – Just like Nike you first choice to deal with a frog is to Just Do It! Kiss it and get it over with Don’t Do It – Just like Nancy Regan said, “Just Say No”. Tell the person or persons no, you will not be doing whatever they have asked of you. Delegate It – Push it off to someone else. I am getting better and better at this every year. It took me a long time to get good at this but delegating is now a big part of how I get things done Delete It – This is similar to “Don’t Do It” but it is just a choice you need to make. Just decide that you aren’t doing it and strike it from your list and make room in your brain for more important stuff. The key is to really delete it and move on. Date It – This is the last of the 5 D’s. Choose to push it off and date it for sometime in the future. Be careful with this one, this can become a really big crutch. Use the date it method only if the timing is truly not right and something needs to be moved to the future. Worse Things First Do yourself a favor and kiss the nastiest frog first thing in the morning. Maybe it’s not possible to do it before your morning coffee but do it as soon as you possibly can. Why? Because it will liberate you, it will be off your back and you can spend your day growing your business not worrying about something you are going to have to deal with anyway. Just do it or pick one of the other 5 D’s but do something and do it first thing in the morning. Get your Team Onboard Lastly, think about sharing this concept with your team. Make Friday Frog day in your company. Fridays become the day procrastination is no longer an excuse. Sort your tickets by age and knock out the oldest ones first. Look at your rocks or your WWW and knock off the oldest ones. Make those hard calls to your customers have those one-on-ones with your employees. Move your company along and kiss some frogs! If you want to read the book Your Oxygen Mask First that I drew this concept from please consider buying it on Amazon with the link above.
17 minutes | Dec 4, 2018
Drive to the Finish – Themes and how you can use them – ITPN-EP41
Drive to the Finish – Themes and How You Can Use Them I recently implemented a quarterly theme that I want to share with you today. I hope you’ll get a good grasp of the tactical things we did but I hope you’ll also take away the secondary meaning, the importance of taking care of your employees. It’s crucial you include them in the success of the company and make everyone feel wanted. This theme relates to the book Scaling Up by Verne Harnish where you concentrate on four different things; people, tasks, strategy, and execution. You do this by having a communications rhythm, focusing on key metrics, having and achieving quarterly rocks then having a strategy and a plan. What We Did We wanted to finish the year strong, so we implemented on of the things Verne talks about in the Scaling Up book and that is the concept of a theme. A theme is used to get everyone on board with the goals and objectives of the company. Typically, these themes are carried out quarterly and are centered around the critical metric trying to be achieved. First, we decided on the metric, which was revenue. Then we figured out how everyone could help with revenue. After that, we put together a series of communication messages, a few gifts for the team and a weekly cadence for communicating about the theme. We created a custom field in ConnectWise and created a dashboard to track leads. We looked at leads generated by department, in order to create a little bit of rivalry between departments, and we started monitoring it at the beginning of the quarter. This is the metric we used to measure success. Get a Rhythm going! In addition, we established a communications pattern. At the end of the week, I created a short 2-3-minute video in front of a green screen with a finish line. The idea behind these videos was to motivate the teams and keep the theme alive in order to motivate to the finish. I talked about the wins in the previous week and told the teams where we were. If we fell behind, we would talk about that as well. In each video, I singled out a person and filmed them in random locations. I use a tool called BombBomb to send emails out. Through this, I can track opens and clicks to see who is actually looking at it. The teams also have the opportunity to respond back and make comments each week. I also ordered plastic swag bags and put a logo on it that I had designed at LogoNerds. In our last swag bag, I tried to incorporate something from one of our customers. On Mondays we have our long meetings, so on Mondays, we try to drive the theme home. We talk about wins, where we can improve and where we stand in revenue. What You Need If you are looking to implement something similar, all you need is a mobile phone, maybe a tripod so you have a little more room when filming the videos, and a tool like BombBomb to track communication. Ask your questions or share your feedback •Comment on the shownotes below •Email email@example.com (audio files welcome) Get on the mailing list Low Volume by it is THE PLACE TO BE for all of my insider information. If you're on the list, you'll be the first to know. Signup Here Tell 'Em I Sent You If you investigate or purchase any product or service that I have talked about, please remember to mention that I sent you. I may or may not get a small commission but more importantly I hope to spread the word about the IT Provider Network. Please Subscribe Please consider Subscribing to the Podcast it is the only measure of listenership I have. Give me a Review Your written iTunes reviews encourage me and they help other people find the podcast. If you appreciate the information you are learning from the IT Provider Network then please do me a HUGE FAVOR and write a review on iTunes or on Stitcher! Connect with Me On the socials as @TerryRossi or @ITProviderNet Help a Brother Out Sign up for Coinbase Buy something from Amazon with my Affiliate Link I put these down here in case you are looking for anything from Amazon, I get a small commission if you click-thru from this site. You don't have to buy these items just click through from this page. Thanks in advance!
11 minutes | Oct 17, 2018
What do Jordi Roca, Chris Brogan and Michael Porter have to do with your MSP?
