Episode 57: How to tell clients you’re outsourcing
In this week's episode Worried how your customers will react if you outsource their helpdesk? There's no need! Paul's worked with some MSPs and developed a positive way to tell them and he'll share that with you Also on this week's show, an MSP sales expert joins Paul to explain how you can dramatically improve your sales revenue, simply using a pen and a white board And how much are you willing to spend on securing a new customer? It's not cheap, but Paul has an idea of something you can send to prospects which could make a massive difference to the conversions of your sales meetings Show notes Out every Tuesday on your favourite podcast platform Presented by Paul Green, an MSP marketing expert Paul mentioned the brilliant book all about inbound content marketing They Ask, You Answer by Marcus Sheridan Here’s just a selection of the ‘video greeting cards’ on Amazon that you could send before prospect meetings Sign up for Paul's entry-level Marketing Accelerator training Paul's special guest was MSP sales expert Paul Lloyd from Sellerly talking about how to effectively manage a sales person James Lett from the Marketing Edge (and producer of Paul's podcast) recommended the book DotCom Secrets by Russell Brunson Please recommend a book you think will inspire other MSPs here paulgreensmspmarketing.com/podcastbooks Paul's special guest on December 22nd will be former MSP owner Pete Matheson, talking about how to best use YouTube to help win new clients Please send any questions, ideally in audio-form (or any other feedback) to firstname.lastname@example.org Episode transcription Voiceover: Fresh every Tuesday for MSPs around the world. This is Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast. Paul Green: My goodness. How did we make it to the 15th of December? Welcome to Episode 57 of the show. Here's what we've got coming up for you today. Paul Lloyd: And as long as they can get back firmly fixed in their minds, then they grow. Paul Green: We've also got a very clever way for you to get valuable social proof in front of your best prospects. And believe me, it's got nothing to do with sending them a YouTube link. Plus, we've got a book suggestion at the end of the show which is all about building a sales and marketing funnel for your business. Voiceover: Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast. Paul Green: A couple of weeks ago, my daughter asked me possibly the hardest question that she's ever asked me. She's only 10-years-old. And she said to me, "Daddy, what's inflation?" And it's like, yeah right, okay. How do I explain that one? So I said to her, "Well inflation is where prices go up." "Why?" "Because the price of things just go up over time. So this house now which costs, I don't know, £100, 20 years ago, this house would have cost £75." "But I don't understand it. Why do the prices go up?" And you can imagine how that conversation went, especially if you've got kids. I mean that kind of conversation never really has a satisfactory ending. And I couldn't really explain it to her. I mean I have a level in economics from 1992, so I understand the concept of inflation. But it just wasn't particularly easy for me to explain it to a 10-year-old. And that's really the golden test, by the way, for everything. Paul Green: If you can't explain something so a 10-year-old can understand it, then you probably haven't explained it very well at all. Afterwards, when she'd gone to bed, I got onto Google, fired at the Google machine and I thought I'd have a look to see is there an analogy for inflation? Because sometimes, when you're trying to explain something very complicated, the easiest way to do that is to use an analogy. An analogy is, of course, something else which is similar to the thing that you're trying to explain. And that other thing, that something else is something that the person you're trying to explain it to is much more likely to understand. Now, I couldn't find one to describe inflation. And in fact, if you can think of an analogy to explain inflation to a 10-year-old who doesn't really care anyway, then do get in touch with me. Paul Green: But a couple of days later, I was talking to a couple of my MSP clients and we were discussing the fact that they are moving to, I think it's Benchmark365, they're outsourcing their help desk to them. And they were going to do three trial clients. They were going to have a chat with those clients and they were going to say, "Look..." The message they wanted to get over was, "We want to outsource the boring routine stuff. So that our highly trained staff don't have to waste their time changing your passwords and setting up your new users. We're going to get other people to do that for us. So actually, we can spend more of our time doing the things that really matter, like the proactive work and the big complicated fixes." And as we were having this conversation about how to explain this to the clients, because of course, the clients don't know what a technician's life is like. Paul Green: They don't know the difference between a password reset and rebuilding a server. They just don't know that because it's not their world. It suddenly struck me that an analogy would be the perfect way to explain this to those clients. And we had a little