29 minutes | Nov 16th 2020

Episode 53: Your MSP must have a live calendar on your website

In this week's episode
  • Don't worry, they won't be able to see when you're going to the dentist... but giving your leads and prospects access to your calendar is the ultimate way to move your relationship with them forward. And this week Paul explains how best to use a clever booking system on your website
  • Also in this week's show, now could be a great time to expand your team, especially with a 2nd or 3rd line tech. Paul's joined by an MSP recruitment specialist with some great tips for getting your hands on the best people
  • Plus Paul's going to tell you about some fascinating and potentially terrifying tech stories that your prospects could love as much as you. Use these stories to help educate your prospects about the risks they could face and therefore the support you can provide in reducing that risk
Show notes Episode transcription Voiceover: Fresh every Tuesday for MSPs around the world. This is Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast. Paul Green: Hello, and welcome to another great, big, fresh sizzling slab of the podcast. Here's what we got coming up for you this week Chris Duggan: In the future, we could see some more technicians come onto the market as companies struggle with their customers coming back to normality. Paul Green: We've also got a great book suggestion coming up. In fact, it's a book you should probably give to every single member of your team to help them understand why change is inevitable and how they can mentally handle it. Plus, we'll be talking about why you must have your live calendar on your website so prospects can book in to see you. Voiceover: Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast. Voiceover: These are true stories from the dark side of the internet. Paul Green: Now that is a great way to start a podcast. That's a clip from the start of a recent episode of the Darknet Diaries. And I told you back in episode 47 about a couple of books about cybersecurity, which me, a non-tech, really enjoyed. And they were Sandworm, which is the story of sort of Russian infiltration of Ukraine and how NotPetya was created. And then there was Ghost in the Wire, which is the Kevin Mitnick story. He was once the FBI's most wanted hacker. Paul Green: Well, since I finished those and there's a run every night, I need about an hour's worth of audio every evening to keep me entertained. And just recently, I've been listening to the Darknet Diaries. Now this is a podcast series and we'll put a link to it in the show notes, but it is fascinating because I don't think it's really aimed at you. I think it's actually aimed at people like me, ordinary people who don't live the technology lifestyle that you live every single day, but we have an interest in cyber crime and the things that can happen online. And I've ploughed through about five or six episodes so far, there's about 40 50 episodes to consume and it is fascinating. You absolutely should be listening to this. Do you know what would be really interesting is you can actually embed episodes of it into your website. Some of these episodes aren't so geeky, so nerdy that ordinary people, potentially the decision-makers that you want to reach, they might find these interesting. So perhaps worth you having a look through, picking out some of your favourite episodes and maybe even embedding them into your website. Paul Green: What we've got to remember about ordinary people, the people that you want to reach is that they don't listen to this kind of stuff. They don't read books like Sandworm and Ghost in the Wires. They're not always as aware of cybersecurity as you and I are. I'm only aware of cybersecurity and just how much stuff is happening out there because I hang out with MSPs all the time. And very often the conversations that the MSPs have with me start and finish with cybersecurity, something that's scared them or something that's happened to one of their clients or the latest threat that's come out or a new vendor that's popped up with a new product to help protect everyone. You and I know it's a massive, massive part of being online and using technology. But these ordinary people, they really don't know. And I think weapons like the Darknet Diaries can be an incredible way to educate them. Paul Green: Sure, most people aren't going to listen to a podcast like that, it's just simply not on their radar. But there will be some who will and actually as they start to listen to it, they'll realise just how easy it is to be breached. Just how careful you've got to be to keep your business safe. You know this, I know this and the challenge is to start to educate them about it. So go and have a listen to the Darknet Diaries and then, as you're doing that, just have a think about what else you could do on your website to educate people. What other educational materials could you put out to the ordinary people that you want to reach to help them realise just how big a deal this is. This isn't about selling. This is about educating, but we know that in any marketplace, the MSP that educates the prospects better than other MSPs is most likely to pick up the sales as well. Voiceover: Here's this week's clever idea. Paul Green: So imagine you want to buy something, a B2B service, it doesn't really matter what it is, but imagine you've looked on two or three different websites, you've found the service that you think is for you and you're looking through their website and thinking, "Yeah, this is pretty much the one. This ticks all of the boxes, it