What do Jordi Roca, Chris Brogan, and Michael Porter have to do with your MSP? As I am sure all of you do, I get inspiration from all different kinds of places. This week three different things caught my attention, Let me tell you the stories and then we can talk about how that applies to our businesses. Jordi Roca Jordi is the youngest of three boys and perhaps the most talented pastry chef in the world, but he wasn’t always “that guy”. He started out as many of us do, a little lost and just going through the motions in his brothers’ restaurant. Jordi was much younger than his two older brothers Both of which were already running a successful fine dining restaurant. Jordi worked around the restaurant essentially just doing time, putting in his shift then heading out partying all night. He was young and to be honest really didn’t care about anything. Jordi struggled to find himself and make his mark in life. Until one day when his boss in the restaurant had a terrible accident. He fell off a ladder and was out for an extended time. At this time Jordi’s brothers’ restaurant L SAYYA CAAN ROCA was already a one star Michelin restaurant and they had a lot to lose. Jordi stepped up and faithfully reproduced the recipes that he mentor left in a wooden box in the restaurant. They were good but nothing spectacular and when Jordi stepped out of his comfort zone and try to make his own dessert it was less than stellar. It wasn’t until Jordi decided to take a class on ice cream that it all changed for him. His instructor was teaching about the importance of the air in ice-cream, not just the fact that you need to have airy ice cream but also that you need to have clean air so that the ice cream doesn’t take on any off-putting flavors. Jordi thought about it on the way home and then decided to think about it another way. What if he used the air to put flavor into the ice cream? The next morning, he went into the restaurant and as crazy as this sounds, he blew cigar smoke into the ice cream as it was being made. After it set up he gave it to his brothers to taste and the rest is history. His “Trip to Havana” dessert as its called is now world renown. If you order it at El Celler de Can Roca, you’ll get what looks like a cigar-shaped ice-cream sandwich in a glass ashtray. It looks like a cigar and the smoke-infused it heightens the experience. By the way, El Celler de Can Roca is in Spain and has been ranked the best restaurant in the world in 2013 and continues to be ranked in the top 5 restaurants in the world. It now boasts a Michelin 3 star rating and Jordi is at the top of his game. Jordi learned to take inspiration from everywhere and everything. He looked outside of his environment and has reaped huge rewards because of it. Chris Brogan The second mentor I learned from this week is Chris Brogan. If you don’t know who Chris is, Chris is an accomplished Author of a bunch of books, including the bestseller “Trust Agents” and has spoken for or consulted with the biggest brands you know, including Disney, Coke, Google, GM, Microsoft, Sony and many more. In addition to working with the big guys Chris also does group coaching with small businesses through his Owner Insider program and that’s how I know Chris and his business partner Rob Hatch. His best free work comes out on his weekly email which he sends every Sunday. If you want to get on this mailing list, you can do that at ChrisBrogan.com. In this week’s newsletter, he talks about his secret to success and fame, and he has fame in air quotes although he is famous, at least internet famous 😊 The big takeaway from the newsletter article was one line Chris said, “I made a career out of looking at “the way things are” and then wondering “but why hasn’t anyone done <blank>”.” He talked about how on blog after blog, podcast after podcast or coach after coach all were all preaching the same about stuff. Essentially each other’s best practices. He felt he was able to leapfrog his competition by looking past the “What is” part of the question and asking “What COULD Be” question instead. In our businesses, I’m not sure we take enough time to look at the “what could be” question on behalf of our clients or prospects. Michael Porter The last one of my mentors this week was Michael Porter and his lessons on competitive strategies. He says there are essentially only three ways to compete Cost Leadership – Low-Cost Leader in the industry or market Differentiation – Be Unique and be rewarded with a premium price Focus – Be extremely narrow in your offering and be the best In two of my mastermind groups, one internal and one external we talked about differentiation. In our industry, providing Managed IT services, it is increasingly difficult to set your company apart from the competition, but it is possible, just like it was possible for Jordi Roca and Chris Brogan in their highly competitive markets. Such uniqueness might relate to consistency as in McDonald’s, reliability as in FedEx, status as in American Express, or quality as in BMW. Creating a unique and valuable position in the marketplace by having a key series of differentiating activities isn’t easy but it’s extremely valuable. Doing it can set your company up for long-term success, most times freeing you up from pricing pressure and much competition. How are you differentiating your business? I’d love to hear from you and understand how I can help you accomplish your goals and move your company forward. Let me know what you think. Drop me a note or comment below. Ask your questions or share your feedback •Comment on the shownotes below •Email firstname.lastname@example.org (audio files welcome) Get on the mailing list Low Volume by it is THE PLACE TO BE for all of my insider information. If you're on the list, you'll be the first to know. Signup Here Tell 'Em I Sent You If you investigate or purchase any product or service that I have talked about, please remember to mention that I sent you. I may or may not get a small commission but more importantly I hope to spread the word about the IT Provider Network. Please Subscribe Please consider Subscribing to the Podcast it is the only measure of listenership I have. Give me a Review Your written iTunes reviews encourage me and they help other people find the podcast. If you appreciate the information you are learning from the IT Provider Network then please do me a HUGE FAVOR and write a review on iTunes or on Stitcher! Connect with Me On the socials as @TerryRossi or @ITProviderNet Help a Brother Out Sign up for Coinbase Buy something from Amazon with my Affiliate Link I put these down here in case you are looking for anything from Amazon, I get a small commission if you click-thru from this site. You don't have to buy these items just click through from this page. Thanks in advance! If you want the recipe head over to IT Provider Network/jordi for a copy. http://www.four-magazine.com/recipes/joan-rocas-cigar-smoke-ice-cream/
13 minutes | Sep 25, 2018
Marketopia 4U2GROW Conference – 3 Key Takeaways
It seems that there is a new conference for IT Service Providers almost every week and making the decision on which conference to attend can be tough. There are big conferences, Channel X, IT Nation, and DattoCon come to mind. Medium size shows like Robin Robbins Bootcamp, Gary Pica’s Snizzfest and Marketopia’s 4U2GROW conference. I was fortunate to attend Marketopia’s 4U2Grow conference for the second time a couple of weeks ago. If you remember back to episode 31 of the IT Provider Network, Outsourcing your appointment setting, I talked about the pros and cons of outsourcing telemarketing for lead generation. I signed up with Marketopia at the 2nd annual 4U2Grow conference last year. For MSP’s they offer the normal plethora of marketing services. Website design, Email Blasts, Pay Per Click and SEO services but their big seller for MSP and Vendors alike are callers. 