discussion about it. The one we came up with is one that you might choose to use and it's based around car mechanics. So you will have varying levels of car mechanics depending on where you go. You'll have people right down there at the bottom, and no offense to you if you've done this in the past, or if you know someone who does this, but I would imagine fitting tires is a fairly low level task in the world of car maintenance. It doesn't look that difficult to be honest, does it? You just use a couple of machines, take the tire off, put the next tire on, do a bit of balancing, bang it back on the car. Paul Green: I mean that seems like a fairly easy task that anyone could learn to do in just a few hours, I guess. And then you've got people who are master technicians. So their job is to plug in the computer and interpret what the computer says, and go and actually do the difficult things. Things that must be quite hard in some cars like replacing the clutch or the transmission or whatever. And I would imagine the skill level between a tire fitter and a master technician is quite significantly different. Tire fitters can be taught in, I guess, a day, master technicians probably take years to get to the point where they are able to work at the speed and at the efficiency that they work at. And that's your analogy just there. You just refer it back to cars, because everyone's got a car and everyone's watched a tire fitter grunt and moan and show a bit of their butt crack while they're taking off the tire. Paul Green: That's not a very pleasant thought, is it? But also, we know the difference between that person and the person who is the master technician, who can solve the deeply complicated faults that the computer has thrown out, or maybe even worse within the car. So that's the analogy my client is going to use. He's going to say, "Look, you've got to think of it this way. 80% of the work that comes into us is tire fitter work. It's stuff that really anyone with basic training can do. So this is the stuff that we're going to outsource. We're going to give all of this stuff to this help desk, which is based elsewhere, and they're going to do that stuff for you," because it doesn't really matter who does that stuff. Setting up a new user or resetting your password is a tire fitting level at work. However, me and my team, we're master technicians. Only we can do some of the more complicated things such as the preventative work. Paul Green: We can do a heck of a lot of preventative work so that you don't have problems at all. And only we can do that. And what about the complicated fixes that need to be done when something really difficult has broken? Only we can do that. So we're going to focus our time on that. In fact, you're not going to see less of us as a result of this change, you're going to see more of us because we will be there to do the difficult and complicated things so that you don't have to. We're the master technicians and we're outsourcing the tire fitting works to tire fitters who happened to be based somewhere else. And that is a great analogy. It really is because clients can completely understand that. They're not shirking work, they're not pushing the work away. It's not that they don't want to deal with the clients anymore. They really do. But they want to do work that's of interest. They want to do work that's up to their skillset. And I think the vast majority of clients would be very happy to go with that. Paul Green: In fact, from what I've heard, this MSP's clients are very happy with that because it's been explained to them very well. It's been communicated brilliantly. They've used some written resources, some direct mail, some emails, and they've talked to them on the phone. And as far as we can see, there are no major issues there with them introducing this new outsourced partner, which is just brilliant. So I guess the challenge for you is whenever you're doing anything with your clients, something which really they're not going to understand, that's cybersecurity that's backups, that's encryption. Hell, that's probably everything that you're doing with them right now. How can you introduce an analogy? How can you make it so simple for them to understand that they'd have to really struggle not to understand because you've taken it out of your world and used a frame of reference from their world? Voiceover: Here's this week's clever idea. Paul Green: If you're a long time listener to this podcast, you'll know I've been banging on about a book called They Ask You Answer for quite some time. I believe it is the long-term marketing strategy for most MSPs. And I'm talking a five year marketing strategy. You need to read the book. It's by Marcus Sheridan. And it's about inbound content marketing. It's about getting more traffic to your website, but also creating a culture where you answer people's questions along the way. And something that Marcus wrote towards the back of the book reminded me of something that we used to do in the last business that I owned, which was a niche healthcare marketing agency. I sold that back in 2016. So back then, we pretty much doubled our conversion rates from our sales guys by doing one thing. And this is something that you should do by the way. Paul Green: We used to send out a DVD, because this was the old