“Oh $h!t, What Were We Thinking?”
Running our business for 10 years, we survived without any marketing. Being strictly word-of-mouth, we were more than happy to take any new client that came along. One day it finally hit us that our business plan of “winging it” only produced sporadic and slow growth.
So, we did what so many other MSPs have done when business slowed. We bought the Toolkit, immediately opened it, glanced at the material and quickly closed it. In our case, we did put the Toolkit to good use…as a FOOTREST under the desk.
While the Toolkit remained closed, our minds were open to change. So, we went to Robin’s Cyber Security Roadshow. After being thoroughly impressed with everything we were hearing, we were confidently ready to join Accelerators Club. Well, “confidently” might be exaggerating a bit, because we were wondering how we would justify the costs, where we would find the extra time to finally start marketing and questioning which one of us would take charge to get the work done.
We felt like we were on the TV show Celebrity Apprentice, taking our final walk to the boardroom. Instantly, we started second-guessing, and almost simultaneously said, “Oh $h!t! What were we thinking?” Somehow we were going to suddenly invest in something we knew so little about – marketing. But we pushed the self-doubt demons aside and went for it!
Getting Super-Organized And Laser-Focused For 12 Weeks Straight
Before we knew it, we were in Franklin, Tennessee, for Robin’s Rapid Implementation Workshop. We quickly came to the realization that we had a TON of work before us. But we took the advice that we often give our children: “Suck it up and deal with it!” Yes, it was one hell of a ride, but definitely a ride worth taking.
Along the way, we documented our journey, including the successes and some failures. By going all in and leaving our reservations behind, we have seen positive results in EVERY part of our business because of our new commitment to marketing. In a mere 12 weeks, while still fully engaged in the daily operations of our business, we have accomplished a ton of marketing, including running e-mail and direct mail campaigns, conducting quarterly business reviews, defining our target market, creating and mailing our print newsletter, building our Shock-And-Awe box, improving our website, implementing Infusionsoft and so much more!
4 Lessons We Learned That Pushed Us To Succeed
Lesson #1: Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
“Long-term consistency trumps short-term intensity.” – Bruce Lee
When we were going through the Rapid Implementation Program, we tried to implement EVERYTHING at once. We were learning Infusionsoft, attending compliance training, working through our weekly assignments and attending the accountability calls. We were OVERWHELMED! So, we backpedaled and took things a bit slower. Infusionsoft is a good example. By working on their schedule and better understanding the tools and processes, we have seen better results.
Lesson #2: You Are Not In This Alone
“Ask for help. Not because you are weak. But because you want to remain strong.” – Les Brown
With the Technology Marketing Toolkit team and thousands of members at your disposal, you should never feel STUCK and try to solve a problem yourself. Through accountability meetings, we quickly learned just how much knowledge our peers had about how to better market our business. Instead of struggling in silence, we throw out a question and always get a solid solution. For example, when we first targeted the dental vertical, one of our peers provided lots of insight into how to both market and talk to dental professionals. Another peer provided proven marketing materials to promote VoIP solutions.
Lesson #3: Take Action No Matter How Small
“Just Do It.” – Nike
We initially started with a very small list. We questioned if it was even worth sending our marketing out to that tiny list, but we did anyway. We quickly learned that quality trumps quantity. Don’t second-guess. Sending out the marketing generates noise and builds relationships.
Lesson #4: Your Problems Are NOT Unique To You
“Everyone has problems, and learning to share them is essential.” – Carly Simon
As an MSP from a tiny town in Vermont, we figured we faced unique issues. Difficulty hiring the right-fit employees. Problems in attracting new clients. Yes, we assumed that we were the only two struggling and everyone else magically had their stuff together. Turns out, the majority of TMT members are in smaller markets just like us. It’s also comforting knowing most everyone shares the same problems, worries and fears we face. That’s just another reason to lean on one another and work together to find solutions that have worked for others.
Keys To Building A Partnership In Life AND In Business
The more of Robin’s events we go to, we more we see husband-and-wife owners who run their MSPs as partners. For us, we learned there are two keys to keeping your marriage strong while also running your business smoothly.
Key #1 – Clearly define both of your roles. For us, Ray runs the business, and Tammy is responsible for the marketing. He handles the Infusionsoft side and helps get marketing campaigns set up while she puts together the newsletter, direct mail campaigns and the Shock-And-Awe boxes. By separating our roles, we are working together to build the business but not stepping on each other’s toes.