feels right. I've just got a few questions. I just need to have a little chat with someone and just make a hundred percent sure that this is right for my business." So you go up to the contact page and there on the contact page, you've got a choice of someone's email address or filling in a form. And you think about that and you think, "Right, okay, I could just send them an email, but obviously that could go into their spam or I'll just fill in the form." So you fill in the form and you type out your details and your questions and you press the submit button and the form kind of reloads and says, "Thank you. Your information has been received." Paul Green: But do you believe it? Because we all do this, don't we? We fill out a form on the website and then there's a kind of a bit of a self doubt. Unless we receive an email to say that the information has been received, there's that self-doubt of has it gone through? Will someone actually get me? I mean, there's a phone number there, you could pick up the phone right now and call those people. But maybe you've only got five minutes right now and you want to just get this done and get those questions out there and you don't want to have 20, 30 minutes of your time stolen by the sales person that answers the phone when you call. So that's why you've gone for the form. Paul Green: Here's the thing. Right now you are a hot prospect. You are pretty much ready to buy that service, you've just got a few questions. And the company that you're thinking of buying from has just put itself at huge risk because it didn't make it easy for you to get the answers to the questions you'd got instantly. Now there's a couple of ways around this. You could put live chat into the website, although live chat can very much be a double-edged sword. No, I think the real answer to this is to put your live calendar into the website. Because imagine in that exact same scenario where instead of having to fill in a web form or send an email, you also have the choice of actually booking an appointment. You can see someone's live calendar right there and then, you can compare it with your calendar and you can book yourself a 15 minute call with someone at a time that suits you. Paul Green: You're still a hot prospect, you still want to buy this service, but now you have put yourself in control of when you have the conversation about it. You haven't got that fear of just picking up the phone and having 20 or 30 minutes of your time stolen. You haven't got that horrible thing of you submit a form and no one ever gets back to you. Or worse, someone phones you up and again, they're stealing 20 minutes of your time at a time that perhaps isn't most appropriate for you. No, booking on a live calendar is absolutely beautiful. And let's flip this round. Let's pretend that it's someone thinking of buying from you. You need to have your live calendar on your website and I've got some technology suggestions for you in a second. But there are so many reasons why you absolutely need to do this. In fact, I would argue on every single page, every single page of your website, you should have your live calendar available as the single most important call to action, the thing that you want people to do. Because no one ever buys IT support services or an IT partnership just off the website. That is not how it's done. Paul Green: What they need to do is they need to talk to someone. They need to engage with you. They need to get a quote. They need to be involved in the sales process. They're not buying a fixed service, even if actually that's what you deliver some of the times. It's a set series of things that you do. From their point of view, it's all bespoke. It's something they need to talk to people about. They need to talk about their goals, their ambitions, what's frustrating them. Essentially, they need to talk to a human. And if your live calendar is there on every single page of your website and it is the prominent call to action, you're making it really easy for them to move on to the next step. And that's what the purpose of the website is. The purpose of the website is obviously to grab their attention, to teach them and educate them about why you would be a great choice as opposed to all the other IT support companies, but critically to get them to take action. Action, action, action. Things only happen when people start to take action. Paul Green: If someone's on your website at three in the morning, they can schedule a call with you. Now they can't schedule a call with you at three in the morning, as in you're in bed right then. But if at three in the morning that's when they want to do the scheduling and schedule it for the next day or the day after that, they can do that. If they want it to be in two weeks time, they can do that. If they want it to be first thing in the morning, because it's most appropriate for them to do that, or they'd rather do it at lunchtime or in the evening, as so long as you've got the availability in your calendar, they can do that. They feel in control. There are nothing but benefits for people scheduling their own appointments with you. Particularly if the system that you use pops that into their calendar and even sends them reminders. You can send reminders by email, send reminders by text message even, and this can all be done completely automated so you don't actually have to do anything. Paul Green: Now, the tool that I use on my website, which people can use to book an appointment with my colleague, Ben, and this is the tool that I recommend to most of the MSPs that I work with is