days you know, a DVD of social proof. So social proof is where most people prefer to do what most other people are doing. And at the time, we were doing marketing for vets and dentists and optometrists, opticians. And we got together some of our existing clients and I sat and interviewed them. And I interviewed them about their experience with my business and what they'd achieved with their businesses. And we edited that together, popped it on a DVD. And whenever one of my salespeople was going out to see a prospect, we would post a copy of this DVD to that person. And we would say, "Please can you watch this DVD before the sales meeting?" And it was such a dramatic effect on our conversion that we got to the point where we would ring people the day before the meeting. And we would say to them, "Have you watched the DVD? Only seven minutes long, have you watched it yet?" Paul Green: And if they hadn't watched it, we would actually refuse to go out on the sales appointment, which sounds insane. I do appreciate how insane that sounds. But because it had such a dramatic effect on our conversion, we didn't want to waste our salespeople's time driving three, four hours to have a sales meeting with someone who hadn't consumed the social proof, because that social proof made such a big difference to our conversion rates. And actually, Marcus Sheridan in the back of They Ask You Answer talks about exactly the same thing. He sends out a YouTube video to all of his prospects before the sales meeting. And if they don't watch the YouTube video, then they won't go to the sales meeting. And that's because the YouTube video has some social proof and it also explains the answers to the basic questions that people ask. Paul Green: So essentially, he's turned these salespeople into order takers. They turn up to talk to educated, motivated buyers, and then all they have to do is agree the fine details of the sale. Now that is a sales and marketing operation. You could do, and in fact you should do, exactly the same thing. But I don't recommend a DVD because it 2020. And I certainly don't recommend you sending out a YouTube link. Now ,YouTube is great. Don't get me wrong. And Vimeo is great. And all of these digital distribution methods are absolutely fantastic. But there's a downside to them, which is it's just more noise, more digital noise. There's just more stuff out there. "Please can you sit and watch this seven minute video?" Yeah. Okay. It's another video on my device. I'm probably going to do something else. It doesn't have as much, "Watch me now," power as a DVD used to have when we used to send out those DVDs. Paul Green: So here's a really smart way to combine those two things. You can get video greetings cards and you can get them from Amazon. In fact, there are lots of places that you can go to get them. And what these video greetings cards are essentially a video player and a screen contained within quite a thick card. So you'll be paying, I don't know, 20, £30, dollars per unit. Go and have a look on Amazon, go and have a look at different ones. You can find them all over the place. And the beauty of them is that you plug them into a computer, you upload an MP4. And then when someone gets that card and opens it, the video starts to play. Now, that's quite an expensive way to get a video in front of someone. However, you've got to look at the bigger picture here. If you go out and see a prospect and they buy from you and they're spending, even if it was just something as simple as $500 or pounds per month, monthly recurring revenue, well you and I know that they're going to stay with you for at least 60 months. Paul Green: Someone who's spending $500 a month for 60 months, which is five years, that's a $30,000 spend. Would you spend 20, $30 or pounds to get $30,000? Of course you would! Everyone would every single day of the week. And here's the thing, we know that something like social proof does have such a dramatic effect on sales because people are sheep. We can't help it. It's hardwired within us. We much prefer to do what most other people are doing. So it's something that I recommend you looking at. Don't overthink it. Don't take it too far. Sure, you can get these video greetings cards printed with your logo and all of that kind of stuff. Or you could just try it the simple way. Go onto Amazon, find two or three, get some samples, plug them into your computer, bang the video on and send it out to prospects and say to them, "Please can you watch this before our meeting?" Paul Green: The really smart thing to do is then at the meeting to take the video greetings card back so that you can use it again. And I reckon the average video greetings card will last you two or three iterations before it's run its course before it's got too tatty. By the way, when you go into Amazon, don't just type in, "Video cards," because you know what's going to come up if you type in, "Video cards." Type in, "Video greetings cards," and have a look, there are loads of them available. It's such a clever idea. I promise you it will have a fairly dramatic effect on the conversions of your sales meetings. Just don't overthink. Voiceover: Paul's blatant plug. Paul Green: Here's a question for you, what's your marketing strategy for 2021? How are you going to get lots more leads? How