Key #2 – Constant clear communication. Communication is key. It keeps us both on the same page so there are no surprises when we are working. We tend to discuss business matters around the clock. Sure, it can be company overload at times, but it works for us!
Our Booklet Of Testimonials Sealed A $34,032 Managed Services Deal!
Prior to the Rapid Implementation Workshop, we had been working to sign on a new prospect but hadn’t quite sealed the deal. Our talks were still in progress, so it was a prime opportunity to try out our booklet of customer testimonials.
By simply reviewing praise from our satisfied clients, this prospect went from sitting on the fence to sitting in front of us signing a deal! They suddenly had the confidence needed to commit to us, and they signed on for an immediate project that added $5,233.02 in project revenue and a managed services agreement worth $34,032. What an adrenaline rush! Your current clients hold a lot of weight to bring in future business.
Opportunities To Upsell Break/Fix Clients To Managed Services Contracts
While sitting in Robin’s classroom in Tennessee, we sent off several e-mails requesting quarterly business reviews with our clients. During our first in-person QBR, we reviewed a client’s existing level of engagement with our company. By reviewing their current services and suggesting additional services to enhance their IT security, this long-standing managed services client jumped from $5,603 per month to $12,194 in monthly recurring revenue! YES!!! That’s an annual increase of $79,092!
After the first QBR meeting, our confidence swelled. We met with several other existing clients and moved them from break/fix or an extremely low monthly recurring revenue (MRR) contract to a more beneficial and lucrative monthly managed services agreement. We moved four clients into MRR contracts that will total $213,336 over the life of the contract.
84.6% Success Rate In Upselling Clients To Greater Contracts
Since we arrived back from the Rapid Implementation Workshop, we have physically sat down in front of 13 clients to conduct QBRs. Eleven of those meetings produced additional revenue for us. Fun fact: we haven’t even made it all the way through our first round of QBRs yet, and here is the $77,100 in new project work we have arranged so far:
Finally Nailing Down Our Target Market
While many of our Rapid Implementation peers are located in a big city, that’s not us. We are based in a small town in Vermont, with our nearest populous city three hours away in Boston. We thought we had our target market defined until we discussed it during one of our weekly accountability sessions where one of Robin’s coaches suggested we look at our market from a geographic standpoint. Once we grasped that concept, we were able to better nail down our target market.
Our Testimonials Became The Spark We Needed To Create A Bold USP
Before Robin’s marketing, we had never really given any thought to why clients would consider us before our competitors. That lack of focus has certainly cost us deals in the past. But when it was time to create our unique selling proposition (USP), it felt odd coming up with bold statements about All-Access Infotech, LLC, when we never publicly touted any of our successes.
Our client testimonials helped us to clearly realize how our services, team and entire organization do shine in our clients’ eyes. We were able to write our own USP tribute and weren’t afraid to put it in bold print because our clients did speak highly of us, and we now had the proof to support our claims!
12 Weeks Of Massive Marketing!
We can only imagine what would have been accomplished over the past four years had we used the Toolkit for marketing purposes instead of as a footrest! In a mere 12 weeks, we have accomplished the following:
- Created “9 Reasons Why Customers Should Choose All-Access Infotech”
- Mailed out our Monthly Print Newsletter
- Put together our Shock-And-Awe box and sent them out before every sales meeting
- Created a Thank-You Box for new clients who signed on with us
- Sent out a Referral Campaign to our existing clients
- Worked with Pronto to transition our website to a “Robinized” website
- Created a 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed Certificate
- Sponsored an art exhibition at the local gallery and art center
- Joined a referral group
- And so much more!
“This Marketing Stuff Really Works!”
As the saying goes, “Go big or go home,” so we opted to “Go BIG” because our efforts were already producing amazing results. Even our employees are saying, “This marketing stuff really works!”
Before Robin, 85% of Ray’s time was spent on the tech side. Today, Ray is doing very little tech work. We are both looking at the business as more of a sales and marketing company than an IT services business.
We have grown exponentially by going through this whole experience. We now see potential in every engagement we have with prospects and clients, and we see firsthand the value that the marketing adds. It’s bizarre to think we had never given a moment of thought to marketing our company and now we think of marketing our company at every moment. Our marketing will always be a work in progress, but it’s always the progress that we see that keeps us working!