calendly.com. Calendly, I think is the market leader. It's certainly the easiest to set up, you can have multiple different kinds of appointments, can edit in multiple calendars, lots of different appointment times, you can set all sorts of rules. So for example, if you wanted to give your clients the ability to book an hour's meeting with you, but only have one of those a day. And then on top of that, you wanted prospects to be able to book a 15 minute appointment, but you wanted to have kind of a buffer in between those and you'd have an unlimited number of those on any day, then you can set all of those kinds of rules up. You can set special availability in your calendar on specific days, you can block yourself off for holidays. You literally have full flexibility. Paul Green: And Calendly looks beautiful when it's in your website as well. It really does. They've clearly spent an enormous amount of time, making sure it can be embedded quickly and easily into virtually any website and it looks just beautiful. So go and have a look at calendly.com. There is a free version, although as with most things, once you start paying a little bit of money, you get all the benefits of the premium versions as well. Now within Microsoft 365, they have Bookings. And again, it's the same kind of functionality, but as is typical with most of the 365 offerings, it's around about 80% as good as the market leader. So my experience with Bookings is that the functionality works absolutely perfectly in the backend, but in terms of putting it on your website, it doesn't quite look as good as Calendly. You don't have as much control, it takes up a lot more space and it's just not quite as beautiful. It's a very typical Microsoft interpretation. But if you wanted to just do that and didn't want to spend any money on it, Microsoft Bookings is absolutely the right one for you. Paul Green: There are loads of other examples as well. There's something called AppointmentCore. I don't have any experience of that, but I've heard of people using that as. Something called ScheduleOnce as well and of course, if you just go and Google alternatives to Calendly or alternatives to Microsoft Bookings, I'm sure you'll find lots of other things out there. You just need to make sure that whichever technology you use it integrates fully with your calendar so it does all the work for you of checking when you're available and actually inserting the appointment into your diary and you definitely want to make sure it has reminders, automated reminders. What we've found is if you switch the automated reminders off, even if something's in someone's calendar, they're less likely to actually turn up to that event. And that's certainly the case with the way it's done in 2020, which is doing it on a video call. Many of the MSPs that I work with have now integrated their live calendar into the website and some are getting appointments. Not all, it's some people, it just doesn't seem to be working. I think a lot of it depends on the amount of traffic that you drive to your website, but we've had it in our website for, well, it must be getting on for a year now, and we routinely get somewhere between around five and eight appointments booked a week. Paul Green: Now we drive a lot of traffic to our website. We're doing a lot of outbound and inbound marketing, but five to eight appointments a week being self booked by hot prospects is just beautiful. And as you can imagine, the majority of those turn up and some of those people go on to become clients. Some of them they're not quite right for us or we're not quite right for them. But when someone books their own appointment, it's them putting their hand up and telling you that they want to have a conversation about whether or not your business is a great fit for their business. And that is the most beautiful kind of action that someone can take on your website. So you can choose to have lots of call to actions on your website. Yes, they can fill in a form, yes, they can email you. You should probably do live chat if you've got someone that can monitor it, but absolutely make sure that your live calendar is embedded right there in the website so they can book that appointment at a time that suits them. Voiceover: Paul's blatant plug. Paul Green: If you want new clients, but you don't have the time to create marketing materials, I have the perfect service to help you. It's called the MSP Marketing Edge and it will revolutionise how you get new clients. Already more than 320 MSPs use this, trust it, and love it every single month. So we have a whole bunch of very clever marketing content and marketing tools that we supply to you every single month. In fact, there's fresh content on the 10th of every month for the following month and we also send you even more fresh content every single Thursday. So you've got stuff every month and stuff every week. Essentially, there's all the marketing content you could ever need for your MSP plus some clever marketing tools, plus literally world-class support. We have hundreds of how to articles and videos and live humans on standby, not just to supply you with this marketing content, but to show you how to implement it, show you what best practice is and what other MSPs are doing. Paul Green: This is literally now an unparalleled service for giving you everything you need to do the marketing for your MSP. And we've made it very affordable and also very exclusive. You see, we only sell this to one MSP per area, because it wouldn't work if more than one MSP was using it in an area. So you can check to see whether or not one of your competitors has already got this service. If not, you can then try it out. Now in the UK, your first month will just cost you one pound plus VAT. And at the end of that month, it'll be just 99 pounds per month. In the US you can try that out for free. It doesn't cost you a cent to try it your first month and after that, it's $129 per month. But here's the most important thing. There's no contract, there's no commitment, you can cancel any time during your free trial or when you're a full member. Paul Green: What we tend to find is that most people don't cancel because they get so much content, so much help, and it's so useful for them. And so affordable to have all of this content that they can just use that the vast majority of our clients, they come in, they love it, and they stick with it every single month. So why don't you give it a go? The first thing to do is check to see if your area is available. You just go into MSPmarketingedge.com. That's MSPmarketingedge.com. Voiceover: The big interview. Chris Duggan: Hi everyone. I'm Chris Duggan. I'm a recruitment consultant here at Big Red. We're a technology specialist recruiter based in the Midlands, and I'm here to help find tech talent for companies. Paul Green: So what kind of changes have you noticed since lockdown, Chris? I mean, we read that lots of people are been made redundant and the job markets are very, very vigorous at the moment. But how's that actually affected the IT sector, specifically for people looking for new technicians? Chris Duggan: An example of the market at the moment is, obviously, we're having a huge influx of active candidates. An example of this is we run recently a project for a major retailer last summer. We ran our campaign, put the advert out there, and I think we approached around 80 candidates. We did this same exact project for the same client this year, same adverts, because it was the same spec. And this time around, we had over 250 applications. So that just goes some way to showing what the market is like at the moment from an active candidate perspective. Paul Green: But for MSPs who are looking to recruit, are technicians flooding the market in the same way that other people are flooding the market? Chris Duggan: I wouldn't say necessarily. I think there's definitely an uplifting in some technicians out there. I still think that MSPs have been fairly well protected from the ones that I've spoken to. And certainly at the start of lockdown, they had a huge, huge uplift in their work in terms of trying to get everybody remote working. And they're just now starting to settle down from that. So I think in the future, we could see some more technicians come onto the market as those companies struggle with their customers coming back to normality. But for the time being there, the MSP that I've spoken to had been fairly well-protected. Paul Green: So let's get some actual recruitment advice from you then. I'm going to ask you a couple of questions. We're going to start with looking at first-line support and then we'll move on to second/third line. So when you're recruiting new first-line support people, obviously you're looking for people more with great attitude than perhaps skillset, because that's a role you can definitely be trained into. What advice can you give to MSPs on how to make that recruitment process for first-line techs so much easier? Chris Duggan: I think you're absolutely right in the first thing that you said in terms of how customer services is so vitally important, especially at this stage in IT. I think we're seeing lots and lots of MSP that are becoming more commoditised. And it's more about that customer service rather than those deep technical skills for a lot of the staff that they recruit for the moment. In terms of finding those skillsets in the market, I think it's really important to not always look within IT. Sometimes it's important to look in other areas of the market. And so from myself, obviously, I came into recruitment from a retail perspective. And, obviously, my time in retail gave me a really, really good background of customer service skills. So if you find somebody that's genuinely got a passion for IT, and they've got those customer service skill sets, then I think they could quite easily be cross-trained into those areas. And I think the better way would be to try and find those skill sets is either a video call or a face-to-face meeting, depending on what the current climate is like for you at the moment. But definitely being able to run through scenarios with these people, how they will deal with difficult users on the phone. And you really get a better sense of somebody when you can do that, by looking at them in the eyes. Paul Green: And have you come across any MSPs that take a more extended view to recruiting first liners? I mean, there's a couple I've worked with who they've actually gone through the interview process and then they've given someone a week's trial and they've had them in the office working, doing the work they would be doing for a week. Now, we all know when you interview someone, they can lie, they can fib, they can tell you what they think you want to hear, but when you put them in the workplace for a week, it's suddenly very hard for that person to fake being someone else for an entire week. Do you get many MSPs doing that? Chris Duggan: I haven't come across it personally. I can definitely see what your train of thought is there. I think, not to sort of self-promote too much, but here at Big Red, we offer a service where we undertake the first round of interviews on behalf of the client. So we like to run through quite an open informal interview process where we really try and get to know the candidate in a bit more detail, as well as really explain our clients to them in more detail as well. So they have a really clear sense of what they've been walking into on the first day. And we have a really clear picture of who they are as a candidate so that we can recommend what a succinct short list of candidates that we feel all the best in the market of that type, then the client can go through their stage of interview process. Chris Duggan: So they've already been fairly well screened before they get to the office stage and with our process. But I think, yeah, absolutely, I think certainly with the MSP world as well, I think it takes a very specific person to be able to do well within an MSP. Because it's such a unique environment dealing with multiple different clients, multiple different infrastructures on a daily basis and in such a fast-paced environment for a lot of the MSPs that I've worked with as well. So definitely a trial for some people could be a good way of doing that, depending on what their approval process is like and leading up to that, Paul Green: Side note to all podcast hosts, whenever someone says not to self promote, it's normally them about to self-promote themselves. Which is fine, which is fine, it's your thank you for being on the show. Let's have a look at second and third line techs. Now, I think you and I both agree, they are much harder to get right. There's a much smaller pool of people around and of course you're then getting into specific skillsets as well as attitude. And it's being able to match up the person who can do the things you want them to be able to do with someone who thinks right and fits into your team. So what do you think is a good approach for MSPs to go and find those appropriate second, third line techs? Chris Duggan: The start of that recruitment and hiring process for them is so vital. And in that respect, they really need to know exactly what it is they're looking for from a skills perspective and the type of person that we're looking for as well. Like you said, attitude is vitally important at this stage as it is with all stages of recruitment as well. I think having a really clear picture of the skills they're looking for, trying to be clever with their recruitment as well, going forward from there. So I always say be open and honest with candidates. Don't use buzzwords within adverts and so forth. Whenever somebody reads, I've got an exciting opportunity using cutting-edge technology, nobody gets excited about that anymore, because that's on every advert that's out there. So be open, be honest, talk about what this person's going to be doing on a daily basis within the advert, because that really helps the candidates know whether or not it's something they're interested in. Chris Duggan: And also they can get creative with the searching that you're doing. So a great analogy for these type of skill sets, I would say, is you've got obviously the active market, which I briefly mentioned, but then you've also got the passive market. And certainly when you're looking for those sort of deeper technical skill sets, you really want to tap into that passive market, which can be quite difficult to get into just by doing an advert or just by having the job advertisement on your website. You really need to get a little bit more creative with that passive recruitment. And the way I look at it is, in and trying to paint a picture for you for that analogy, is if you picture an apple tree now on the bottom of that apple tree, you've got those low hanging fruits and these are the active candidates that are in the market. So by putting adverts out there on various job boards, on LinkedIn, et cetera, these are the people that are going to be searching through those advertisement streams on a daily, weekly basis. Chris Duggan: And just by doing that sort of basic recruitment and hiring, you're going to reach those low hanging fruits. But a really great recruitment process looks at tapping into both the active and passive market. And I think by going into that passive, it takes a little bit more effort, takes a little bit more time, you're going to be a bit more clever with it. Maybe that's looks like head hunting. So looking through competitors in the market who have good people that you could, you could tap into, but also I think talent pooling is a really, really great feature for MSPs to adopt at the moment. Having a pool of candidates, which maybe aren't looking at the moment, but then are interested in your company, is hugely important. And a great way to do that is to drip feed them various information, various marketing advice from your company, just to keep them constantly on the hook sort of thing so that when a job does arise in the future for you, you've got an engaged talent pool of candidates there that are invested in your brand, they're invested in your company, so that when that time does come around, that you're looking for that person, they're in that talent pool and hopefully you can turn to that. Paul Green: Now that is very smart advice because that's essentially my approach to marketing, but applied to recruitment. My approach to marketing is about getting a wide pool of people who could be your clients one day and building a relationship with them, so that at the exact moment they're ready to switch from their incumbent to a new MSP, they feel like they know you in some way. It's a very low level relationship, but they feel like they know you. And what you've just described there, Chris, is exactly the same methodology, but doing that for recruitment is a very smart thing to do. So how would you go about meeting those kind of people, taking that passive approach? Would you just approach local technicians on LinkedIn and arrange to meet them up for a coffee? What would be the best thing to do? Chris Duggan: Yeah, absolutely. And that's one way, I think recruitment nowadays, I think the line between recruitment and marketing are becoming more and more blurred and from my perspective and Big Red's perspective, certainly. I think we like to try and engage the market and talent-pooling for our clients is something that we like to do for many of our roles. So I've got an MSP that I worked with down in Milton Keynes. I've partnered with now for over a year, so in terms of getting that talent pool engaged and creating that talent pool to start with is exactly like you just said. It's about networking with the right people on LinkedIn, getting their engagement. It could be like you said, you approached them for the role initially, but they're not interested, but definitely want to stay in touch with so meeting for a coffee. I think meetups certainly in the past were a great thing to do as well as to try and arrange meetups with like-minded people trying to arrange keynote speakers to come on and talk about the topics that they're interested in. Chris Duggan: So for example, if you've got a talent pool of candidates from an MSP perspective, it could be that you host a workshop or a meetup and get some maybe cloud specialist to come in and talk about cloud technologies going forward or cybersecurity going forward. Just try and get something, which they are going to be engaged with that they're interested in and making them want to come to that meetup. And then obviously, there you've got an engaged pool of candidates there that you can turn to whenever you need them for future roles. Paul Green: Chris, that's great, thank you. Take your second big plug. Tell us about your business and how we can get in touch with you. Chris Duggan: Fantastic. Yeah, so Big Red Recruitment, we're based in Stratford-Upon-Avon. We deal with everything from technology, digital and change recruitment. So everything from your first line support all the way up to your IT directors, as well as various project managers, BAs, and so forth. So anything related with technology we like to get involved with and we like to do our recruitment a little bit differently, like I mentioned, at the start of the podcast. We really like to partner with our clients exclusively and really help them be an extension of their company to help them find the best candidates within the market. So by all means, if you'd like to reach out and you can find me on LinkedIn, Chris Duggan is the name and our website is www.bigredrecruitment.co.uk. Voiceover: Paul Green's, MSP Marketing Podcast. This week's recommended book. Speaker 6: Hey everybody, Heather Harlos here, the global cloud and MSP marketing manager at Bitdefender. Today I'm going to recommend a book for you to read. And that book will be Who Moved My Cheese. There's a couple reasons you should consider this. The first is it really helps you with something that all of us deal with every day in business, and that's change. It's going to show you how certain people succeed with adapting to change and how other people struggle. And then if you are one of those people that struggle or have people in your organisation that struggle with change, it's going to give you tips and tricks on how to either help yourself be stronger or help them be stronger in the future. The next reason is that it's what I consider a bathroom read. Short, sweet to the point, you can sit down, curl up with it and be done in a couple hours. And really takes some valuable information away in that short amount of time, because I know we're all busy and we don't really have a lot of free time. So I hope you really enjoy my recommendation and add this book to your list. Voiceover: How to contribute to the show. Paul Green: If you've got a book suggestion, or you just want to ask a question, or even just have a chat to me about your MSP, why not drop me an email? My address is hello@PaulgreensMSPmarketing.com. Voiceover: Coming up next week. Daniel Welling: They need to be aware of your interest at the time when they're ready to sell Paul Green: It's Daniel Welling. He's an MSP mergers and acquisitions expert based here in the UK. And he's going to be here next week on the show talking about how there are loads of MSPs looking to acquire businesses right now, but only a tiny proportion of firms that are actually up for sale. He's got a whole list of suggestions for you, if you'd love to acquire a competitor in 2021. We're also going to be looking next week at why you must have multiple marketing methods in your business. I'm going to be talking about something called the Power Parthenon. I'll explain the concept to you and why it's dangerous to only have one way of getting clients into your business. We'll also look at how you properly brief a virtual assistant, a VA, because believe me, the quality of the work received utterly depends on the brief that you put out. And Chris Timm, the PSA expert. He's going to be back on the show next week and he's got not just one but two great book suggestions for you. See you in next week's show. Voiceover: Made in the UK for MSPs around the world. Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast.  
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