are you going to turn those leads into prospects and some of those prospects into clients on very lucrative monthly recurring revenue deals? Well if you're really not sure on that, and by the way, you're not alone. The vast majority of MSPs have little clarity on something like that. But if you're not sure, I can help you right now. In fact, I can help you now and throughout January or February or March, and the cost of me doing that is incredibly low. You see, we have a new entry level training course, which is called the MSP Marketing Accelerator. It only costs £49 for UK MSPs or $69 for U.S. and rest of the world MSPs. And this isn't some canned training course, this is live training with me personally. In fact, it's five weeks of live training. We jump on a Zoom call for between 60 to 90 minutes once a week for five weeks. And we cover off all the important subjects to get the basics right? The marketing 101. Paul Green: We look at your website, we look at your LinkedIn. We look at how to build audiences of people to listen to you, then how to build a relationship with those audiences, how to commercialise them with comprehensive multi touchpoint marketing campaigns. And then we finish with an overall success blueprint looking at all the ingredients you need for an MSP that is essentially a marketing machine. This is a strategy driven program. Sure, we talk about loads of tactics along the way. But the whole point of this is to give you a very simple, but very effective marketing strategy for your MSP. Now because it's a live training program done completely over Zoom, we have a limited number of places per program. So I start one program per month. December's is already underway. We've got a new program starting in January, another one in February, another one in March. If you want to see how many places we've got left plus all the details, just go onto my website, paulgreensmspmarketing.com/accelerator. Voiceover: The big interview. Paul Lloyd: Hi. I'm Paul Lloyd from Sellerly Limited. I am a Sales Director, Seasoned Sales Professional, worked in the IT channel for the last 35 years. Paul Green: 35 years is a very, very long time, Paul. I can't imagine how much grey hair you must have right now. Paul Lloyd: Yeah, well I don't have any black, but I do have a head of hair. Paul Green: Yes. Well that's something to celebrate in itself. So I know in most of your career, you've worked with quite high-performing MSPs. And just before the interview, when we were chatting, you were telling me some of the businesses that you've worked with and some fairly impressive turnovers. From a sales point of view, what makes the difference between fast growing MSPs and those that are just doing okay? Paul Lloyd: This is going to sound very simple in my respects, but they just sell things. The most important thing in their business is the sales number, and that's it. And I get paid a lot of money for telling people, "Concentrate on your number." It's knowing what your target is. So clearly, you need a plan and you need to know your numbers on a monthly basis. But almost on a daily basis, where are you against your sales number? And that's the most important thing that there is in your business. And as long as they can get that firmly fixed in their minds, then they grow. I picked a client up in February, we went through an exercise. Then for a month, I phoned him every day and said, "Where are we today against your target?" And in May, June and July, he had consecutive record months having been in business for 13 years. Paul Green: That's amazing. And that just comes from having a good plan, but then focusing on that plan every day. Paul Lloyd: Yeah. It's just simply... I mean we actually had an argument over a whiteboard because I wanted a whiteboard in the office with the numbers on it. And of course, every techie that's listening to this is now going, "You don't want a whiteboard, you want it on a screen. You want to create in bright gauge or any other super wonderful technical product." But fundamentally, I wanted a whiteboard and a black pen, and on the wall how much the company needed to do, how much each individual needed to do and have it updated on a daily basis. Paul Green: That's really interesting, because when I was 19, one of my first jobs was working at a newspaper. Before I became a newspaper reporter, I actually sold advertising over telesales. And that was exactly how we ran that department, that every time you made a sale, you had to stand up and you had to wave your yellow bit of paper with your sale order on. And you walked over to the whiteboard and you crossed off whatever the figure was and you marked what the new figure was to hit the target. And I actually, for someone who I think really enjoyed telesales as such, but I quite enjoyed the buzz of doing that. But I see now, from what you're saying, is there's a psychological impact there that you're focusing the team of people whose job it is to sell on what it is that they need to do on the performance. Does that work in every MSP or would that only work in larger MSPs? Paul Lloyd: It will work in any MSP where they're prepared to accept, to some extent, I'll say target. I mean target with a small T. Let's keep the numbers round so you can work them in your head, if we said that this coming month