1/2 time or full-time telemarketers cold calling on behalf of MSP’s to end users and vendors to MSP’s. Marketopia clearly is doing a bunch of things right. This year they were named to the INC 500 list in position 232. Marketopia, having scaled its revenue at an impressive 2041% growth rate has joined the ranks of others on the INC 500 list including ClickFunnels (#76), KnowBe4 (#96) and Pax8 (#68). Their conference 4U2Grow and the associated roadshows are a big part of their success. This conference for their clients and prospects is an educational event with little or no direct pitching but the Marketopia sales team are always looking to close deals at the show. Jeff Laws and Austin McCord are gently working over their prospects and trying to make deals before the end of the show. On day one of the conference, I was asked to host a VIP Mastermind for existing Marketopia clients. It was an intimate group of MSP’s big and small from all over the county. We talked about what’s working and what isn’t. It was honest and straightforward. If you have listened to this podcast for a while you know that I call it like it is, if you are trying to BS me I will call you out on it. I did it, called some people out, a few times in the MSP’s mastermind and with Marketopia too. We are in an industry that is constantly changing and I made sure I let Terry Heddon, the CEO of Marketopia know where I saw some BS in the industry but that’s a whole different podcast. So what was my big takeaway from the conference? Well, I had a few. Most of them came from Terry Heddon or his wife Andrea but Adam Slutski formally of connectwise fame. Here they are. 1 – We have a lot of business in our existing client base that we may not be capitalizing on. We need to make sure we are doing our best to sell our whole stack to as much of our client base as possible. Here are strategies for increasing sales into your existing base.: Identify products or services that your client could buy but doesn’t. Develop a plan for expanding your relationship with contacts within the account. Keep trying to add value for all the contacts you know at the client. Give clients ideas on how to improve their business operations – become more efficient, more profitable and improve their customer servide. Make customers feel they have a special relationship with you. Identify your customer’s customers and help them win. 2 – We need to be more strategic in our marketing. Specifically our about us page. Did you know your website’s “about us” page is the 2nd most visited page on your website second only to the home page. Do they still call it a home page? Put some effort into your about page, have a listen to Tools for publishing and monitoring your social media networks for some tips on your About Us page. Also, check out Hubspot’s Awesome About Us Examples for more inspiration and this great article on How to Write an About Page. Heres a couple common Mistakes You don’t have an About Page I can’t find your name or credentials I don’t know what you look like You’re writing is boring You use video alone You go on and one You think the about us page is about YOU 3 – Great tips for Hiring ANYONE I actually did three podcasts on hiring. and I am releasing a book called “Hiring in the Digital Age : Tips to take the pain out of interviewing, hiring and onboarding new people in your small business” . I think Adam Slutski, former Connectwise CRO and now strategic advisor to Marketopia, gave a great talk on hiring salespeople. While Adam concentrated on salespeople I think his advice applies to almost anyone we hire in our businesses. Some of his key points were They need to be quick thinking – You need a flexible thinker They need to be insightful – You need someone that is a quick study Then need to be determined – this is not a quick or easy sale They need to be Passionate – Proud, Goal Oriented, and customer focused. I think this applies to everyone in our companies Ask your questions or share your feedback •Comment on the shownotes below •Email email@example.com (audio files welcome) Get on the mailing list Low Volume by it is THE PLACE TO BE for all of my insider information. If you're on the list, you'll be the first to know. Signup Here Tell 'Em I Sent You If you investigate or purchase any product or service that I have talked about, please remember to mention that I sent you. I may or may not get a small commission but more importantly I hope to spread the word about the IT Provider Network. Please Subscribe Please consider Subscribing to the Podcast it is the only measure of listenership I have. Give me a Review Your written iTunes reviews encourage me and they help other people find the podcast. If you appreciate the information you are learning from the IT Provider Network then please do me a HUGE FAVOR and write a review on iTunes or on Stitcher! Connect with Me On the socials as @TerryRossi or @ITProviderNet Help a Brother Out Sign up for Coinbase Buy something from Amazon with my Affiliate Link I put these down here in case you are looking for anything from Amazon, I get a small commission if you click-thru from this site. You don't have to buy these items just click through from this page. Thanks in advance!
16 minutes | Sep 11, 2018
Tips for High Performance Remote Teams – ITPN-EP38
Are you getting the most out of your remote team members? In his excellent article, Rob Rawson, of the Time Doctor website. Rob lays out 25 tips for high-performance remote teams. In this episode of the IT Provider Network Podcast, I am going to go through the article and give you my take on how to get the most from remote teams. Since 1994 roughly half of our team has been remote. Always full-time W2 type employees but with the freedom to work wherever they lived. Compensate for the fact you aren’t bumping into each other. Find a way to facilitate conversation via chat and screen sharing. Don’t forget to make these members feel like a member of the team, even though they aren’t there in person. Have a chat room open at all times. You could use Skype, Teams, HipChat or Slack. Keep the Chat channel open. On that same note, don’t overload team members with chat or email. Make sure they aren’t subscribed to too many channels. Choose the communication style that is right for that member. This comes into play with homebased employees or foreign employees. Is an email, phone call, chat or video call most appropriate? Use tools like loom.com and screen sharing tools such as GoToMeeting, Zoom, etc. Video conferencing is also important. It brings the remote employee into the work space and they get to collaborate in real time with peers. This also makes everyone in the call stay more focused. Set up a daily huddle with that team member. Weekly meeting and monthly meetings are also important. Set up a communication structure for effective communication. Use tools to collaborate on documents and spreadsheets. Microsoft Office 365 or Google tools are great tools to get a document up and collaborate on it. Use a project management system. Make sure you are using it and are holding your employees accountable while ensuring they are using it and using it your way. Make sure you have systems that drive everything people do in your company. You need a standardized way of doing things that you are following and always improving that you are working with. Allow some degree of flexible works hours but have some consistent hours. People working from home typically want some flexibility in their work hours. That’s okay but you have to keep core working hours that your whole team can be working, including that remote employee. Track their work output, whether the team is working virtual or not. Measure productivity in your team. What are the indicators of success? Make sure you have communicated what you want to have done and what the measurable goal they need to accomplish is. Don’t just track it but check in regularly about the progress of their work. You might be really disappointed if you wait until the deadline. If you check in during the process, you can help negate any issues and get the team member on track, if need be. Rescue Time is a tool that can be used to track how much time you spend doing certain things each day. Organize a system of overlapping for communicating in different time zones. Have time, a good chunk of your day, where the entire team is working at the same time. Do a quarterly review to see how your team members are doing and coping with working remotely. If your company is not doing a good job of making them feel like they are a part of a team, it’s easy for them to become lonely, possibly start feeling irritated and isolated. When you are hiring new employees, always try to get a ‘try before’ you by period. Give them a short project to complete before making a commitment. Some people lie on their resume or have the ability to tell a good story in the interview process. In reality, they may not have the chops. Try to test them first and are really a good fit. Make sure you pay your virtual employees well so they will stick around and work hard for you. This is true even if this is an overseas person. It’s important to make sure they are the right fit for your company, for the work and to conduct work remotely. Some people can’t sit in their house and work. Some people need to go into the office. Distraction and isolation can be issues when working from home. Take a listen to