For 21 Years, I Didn’t Really Want To Grow
I could sum up my first 21 years in business in just a few words … we had no ambition to grow. I was comfortable with my little business here in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, and although some would call us stagnant, my real hope each year was that we would achieve the same level of revenues as last year. I guess you would probably say we didn’t have very lofty goals. The revenue we achieved every year was my security blanket… why would I want to change it?
MRR… The Revenue That Keeps On Giving
After purchasing the Toolkit to see how it could help my business, I quickly learned about MRR and how it could make hitting my number even easier every year. So, I set about to convert existing customers where we were patching servers for an hourly rate to a full managed service for monthly recurring revenue. On top of that, I began to close a handful of real MRR customers that we had taken from lead to close. I quickly found out that MRR was the key to my success – it’s the revenue that keeps giving. By the beginning of last year, we had raised our MRR from $0 per month to $10,141 per month. A great start indeed!
A Complete 180-Degree Mind Shift – I Was Now Ready To Grow
During my first Producers Club meeting a year and a half ago in Nashville, I sat with my Accountability Group and worked on developing business goals along with one of the speakers (Andy Bailey). One of the key items during the workshop was to define my Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) … essentially, where I wanted the company to be in 10 to 15 years. I can honestly say, before that moment, I had never thought past 12 months from now, let alone 10 years from now! After careful discussion with my peers, I finally put pen to paper and set forth on the path of growing my small little MSP into a $10 million business within the next 10 years. This alone was an incredible step forward for my business … I wasn’t sure HOW I was going to get there, but I was willing to put on paper that this is where I’m headed.
This clearly meant I had to get MRR moving right away, and the way I was going to do this was through marketing. Beginning in January of last year, I defined my KPI goals on the Dashboard (like all good members do), with a target to double MRR that year.
To Achieve Our New Goals, I Had To Change My Role In The Business
To double our business in a single year, we had to make significant changes to our structure. This was not going to happen if I didn’t quickly remove myself from focusing on tech work 100% of the time. I immediately set about to hire a level 3 technician, which allowed my focus to shift to sales, marketing and working on the business instead of in the business. This one shift alone allowed me to attend two Producers Club meetings in person during the last 12 months – taking considerable days of travel to attend these events, as I’m flying to Nashville all the way from Australia. However, it is these meetings that continue to develop the skills and resources that we need to continue the growth of the business.
Over the past 15 months, we have taken a more consistent approach to marketing. In the past, it had been sporadic and had little or no plan. We now are very close to having a fully documented annual marketing plan with a minimum of two new client generating campaigns per quarter and several monthly touch points. We are now frequently outputting content to our leads and customers. I have found that recognizing our customers with appreciation gifts has been extremely successful, and it has now become normal routine. Since we were starting our efforts from a standstill, Robin was 100% right that our referral and upsell campaigns achieve better and quicker results for us than our direct response marketing efforts. These are people that know, like and trust us already! Our focus for the last year has been on driving more leads into the business. More leads will generally result in more appointments and more customers. Over the last 12 months, we went from a nearly empty sales pipeline to now having 26 leads that we’re working at different stages in the sales process! It’s amazing what the focus of my time and energy toward sales and marketing has done for our business.
All in all, we have done a ton of campaigns over the last 15 months, including a Cyber Security Threat E-mail , multiple Band Aid sales letter campaigns ($71,723 in revenue generated!), the Bad Date campaign, the Sitting Duck campaign, a one-page introduction letter to CEOs of non-profits, Robin’s famous 9-word e-mail, Robin’s testimonial request e-mail, print newsletters to our clients and a house list of approximately 100 unconverted leads, e-mail newsletters, monthly LinkedIn articles, monthly blog posts and Christmas gifts and cards, and we created our Online Shock-And-Awe and revamped and Robinized our website.
Out of all of these campaigns, I would like to highlight for you three simple but highly effective campaigns that anyone should run today in their business:
This Simple Upsell Campaign Generated $23,073 In New Business
Based on Robin’s advice, we started out with an upsell campaign to existing clients. In preparation for this campaign, we identified a matrix of possible upsell product opportunities that some or all of our customers did not currently utilize. These ranged from the latest endpoint protection through to Office 365. Based on this analysis, we focused on selling firewalls to all customers who either did not have one or had a significantly outdated device. We sent an e-mail to these customers and then called to follow up on anyone who hadn’t responded via e-mail. In the first run of this campaign, we generated $13,014, and in a second run of the same campaign, we generated $10,059. All in all, we sent a mere 24 e-mails during this campaign and generated 12 sales. And since we purchased 12 firewalls from our vendor, Sophos, all at one time, we were able to increase our margins through better pricing! In some instances, this doubled the gross profit on the product.
We Netted $4,154 Of New MRR From This Referral Campaign
Using Robin’s referral request campaign , I successfully closed several new monthly recurring revenue clients. I started out by identifying a group of specific customers who I felt had the ability to refer potential target profile customers. One by one, I crafted the simple request e-mail noted above and sent it out to each of them. In most instances, the people who referred us called me to advise of the referral and brief me on the specifics of their lead. Based on this information, I would either follow up via a phone call or in one instance the referral called me before we had even had an opportunity to call them. As outlined in Robin’s campaign, an appropriate gift was provided to the referral partner irrespective of whether or not the referral purchased. As of the time that I’m writing you, this campaign has successfully netted us $4,154 of additional monthly recurring revenue PLUS additional project work. There are further proposals out that are expected to close soon. All this from a simple e-mail to our best clients!
The QBR Strategy That Has Generated $124,953 In Revenue Over The Past 6 Months
About six months ago, at Robin’s suggestion, we started to formalize the regular review process with existing customers. In some instances, this includes a complete technology review outlining a one- to three-year plan to upgrade hardware, leverage off cloud infrastructure and provide mobility into their businesses. We have completed this review using the tools provided by Network Detective and resources from the Dashboard to build up a comprehensive report that is presented in a face-to-face presentation with our clients. To engage the customer in the review, we send an e-mail outlining the need/want to hold a review meeting. Within this review request e-mail there is a link to my calendar for them to select their own appropriate time. Once an annual review is completed, we deliver a gift in the form of a chocolate bouquet in celebration of working with us over the last 12 months. The implementation of this strategy has already secured an additional $124,953 in revenue and has allowed us to line up projected revenue (both projects and MRR) well into the next three years!
My Entire Outlook On My Business Has Changed
After being stagnant in our business for nearly 21 years, with very little growth, we grew top-line revenues by 30% in each of the last two years and MRR by 61% over the past 12 months. And even better, we made significant inroads to a better and more sustainable cash flow to fund our growth. This allows us to make decisions on staffing, assets and resources before we’re desperate. It also provides the business with certainty and gives me the ability to get away from the office to attend Producers Club meetings and continue volunteering in the local community as the College Council President, being involved in a Shark Tank-type program for business studies students and mentoring a student on taking his smartphone app business to market.
My BHAG is still a long way out and hard to even fathom at times, but I now firmly believe we are on a path to being able to deliver on this over time. We will continue to learn from the Robin Robins program and further develop our marketing approach, ensuring it is consistent and targeted. This will enable us to continue to bring in new clients and more revenue on a regular basis.