our renewals business is a hundred grand and we set ourselves a target of £30,000 worth of new business, we simply bring that number to the fore, then we'll look to how we're going to do that. So what makes those numbers up? What do we need to do? How many deals? Whatever it happens to be. Put that on a board on the wall, where all the techies can see it, the administrators can see it, and they will get involved and they will see what's going on. And when you win an order. Now, the days of standing up and ringing a bell have probably long since gone, but if you can stand up and you've done your bit for the company, it starts to get everybody thinking about the most important thing in the business is money in the bank at the end of the month. Paul Lloyd: Whether or not they hit 97, 96, 98% of customer calls is irrelevant if they've got no money in the bank. You can see wherever you look, it's just sales focused, sales oriented, everything we do, every money we spend how's that going to help us sell more? Not necessarily deliver a better service because the majority of the MSPs deliver a more than adequate service. How is this going to help us in our sales story with new customers? Put the number on the wall. And then you might have a techie on the help desk who's talking to a client, on the board, on the wall, there's an order or a deal that says it's due in. And he could quite honestly say, "I can see that we've got some outstanding opportunity with you. How's that going? Have you had any thoughts?" Everybody's involved, everybody's thinking about it. Everybody understands the most important thing in your business is the number. Paul Green: But do techs actually act like that, Paul? Because in my experience, they're not particularly motivated to... Not all of them, but most aren't particularly motivated to sell more to existing clients. They just want to answer the phone, deal with the problem, help the client, but not necessarily sell them something. Paul Lloyd: Most technical people are in the business, but they're not going to necessarily get involved. But one or two might, and that's one or two more than you've got if you're not doing it. But the MD, or whoever the seller is, if they've got the numbers on the wall, everybody starts to take a little bit of ownership. And it becomes evident and it's psychological. It's everybody getting involved. Simplistically, it's the answer. I mean there's a fair bit that sits behind that then in terms of managing a pipeline and all those sorts of things, which lead to the point of which you're expecting the orders and things in this month. Genuinely, it is no more complicated and it doesn't matter. You can do it in almost any business. I mean if you go to SCC where I grew up, I used to get a phone call at lunchtime every day, "What's the orders in? What have we invoiced? And how much have we got outstanding?". Paul Lloyd: So for my part of the business, I was expected to know those three numbers. I've stood up in a room full of 45 MSPs and asked them how many of them can tell me today what they've invoiced, what are their orders in and how much is outstanding? And not a single one of them can. And those are the fundamentals of building your business. If you don't know those numbers, then you're not driving the business, you're just swimming about with it. Paul Green: Or letting the business drive you is worse. Now Paul, you must have hired and fired hundreds of field sales and telesales people over the years. Now, one of the most common complaints I hear from MSPs who have employed a salesperson is they don't really know how to manage that person. They don't really know how to get them doing the right levels of activity and know whether or not they're being mugged or not by that salesperson. What would you say to someone in that position? Paul Lloyd: Interestingly, I think I've only ever fired three. What they have to understand, and there's a difficulty in psychology and experience. There's a lot of journey salespeople around who can sell themselves well at interview, not withstanding all of that. Once they're on board, I would give them a list of 300ish companies that I want to deal with. We know that they're the right size, they're in the right market. We know that we've got the right products. So there's a piece of work to be done there. And their job is to go out and work with those people. Now, there has to be a constant review. It's not micromanagement, which is the pushback that I regularly get. It's helping and supporting somebody to be successful. So whether it's once a week, you sit down, where have you been? What have you been doing? How are we getting on with this? You said this deal was going to close here, work through the process and just simply support them and help them. Paul Lloyd: And in some respects, take no... The difficulty for them, and I can appreciate it, is that if they haven't got the experience to actually contain them. But nevertheless, if there's a clear strategy, a clear message, a clear understanding of where they've got to go and do it, there is no argument. They're not going to send them off looking for their own prospects and they'll end up with their auntie's next door neighbour's friend's brother who wants to buy a laptop. You know who the customers are that you want to sell to. They