episode 28 of the IT Provider Network Podcast – Taking A Good Look at your Team Have a standard onboarding process and education system for your new employees. Pay attention to the first 90 days of your virtual employees onboarding. Put some effort into trying to make friendships with your staff and your remote employees. Spend some time and money putting together cultural team building type exercising that can work remotely. There are plenty of them out there. If possible, get your team together at least once a year to meet in person. Special Thanks to the team at ID Agent for including me in their “This Week in Breach” newsletter. Get in touch with them if you want to add a great prospecting and cyber-s Referenced in this podcast ID Agent Dark Web Monitoring Robin Robbins CyberSecurity Marketing Roadshow UseLoom screen and video email extension for Chrome. Ask your questions or share your feedback •Comment on the shownotes below •Email firstname.lastname@example.org (audio files welcome) Get on the mailing list Low Volume by it is THE PLACE TO BE for all of my insider information. If you're on the list, you'll be the first to know. Signup Here Tell 'Em I Sent You If you investigate or purchase any product or service that I have talked about, please remember to mention that I sent you. I may or may not get a small commission but more importantly I hope to spread the word about the IT Provider Network. Please Subscribe Please consider Subscribing to the Podcast it is the only measure of listenership I have. Give me a Review Your written iTunes reviews encourage me and they help other people find the podcast. If you appreciate the information you are learning from the IT Provider Network then please do me a HUGE FAVOR and write a review on iTunes or on Stitcher! Connect with Me On the socials as @TerryRossi or @ITProviderNet Help a Brother Out Sign up for Coinbase Buy something from Amazon with my Affiliate Link I put these down here in case you are looking for anything from Amazon, I get a small commission if you click-thru from this site. You don't have to buy these items just click through from this page. Thanks in advance! [0:00] I am welcome to take two of the it provider Network episode 38 on managing remote employees. I’m having a rough morning here getting the podcast put together but I did want to thank a few people. Let me start with the folks at ID agent who were kind enough to list me in their weekly security breach newsletter I think it’s called this weekend breach. Under The Heading podcasts were listening to so thank you Kevin Lancaster and the team and ID agent I do appreciate the support, [0:33] I also want to thank you for writing in and giving me some great comments and feedback some reviews on iTunes I met some nice new people this week. We had a new listener from Scotland who I was happy to talk to. [0:48] And it’s those cards and letters that make this a lot easier to do at 6 in the morning. I also wanted to say that I’m heading out to the market opiates for you to grow conference tomorrow so if you’re heading down to Clearwater Florida hopefully around this hurricane that’s coming. I’ll be down there I’d love to run into you so make sure you look me up also I’m heading out to Robin Robin’s cybersecurity marketing Roadshow in Boston. In a couple weeks and I’ll be happy to meet with anyone out there. [1:25] Music. [1:42] Did I want to talk about managing virtual teams and some tips that you can use to do that I found a great article on time dr.com. Talking about managing a high-performance virtual team so let me just go through some of these suggestions they make. So the first one is compensate for the fact that you’re not bumping into each other and I think this is a really good one you know what in a real physical office you have people bumping into you in the lunchroom walking down the corridor stopping in your office to say hello that doesn’t happen with the remote team member so you need to find ways to facilitate that remotely chat is a good way to do that, collaboration tools are a good way to do that screen sharing is a good way to do that if you want to share a concept or problem with the remote team employee. The big thing to remember is to remember that they’re there right to include them as part of your team. The second thing that they talk about is having a chat room open constantly so that’s pretty easy for us whether you Skype or teams or slack or hipchat. [2:46] Keep the chat channels open we use teams internally for most of our people but we also use another tool called sococo which our development team uses not uses the concept of different rooms so you can actually see where your employees are in the room everything in the lunchroom or maybe you weren’t there in the war room or in the particular project room. [3:08] Very helpful if you see they’re deep in the project room are there in the stealth room we call it and you don’t want to bother him but if they’re in the lunchroom then you know you can go and have casual chat with him. [3:19] Searching you want to be aware of is that you’re not overloading them what that shot or email. Make sure that your team members if you use slack or teams they’re not subscribed to too many channels you know to make sure they’re not involved in everything they won’t be getting anything done, to be leery of that. The fourth thing is choose the right communication style for that member now this really comes into play a lot with home-based employees or, or foreign please right so you want to be careful about the communi
13 minutes | Aug 20, 2018
6 core functions you need to pay attention to in your MSP business ITPN-EP37
In today's episode of the IT Provider Network Podcast, I am going to share a thought process that was shared with me by my coach Alex Charften. As you know if you have been listening to the ITPN podcast for a while, we do a lot of forward planning in our company. We follow the Gazelles Scaling Up methodology Each division sets "rocks" or objectives for each quarter but there never seemed to be any congruity between these rocks and the real things that needed to be improved in our company. Once I started looking at these 6 core functions our quarterly objectives really started to become dialed in. The Six Core Functions in your MSP Lead Generation - Everything you do to generate a lead. Getting a prospect to raise a hand Lead Nurturing - What you do to nurture that lead and turn them into a customer Conversion - After the prospect has told you they are a buyer - what you do to propose and close the deal Delivery - What you do after the signed contract or PO is received - the steps you take to deliver your service Retention - The processes and procedure you use to keep your clients. In an MSP this would be the work of the service and VCIO type teams Resell and Upsell - What are you doing to get your clients to buy more of your products and services - usually the work of your account manager. Start looking at these 6 core functions in your business. Rate them from 1-5 and revisit that rating every 90 days or so. Start working on the lower scoring functions that are at the top of the list. In other words, if Lead Generation and Retention are your problems work on lead generation first. If you concentrating on any efforts in your company that don't directly help improve these core functions, you are probably floundering. Ask your questions or share your feedback •Comment on the shownotes below •Email email@example.com (audio files welcome) Get on the mailing list Low Volume by it is THE PLACE TO BE for all of my insider information. If you're on the list, you'll be the first to know. Signup Here Tell 'Em I Sent You If you investigate or purchase any product or service that I have talked about, please remember to mention that I sent you. I may or may not get a small commission but more importantly I hope to spread the word about the IT Provider Network. Please Subscribe Please consider Subscribing to the Podcast it is the only measure of listenership I have. Give me a Review Your written iTunes reviews encourage me and they help other people find the podcast. If you appreciate the information you are learning from the IT Provider Network then please do me a HUGE FAVOR and write a review on iTunes or on Stitcher! Connect with Me On the socials as @TerryRossi or @ITProviderNet Help a Brother Out Sign up for Coinbase Buy something from Amazon with my Affiliate Link I put these down here in case you are looking for anything from Amazon, I get a small commission if you click-thru from this site. You don't have to buy these items just click through from this page. Thanks in advance!
15 minutes | Aug 8, 2018
Finding your USP in a Purple Ocean
In this episode of the IT Provider Network Podcast, I am going to share an exercise with did to determine where our Purple Ocean lies. Join me as I talk about through the process of finding your USP or Unique Selling Position and how it can help you get more deals. The strategy I talk about in this podcast is from the book Blue Ocean Strategy available on Amazon. Ask your questions or share your feedback •Comment on the shownotes below •Email firstname.lastname@example.org (audio files welcome) Get on the mailing list Low Volume by it is THE PLACE TO BE for all of my insider information. If you're on the list, you'll be the first to know. Signup Here Tell 'Em I Sent You If you investigate or purchase any product or service that I have talked about, please remember to mention that I sent you. I may or may not get a small commission but more importantly I hope to spread the word about the IT Provider Network. Please Subscribe Please consider Subscribing to the Podcast it is the only measure of listenership I have. Give me a Review Your written iTunes reviews encourage me and they help other people find the podcast. If you appreciate the information you are learning from the IT Provider Network then please do me a HUGE FAVOR and write a review on iTunes or on Stitcher! Connect with Me On the socials as @TerryRossi or @ITProviderNet Help a Brother Out Sign up for Coinbase Buy something from Amazon with my Affiliate Link I put these down here in case you are looking for anything from Amazon, I get a small commission if you click-thru from this site. You don't have to buy these items just click through from this page. Thanks in advance!
11 minutes | Jul 22, 2018
Your Best Prospects Are Your Existing Clients ITPN-EP35
In today's episode of the IT Provider Network, I want to talk about one of our most important assets and one that is often neglected. I would bet that many of you are like me in your business, you sell hardware and software to your clients when they have needs. They call or write to you when they have a new user and need a new computer. You might even have your VCIO call on them to drum up hardware refreshes or new technology initiatives but I’ll bet that you can’t tell me all your clients know about all your offerings. Today I want to talk about some ways that you can market to and capitalize on our greatest assets – our clients. Your Best Prospects Are Your Existing Clients Your best prospects are your existing client. If you have been marketing only to cold or warm prospects then you are missing a big segment of buyers that are already buying from you. Take some of your marketing efforts and work on reselling, upselling and cross-selling into your existing client base. I know that I have not done a great job having a formal, consistent marketing plan for our installed base. I just realized that not only do our clients not know about all of our offerings but all of our team members don’t either! Heres some new strategies to try get your hands around this often overlooked segment of your business. Try This Keep in Touch – It’s important to have regular communication with your clients, and I think it should be a multi-faceted approach to outreach. The owner, the sales team and the service team should all have regularly scheduled outreach to the base. The medium for these touches can and probably should be varied. For example, the VCIO might send out a monthly email, The service manager might have a quarterly call with the power users and the owner to owner communications might be face to face meetings or a lunch along with regular calls or letters. Reassure Them on their Purchases – Every time a client purchases something from you, follow up with them after the purchase to reassure them of the purchase. This is also a great time to make sure there are service related issues. If your terms are Net 30 make this call about 15 days in to make sure the client is happy and the product or service you delivered and the invoice is top of mind. Give your Clients the Best Deals – Doesn’t make you crazy when you hear your cable TV provider offering great new customer deals on TV. Doesn’t it make you question why they don’t value your business, you know the customer that has been with them for 5 years? Well, your clients feel this way too. Let them have it First - Extend your best offers to your existing clients and do it before you announce it to the world. People want to be valued and they always want to be let in on a secret or a private sale. Remember the Golden Rule – Always work to build rapport and continued trust with your base. This is where some of the multi-faceted communication can come into play. Remember people do business with people they know and trust. If you want some tips on building rapport I recommend you listen to Building Rapport with Employees, Prospects and Customers – ITPN-EP003 Be Real and Consistent Be real and consistent and start doing this right after the sale. As part of your onboarding procedure make sure you include a follow-up to their first purchase Make sure you thank them for the purchase Re-affirm the value of your company Reassure them that signing up for your service was the right move, it make economic sense and this is the start of a long term relationship Make sure you write this thank you in your authentic voice. Use this thank you note as a way to tell the buyer you will be contacting him from time to time to alert him of things important to their business. Strive to show your passion for providing great service and the fact that you truly value their business.
11 minutes | Jun 8, 2018
Is this a six-inch putt? ITPN-EP34
Visioning Update I wanted to give you an update on the visioning process that my company went through two weeks ago when we met on the tail end of the Gazelles spring summit in New Orleans. I detailed what visioning is and why you need it in episode 33 of the IT Provider Network but in case you missed it here is a quick overview. Visioning is looking into to the future and describing what success looks like then. At that point in time. It’s now the how to; it’s the motivation and the direction. It is what success then looks and feels like in the future. A successful visioning document should be • Inspiring. To everyone that will be involved in implementing it. • Strategically sound. That is, we have a decent shot at making it happen. • Documented. You need to write your vision down to make it work. • Communicated. Not only do you have record your vision but if you want it to be effective, you have to tell people about it too. So we set out to create our first vision for the company 24 years after we started it. Our senior management team is made up of 7 people, so the way we started the process was by deciding on a time frame, for us it was 2022 and that we were going to be visioning for the whole company, not any single division or department. Then we all went off and wrote. I encouraged people to think positive about what was possible and to be free with their ideas. We all handed them in anonymously to our coach who compiled them and sent them back to us combined to review before we met in New Orleans. Once we all got together for our onsite meeting, we put the combined document up in a google doc. We read each visioning entry and highlighted parts and pieces that really resonated with us. It was awesome to see how seven different people, most of who have been with our company for 10+ years had different desires and direction for the company. Some addressed specific product directions, others staff size, and what the office space looked like in 2022. It was fascinating to get everyone's viewpoint, and we were able to pull some great things out of every person's document. So once we had a bunch of highlighted sections, we tasked three people to craft them into three parts of a new document. The first part about overall company vision highlights, the second for our software development division and the third for visioning specific to the managed services division. Once we have this combined document, we will hone it and redraft it then share it with our staff. To give you an idea, here are some of the highlighted phrases that'll be shaped into the next draft. "We have created a culture and work environment that has attracted some of the best developers and network engineers in the area and have continued to build upon our mission of being our clients “Partner in Technology." "Education is a key part of our culture and our business - it comes to life through ongoing internal and external training for our staff, customers and business partners." "We have worked hard to build multipliers in the organization and that is paying off in large dividends, by having an empowered workforce." "MRR is our life blood, the LTV of our clients allows us to spend quite a bit of time, money and effort to keep a client." "Our recurring revenue stream has increased 400% since 2018 with the addition of the new service offerings sold as an annual subscription." "The management team, regardless of their location, still follows its roots and meets daily to make sure that PICS is always growing and evolving." " We have started a foundation that donates a portion of our profits to charity. In addition, the foundation does many community projects to enrich the lives of employees and of those around us. " So I hope some of these statements inspire you. I know they inspired me! Get going with a visioning project in your company.
17 minutes | May 20, 2018
Visioning – Why you need it and how to do it. ITPN-EP33
Visioning and the Deli Man If you’re on the IT Provider Network mailing list you know that tomorrow at 5 am I am heading out to New Orleans for some team building and to soak in some fresh ideas at the Gazelles Summit. Come Together Because my management team is in 4 different states and three different time zones it’s going to take the better part of Monday to get everyone down south. We’ll get settled in then on Tuesday and Wednesday, the team along with our Gazelles Coach Doug Diamond will be at the summit. The Gazelles Scaling Up Summit The summit, or more formally, the Scaling Up Summit is tailored to business owners interested in growing their companies. Over the course of two days, we will learn from award-winning authors. Soak up some techniques and methods for building better leadership, strategy, marketing, sales, operations, and finance. We will be in a room full of mid-market firms representing a variety of industries ($5 million to $500 million), for great interactive learning, networking, and idea-generation. This summit will be my second Gazelles event, and I am looking forward to it. I encourage you to attend events that are outside of the IT Industry to keep growing your company. Then on Thursday, we have rented a private conference room, and the eight of us are going to go heads down into a visioning exercise. So that’s what I want to talk with you about today. Visioning, why you would want to do this and how you can do it in your company. About Ari Weinzweig At my first Gazelles Summit in 2016, I met Ari Weinzweig. He spoke on Leadership, and I purchased all his books. Ari is one of the co-founders of the Zimmerman Community of Businesses, some food-centric businesses in the Ann Arbor Michigan area of the united states. What started as a 1300 square foot deli in 1982 is now a 60 million dollar business with the deli still at the heart of it. For more information on Zingermans check out their About Us page. The Zingermans Community of Business or ZCOB employees over 600 people and now is over ten different food-related businesses. You don’t grow a deli into a 60 million dollar business like that without visioning. About My Grandson Visioning is kind of like Walt Disney’s Imagineering, or for a better everyday example, it is what every young child does when they daydream. They never think about what’s NOT possible only what is possible. When my grandson Liam, who just turned four, is visioning he is building massive Lego cities, and waging battles with Batman and Joker. He doesn’t question batman's superpowers he assumes that he has them. Visioning works the same way. It’s looking to the future and describing what success looks like then. It’s now the how to; it’s the motivation and the direction. It is what success then looks and feels like in the future. Ari describes a successful vision as • Inspiring. To everyone that will be involved in implementing it. • Strategically sound. That is, we have a decent shot at making it happen. • Documented. You e need to write your vision down to make it work. • Communicated. Not only do you have record your vision but if you want it to be effective, you actually have to tell people about it too. This is the How not the Why Step 1: Pick your Visioning Topic Because visioning can be used for just about anything, it's important to start by being clear about what you're working on. Next week the PICS Team is looking out to 2022, and we are visioning on the whole company. If you start using visioning for your company you could do visioning on the company, a division or department, a project or even a smaller event. The process is the same; you want to see what success looks like before you execute. For most MSP’s, visioning should probably start at the organization or company level. Step 2: Pick your visioning time frame As we discussed in step one after you pick the topic, you need to choose the period of time where you want to describe suc...
14 minutes | Apr 18, 2018
Maybe your managed services offer sucks?
Yeah...maybe it does. Are you having problems landing new clients or converting your break-fix clients to managed services? If that’s the case, maybe you should step back and look at how you're positioning your products and services in the market. Maybe just maybe your offer sucks? In this episode of the IT Provider Network, I am going to share with you a new way of looking at how you communicate with your prospects and clients and how you can close more business. I’ve spent the last year or so really studying online marketing, and marketing and selling in general. I’ve attended a ton of conferences, availed myself to some of the best thought leaders, and I’ve come to realize that I should have started studied the phycology of marketing and selling a lot sooner in my career. So much of what we do and say can influence the minds of the buyer. I have talked about the belief of the sales team in recent episodes, but today I want to talk about the beliefs of the buyer and how what you offer and how you offer it is a big part of their buying decision. First, let's talk about your offering. What are you offering? How are you pitching managed services to your clients? If you like many of us, you are pitching some form of the four blocks that Gary Pica has traveled the world telling us about at conference after conference. With all due respect to Gary, it’s old news, and there were probably three other managed services providers that already walked into your prospect and pitched the same thing. The Four Blocks If you haven’t heard of the four blocks, here's a quick introduction. They consist of four distinct service groups. Centralized Services – This is everything you can do with your RMM tool. Patching, Disk Cleanups, Anti-Virus, Anti-Malware and all of the other stuff that you can leverage to your client base. Network Administration – This is what Gary calls you “Superpower”. Personally, it has never been for my company, but Network Administration consists of everything that you do for your clients to standardize them. Network Administration is documentation, standards adoption, server maintenance and things like that. Helpdesk – This one is pretty self-explanatory and probably the bulk what most full-service MSP’s are really delivering regardless of what they are selling. Technical Consulting or VCIO - This is the part of your service delivery where your technical consultant which may be you meets with the client and helps them make a technology budget, strategize on future direction, and utilize technology in a way that moves them forward. If that looks a lot like your offering, congratulations, you have a commodity offering. Except perhaps the last one, technical consulting, your prospect doesn’t really care. Unless they have had a significant security breach or some regulatory body is pressuring them, they don’t care. Patching, Spam, Virus, they don’t care, believe me, I’ve seen their eyes glaze over many many times. So how should you define your offering? If you need to include more, your offering needs to include things that fulfill THEIR desires and alleviates THEIR fears. Here’s a couple of tips on really zeroing in on what they want. Remembers buyers don’t buy what they need; they buy what they want. What your prospect wants So what do they want... they want the same things you want as a business owner. To attract more business To be more competitive To have a more efficient workforce To put more money to the bottom line So let’s craft an offer that helps them achieve those things. I know what you’re thinking, but Terry I’m an IT guy, not a business consultant. I get that. I feel ya, but maybe we can craft an offer that incorporates what you do and deliver it in a way that gives the prospect what they want. Start with a new offer. The first thing I would say is to start with a new offer.
10 minutes | Mar 28, 2018
Outsourcing your appointment setting – ITPN-EP31
In the last episode of the IT Provider Network, Episode 30, we talked about building an inside/outside sales organization within your company. In today's episode, I want to share with you my recent experiences outsourcing telemarketing and appointment to a 3rd party. INTRO Episode 31 has taken quite a while to get recorded. I have had a crazy end to the winter. I attended three different conferences and launched the beginnings of another business. My first conference was PodFest 2018 in Orlando. Podfest is an excellent niche event for independent podcasters. Over the last two years, it has really exploded as more and more people are becoming aware of podcasts. Companies like NPR and podcasts like Serial have done a lot to bring podcasts more mainstream. The second conference I attended was Traffic and Conversion in San Diego. I have to tell you it's nice to go to sunny California in the middle of a noreaster back east. Traffic and Conversion is a large conference focusing on the latest tips and tricks to get more people to your website and convert more of those visitors to buyers. I learned a lot, but when I was done, I thought my head was going to explore. I put a couple of videos on Instagram with some good takeaways, if you're interested you can follow me @TerryRossi on Instagram. Drop me a DM and let me know you're a podcast listener and I will follow you back. Last weekend I was at a conference for my new business. Before I tell you what it is, you have to promise not to judge. I am going into the Specialty Coffee business. I have a roaster, and my business partner and I are building a cafe'. I am like a madman learning the art and skills required to one day make great coffee and some tasty treats. Right now the coffee I am roasting tastes like crap, but it is getting better with every roast. Like the computer business, there is SO MUCH to learn. I am really enjoying it. I know this sounds bizarre, but I have been involved in the hospitality industry since I was 13 so it's not that far off base... ok maybe a little. So CoffeeFest in Baltimore was the third conference I attended just last week. And now I am down in Orlando again for Funnel Hackers Live, Russell Brunson's event learning about sales funnels and all the people that make millions selling weight loss and supplements and dreams! Why? Because I can, and I am genuinely interested. I heard a quote today from Gary Vaynerchuk. He said, and I am paraphrasing, without the f-bombs, our smartphones are like the TV sets of the 1960's, and he's right. We have built-in distribution, built-in networks and all we need to do is build shows and create audiences. I encourage all of you to build your audiences and figure out how to keep selling to them. And most importantly do what floats your boat. This isn't a dress rehearsal. So make a long story short, that's what has taken me so long to get this podcast out the door. About Outsourcing your Appointment Setting So back to the business at hand. Should you outsource your appointment setting or built it up in-house. Well, I'll cut to the chase, and tell you, I don't know. As I mentioned in Episode 30 of the IT Provider Network podcast, I had an inside sales, telemarketer, appointment setter for almost ten years. He was heads down, nose to the grindstone, dialing for dollars all day every day BUT I think I was really lucky. I had one guy for ten years making 80 dials a day. I think that's an anomaly. I think it is more typical that you would be hiring someone almost continuously. They are a different breed, and if you are a small business with one caller, it will be hard to keep and motivate that person. I'm not saying it can't be done just that you might spend a good amount of time, hiring, training and firing people that don't get it done or fit your culture. The caller in a smaller MSP could be on an island. Being told NO most of the day and being the only one in your department...
17 minutes | Feb 25, 2018
Inside Sales Process Build or Buy? – ITPN-EP30
Inside Sales and Appointment Setting Build or Buy One of the questions I hear the most is how can we get more leads so we can build our business. Well, there are a few ways you can do it, and today I want to share with you my experiences with telemarketing or appointment setting. At our MSP we have experience in both building an in-house inside sales program and more recently outsourcing it to an industry-specific appointment setting service. In the next two episodes of the IT Provider Network Podcast, I'm going to be talking about the ugly truth behind appointment setting, inside sales or telemarketing or what every term you use for dialing for dollars. Today lets talk about building an inside sales operation. Building your Team As I am recording this February is coming to a close. We have had a wild two months so far this year at our MSP. We have two new people on our sales team, and my a-number-one closer has been promoted to our chief revenue officer. It's always great to promote from within, but it presents some level of risk as well. What if your best salesperson is not a great leader? Have you just simultaneously lost your best salesperson and made a bad hire? It happens all the time. Like any hire, you want to do your best to make sure the candidate you're considering is the best candidate for the job. Lucky for us, this internal promotion is working out great. He is building a team and doing his best to do what he always does take care of our customers and help us build the company. My First Salesperson If I flash back to 2008, I hired my first salesperson for the MSP side of our business. It was an older guy that was seasoned in sales or though I thought. It's hard to remember the details now, but I know my thought process was "let's bring on a sales guy" and build an MSP. One guy can handle everything, cold calling, networking, proposal generating, and closing. In reality, he wasn't a great salesperson, and I was nuts to think that any one person could be truly proficient in all those sales activities. Luckily both of us knew we needed some help and this "older guy" and I say this in quotes, recruited one of his former co-workers. This former co-worker was now out CRO and in late 2008 my inside/outside sales team was born. That's what I called it inside and outside sales. Inside sales were responsible for two main things cold calling and database maintenance. Outside sales were responsible for everything else. Everything after the 1st appointment was scheduled, that was the responsibility of outside sales. Building an Inside-Outside Sales Process There were a bunch of things we had to do to get this inside-outside sales process to work, and I guess it started with finding and buying a cold list. Back in 2008, we decided on using Hoovers for our list purchase because they had an offering that was pretty unique at the time. Instead of just buying a list with some defined criteria, we could use a data selection form and just export records from Hoovers into our PSA. In our case, this was ConnectWise Manage. As our needs changed we could change our export criteria. Hoovers is now part of D&B, and they seem to offer the same type of service. I haven't purchased anything from D&B Hoovers since 2016, but back then it was about $5000 a year for 10,000 downloads. About two bucks a record if you manage to extract all 10,000 leads. For the 5k you were able to have up to 3 users and use more functionality. For me though all I wanted was the data extract. We also have bought "lists" from places like the local chamber of commerce, the local TIP club, and other vendors but the bulk of our original list which we still mine today is from Hoovers. Whatever service or list you buy know that it is a cold list, meaning that these companies and contacts have probably never heard of you and the data in the list is going to need some work to be useful.
12 minutes | Feb 4, 2018
Employee Success Plans – Helping your Employees Succeed – ITPN-029
Hello Again! Hi before we get started on Employee Success Plans I wanted to take a minute to re-introduce myself. My name is Terry Rossi and I am the co-founder of an award-winning Company (I always wanted to say that, in the 23 years we have been in business I never have). We are a company with two halves. We develop, sell and implement an enterprise document management solution to manufacturers all over the world and we are an MSP, we provide outsourced IT services to companies in the New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York City area. I started this podcast about one year ago, this week I think, as a way to help others that are either just starting out, or stuck crossing the chasm in growing or scaling their company. My business partner and I have weathered many storms since we started and through it all we have always been profitable, we have always been able to pay our people. We’ve done a lot of things right but we’ve also made a lot of mistakes. It’s from those mistakes I hope you can learn something that you can bring back to your business. Something that will help you, build, grow or scale your business. About PICS ITech Our MSP, PICS Itech, is HQ’ed in Mt. Holly NJ in a building that we own. At this time we are employing just under 30 people and we have many employees that have surpassed 10, even 20 years with the company. I am proud of that fact, and it is sound like I bragging, I might be a little but really I am trying to impress on you that you can grow and scale your business and compete with the best in the world. We are currently working in over 17 countries for some of the largest company names in the world and we are a small little technology company in the suburbs of Philadelphia. My role in the company is basically to head up the MSP division and act as the COO for the company. I have my hands in everything from IT, service delivery, marketing, sales, finance, vendor relations, and unclogging the sink when it needs it. If this is your first time listening to the IT Provider Network podcast, thank you for tuning in. The podcast is the first part of the IT Provider Network. Later this year I will be announcing some exciting community and collaborations announcements, online courses that I am working on and other in-depth ways the IT Provider Network can help you. I have several coaching clients now but my schedule is such that I won’t be able to work with all of you one-on-one so figuring out some group offerings is high on my list. So without Further ado, here's episode 29 of the IT Provider Network Podcast. Employee Success Plans As you know in our company we do a lot of planning and goal setting. Each year we sit down in Q4 and plan the annual initiatives for the next year. We plan these at the company level but as soon as we have decided on what the company is going to focus on for the next 12 months we immediately start to break those initiatives down to smaller more manageable chunks. How we do it is that we break them down by division. If you remember we have two distinct divisions on our company, a software development division that sells a product to manufacturers worldwide and a managed services division that provides outsourced IT services in our regional area. So we start by breaking down the initiatives by division. Then by quarter. We have found that 90 days is the right amount of time to get our “rocks” or goals down. What I want to talk to you today is how we break these rocks down to each and every employee that works at PICS. We do this with something we call our Employee Success Plans or ESP’s. Manage To Win The concept of an ESP was part of a hiring system I purchased from a great leadership coach named David Russell. Many of you probably know David, he is at a lot of the industry trade shows and also has a podcast called NO BAD BOSSES where he interviews business leaders but David’s bread and butter is from his...
21 minutes | Jan 28, 2018
Taking a Good Look at your Team – ITPN-028
Taking a good hard look at your team If you have listened to the IT Provider Network for any amount of time, and thank you for doing that, you will know that I am a big fan of outside coaches. Mostly to help me do better at things that I am not good at, like taking a good hard look at my team and helping my find A Players. Oh before I forget, one of my favorite coaching teams is Chris Brogan and Rob Hatch. I am a member of their Owner Insiders group and I just received notice that the pricing is going up. If you listened to this podcast you know that by using this link RIGHT AWAY you might be able to still get the old pricing and save yourself about a grand a year. Either way, it is a great value but signup now to get the grandfathered pricing that I have. Owner Insider Group Signup In this episode of the IT Provider Network podcast, I am going to share with you some of the strategies we have implemented when looking at the number one resource in our company; our team members. Q1 is almost over - Is Time Flying or Standing Still Here we are almost two months into the new year and two third through the first quarter. Time really flies when you’re having fun. It also crawls when you’re not. Dealing with personnel issues is when time stands still for me. I despise it. The Land of Misfit Toys I can’t comment on your business but sometimes in mine, it seems like the land of misfit toys. If I am being honest we have some great people but we have some less than great people too. I haven’t always been the best at hiring, and sometimes my hiring choices were based on an immediate need, not a well thought out process. You know what I'm talking about when your ONLY engineer quits and you are forced to do all the work. Those kinds of hires. Been there done that. But I digress. I’ve grown since then and thankfully so has our company. I have built resilience in my team, processes, and documentation so that our company is not so reliant on one person Rest assured, that wasn’t always the case. Even though this episode is not about hiring I will tell you that you need to strive to remove as much of the emotion from your hiring process, be as objective as possible and think carefully about your hires. Look for A Players to fill every role. Chances are you will be living with your decisions for a long time. It's in the way we communicate I have a new thought and it is my mantra for 2018. What separates us from the competition is NOT our team but the way we communicate with our clients. Every company in the world brags that they have the best people, or the best team and most of them really believe that they do but the truth of the matter is that we all can’t have the best people. We just can’t. Even though we all can't have the best team we can do everything possible to make ours better. So what can you do to continually improve your team and leverage the most expensive, most important resource in your company? What can you do to improve your team? What can you do to continually raise the performance bar of your company so that you can achieve WORLD DOMINATION? Well in the next two episodes of the IT Provider Network I am going to present two techniques that we have implemented in our company. In this episode, I am going to talk about ABC Rankings and in Episode 29 I’ll be telling you how we use ESP’s or Employee Success Plans. Using these techniques together I think go a long way to build excellent teams. ABC Ranking - Not your grandfathers forced ranking First, let’s talk about ABC ranking. This is the process of ranking your team into A players, B players and C players. It’s highly controversial mostly from what is referred to as “forced ranking” or “stacked ranking”. The difference of between ABC ranking and forced ranking is that in forced ranking everyone fits in one place on the bell curve. The top 20% is are the A players and the middle 70% are the B players and finally,
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