may well be local businesses. They're going to be businesses with 10 to 50 seats. I don't know, let's say in the creative market. Get a list of them and send a sales person to talk to all of those and find out what opportunities there are when their contracts are coming up for renewal, and actually working with it and build a relationship and building brand awareness as much as anything else within those accounts that they're working with. Paul Lloyd: Don't just take them on and let them free. There's very few, probably the top 5% of salespeople, if you took them on, gave them a desk and a chair, would go out and be able to do target for you, because they're driven and that's what they want to do. You've got to spoon-feed them and then manage them tightly. That's the hardest part, because that can be quite difficult, just from a pure managing an individual perspective. If you're running a business that's turning over a million pounds with half a dozen engineers, I'm not sure that managing half a dozen engineers is easier than managing the odd one or two salespeople. Or alternative, you get somebody to help you that can do it, I guess. But when it comes down to it, most salespeople want to do a good job. You've really got to give them the tools, give them the weapons and point them in the right direction and then monitor them, support them, help them, getting involved with what they're doing so that they're not on their own. Paul Lloyd: Nobody's going to give you their life blood of their company, which is what you're asking for, without meeting the MD. So go out to meetings with them, go out and meet clients with them. When it comes down to it, they're employees, they're a resource. It's not fashionable, but they really need to do in the first instance what they're asked with a capital A, or told with a small T. Paul Green: Paul, thank you. How can we find out more about you and get in touch? Paul Lloyd: So I'm all over LinkedIn. If you put Paul Lloyd into LinkedIn, I'd like to think I'm the first one that comes up. Or alternatively, my email address is paul@sellerly, so that's S-E-L-L-E-R-L-Y, .co.uk. And the website is sellerly.co.uk. Anything you need to know around the selling piece, I'm always happy to take a phone call. And if I'm too busy, I can't do it. And if I've got time, I will always talk to people because I want the sales career to be seen as a profession more and more. I mean all too often, certainly in the UK, sales is the job that you get when you can't get a proper job. And I want it to be seen as an honourable profession to get involved in and to do that, then we've got to become a lot more polished. And if I can help people with that, then that's my quest. My daughter works in sales and I don't therefore want it to be a dirty word. I'd like her to be proud of that fact, although she does earn a lot of money. So I guess she's proud of that. Voiceover: Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast. This week's recommended book. James Lett: Hi there. My name's James Lett. I work with Paul on the marketing edge service, creating content and providing support to help members maximise their membership. And the book I'd recommend is Dotcom Secrets by Russell Brunson. I also thought when it was recommended to me that it would be completely irrelevant if I'm not thinking of setting up an e-commerce business. But how wrong was I. While some of the examples in it are quite hard selly, it's a perfect read for anyone in or starting a business and interested in how to entice more customers and take them on a journey up a ladder and through a funnel. And all that jargon is explained by the way. I've already been able to use some of the learnings in advising my sister-in-law on how to improve her cat sitting business. And I hope it helps you as well. Voiceover: How to contribute to the show. Paul Green: I want to get your feedback on the podcast, please. What do you think of the show? Happy or sad? Good or bad? Let me know. You can email me, email@example.com. It's really me at the end. And I will really reply to every single email that I get. firstname.lastname@example.org. Voiceover: Coming up next week. Pete Matheson: Yes, there are channels with millions of views and millions of subscribers. But actually for you, when you're running a business, none of that really matters. Paul Green: That's Pete Matheson. He's a former MSP owner. And before selling his MSP in March this year, he was using YouTube really extensively to generate new clients for it. On next week's show, he's going to be here telling you how you can use YouTube the easy way to create videos to promote your MSP. We're also going to be talking about how to get your technicians to do training, even when they hate doing training. It's a very sneaky method actually. We've got a great book suggestion from my friend, Ed Rivis. It's a great book for leadership, and we're going to be talking about how to find a great writer on Fiverr, Upwork or PeoplePerHour. There are thousands of writers out there, but how do you sort out the decent ones from the nonsense without wasting too much time? I've got a very simple method for you, and I'll tell you about it next week. See you then. Voiceover: Made in the UK for MSPs around the world. Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast.