Posts Tagged ‘Managed Services’

Managed Services Providers… Get Off Your Duff & Implement MORE!

Posted On January 13th, 2010

New Years Resolution #7:  Get your online “presence” fixed

Okay, I DON’T like the word “presence” because it sounds like a meaningless fifty-cent word, but I don’t have a better one (yet) to describe all the elements that fall under your online marketing strategy.  Even though I’ve said over and over again how important it is to have a web site that sells, far too many members are still struggling with this and have web sites that look like a 12 year old designed them—not to mention the broken links and graphics. I’m not going to launch into a lesson here on web marketing because I’ve more than covered the basics in the Toolkit session on the subject, but I will say this: it used to be “okay” for a company to have a good web site…now it’s becoming critical.  I’m hearing from more members on how their web site is not only generating a significant portion of their new customers, but for those who DON’T have it figured out, how their LACK of a good web site, blog, Facebook page, etc. is actually hurting sales. Why? Because (like it or not) clients think that because you are a “technology” company, you should have a great web site, even though I know the two are entirely different specializations. Read full article and comment →

Wow, Another Year Over…

Posted On December 27th, 2009

..and a fresh, new exciting one about to begin. Although I think it’s a bad idea to only ―check in on how you are doing once a year in January, I can’t help but be a bit more reflective at the end of the year looking back over the events that have happened and asking myself three things:

  • What did we do RIGHT and want to do more of?
  • Where do we need to improve?
  • What mistakes did we make, what did we learn, and how are we going to use this information to improve next year?

This is a helpful exercise to conduct after every major event, client project, sales call, etc. As a team we do this as a practice after every event, and it’s incredibly valuable. And, as the owner of a business, I think we ought to do a deep dive every year to reflect back on these things. So, what do I think we did right? Several things–as reflected by our 30+% growth rate in a tough economy. For me, here are the biggest lessons I’ve learned:

1. Being willing to do what’s right instead of what’s easy. There aren’t many things in life that will put you in a ―damned if you do, damned if you don’t‖ situation more than running a business.  As entrepreneurs we’re pulled in many different directions and often have goals that conflict or compete with one another. Do you work late every day to turn around a sales slump and sacrifice some of the time you would have invested in your family and health or do you put more focus on your family and health, and run the risk of not being able to make payroll, ending up with heaps of stress and anxiety over financial troubles? Tough call, and a good argument could be made for either side.

But you have to choose what’s right and best for the long haul and then follow through on your decision. This is why having a vision for your life and your business is so important; you need vision to be able to make the tough decisions. I firmly believe that trying to ride both camps gets you killed. Like the indecisive squirrel in the middle of the road – you get hit by traffic going both ways. Better to pick a side, stick with your decision and focus on muddling through the temporary problems and setbacks that will arise. Although I’m very much an ―and person rather than an ―or person, the reality is that running a business requires sacrifice. Sometimes short term, sometimes long term; but thinking you can do it ALL, all the time is just not realistic.

Over this year I’ve had to make several tough calls that I knew weren’t going to put me on the ―most popular list. Looking back, perhaps you’ve been in the same boat. But I also knew that letting things continue on their current course of action would end up causing even more strife and problems, and would not be in line with our ultimate vision and core values. Yes, there were risks and costs tied to the actions and decisions made, and some short-term losses. But looking back, my only regret is that I didn’t make those decisions sooner. My procrastination only made things worse and now more than ever I believe that long-term damage from comfortable inaction is far worse than decisive action.

2. The ability to hire, retain and grow true “A” players is crucial. While this has always been a no-brainer, I can honestly say that I understand it more than ever today and I will be putting a huge focus on this area in 2010 as we continue to grow at a fast clip and continue to strive towards our BHAGs (big, hairy, audacious goals). Nothing is more painful, more exhausting and more damaging than having the wrong people on your team. In meetings with clients, the one topic that is a constant area of problems, gripes, disappointments and trouble are those around employees. And while Michael Gerber’s E-Myth is the utopian dream for any entrepreneur (that is, having a business so well documented and systematized that any half-whit can run it), the reality is that one bad employee can quickly undo any system or process no matter how well documented.

But in addition to this, the BIGGEST lesson for me has been this: if you are trying to directly manage more than 3 or 4 people, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Earlier this year, I discovered I was a genius with helpers – and I think all small businesses start that way. But at some point you will need to start developing leaders within your organization; people who understand the company’s mission, vision and goals, and who can get results, make good decisions and solve problems on their own. I have those people in place now and it is making a world of difference. Perhaps you are in the same place right now. If so, my advice to you is this: make finding, hiring, and growing the right people a major focus in your company, and never settle for good enough simply to fill an open seat, no matter how desperate the situation. Also, constantly look for great people–always be hiring. The worse time to look for a new employee is when you desperately need someone.

3. Develop immunity to criticism. It’s been said that the higher you climb in life, the more your butt hangs out (I forget who originally said that, so sorry I can’t give credit where credit is due). And if you read the books of highly successful people, one of the common themes is this: develop thick skin. But how do you determine the difference between fair criticism and unfair attacks?

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Scariest New Trend: Give Me, Give ME, GIVE ME!!!

Posted On September 12th, 2009

Have you seen the latest product called P.B. Slices? It’s peanut butter formed into pre-packaged slices like cheese so you don’t have to spread it onto bread. I think it was P.T. Barnum who said that no man will go broke banking on the laziness of the average man. This is just a micro example of a trend in America for easier, do-it-for- me products and services. Are we all becoming so lazy that we can’t spread peanut butter onto a slice of bread? Unfortunately, yes. However, there is a money-making lesson in this trend: people are willing to pay handsomely for done-for-them services like never before. Dry cleaning picked-up and dropped-off at your door. Groceries ordered online, delivered, and stocked in your refrigerator. Pre- decorated Christmas trees. Then there’s the proliferation of “instant” magic pills that promise to grow your hair, make you thin, cure your bad mood, stop your bad habits, and er, a few other things with little or no effort on your behalf. I believe this trend is working in your favor when it comes to selling managed services. It is a convenience sale: pay one, fixed, monthly rate and we take care of it all.

How To Score Appointments And Sales With Bigger Clients

Posted On August 21st, 2009

7 Fundamentals To Successfully Sell To Bigger Accounts

  1. Approach prospects with CONFIDENCE. There is nothing more detrimental to the sales process than appearing needy, nervous or insecure.
  2. Start at the TOP.
  3. Never forget that you are dealing with PEOPLE and that EMOTIONS are driving their decisions regardless of how big or small the organization. The key drivers are:
    • Fear
    • Ego and Competitiveness (desire to be #1)
    • Wanting to feel important; make smart decisions
    • Avoiding embarrassment
    • Greed, turf protection and the desire for self-preservation
  1. Have a clear, strong, and quantifiable VALUE PROPOSITION that is meaningful to a C-Level decisionmaker.
    • Position yourself as a business consultant not a “techie”
    • Know what the NET benefits are if a client engages with you
    • Know why a prospect should choose YOU over any and every other option (USP or key differentiators)
  1. Never limit your touch point to ONLY ONE PERSON. Almost ALL decisions in larger companies are made by a group of people.
  2. RESEARCH your prospects carefully to know:
  • Who their customers are and what they do for them
  • Who the potential decisionmakers and influencers are
  • What industry trends are affecting them
  • Who their competitors are
  • What significant changes or initiatives are going on
  • What’s HOT in their industry right now
  • What’s controversial in their industry right now
  1. Remember, not everyone will see value in what you do or be ready to engage with you right away; the worst they can say is NO.

3 Execution Steps:

Step 1: Define Your Value Proposition And Key Differentiators Read full article and comment →

Marketing Your Managed Services Business

Posted On August 15th, 2009

 

 

An Easy To Implement Marketing Strategy That Will Help You Close Large IT Managed Services Sales, Faster And Easier
By: Robin Robins, Author of the Managed Services Marketing Blueprint
Are you a managed services provider that wants to land larger contracts? Do you lose sales because clients think your managed IT services are “too much money” or because of sticker shock?

Support Agreements For Managed IT Services Business

Posted On August 11th, 2009

By Robin Robins – Managed IT Services Marketing Expert

Have you ever experienced a few months of absolute chaos where every client and their uncle is calling you with a computer crisis that needs to be fixed immediately, only to be followed by a few months of complete famine where nobody calls and you start worrying as to whether or not you are going to keep the lights on?

For the vast majority of small VARs and computer consultants, this is an all too true reality of their business. Unfortunately, neither of these scenarios are beneficial to you. During the breakneck months, you run the risk of over extending yourself and losing customers because you simply could not respond fast enough to their requests. Then there is the burn out and increased number of mistakes that are bound to happen when you’re working long, exhausting hours. Obviously the famine months are no better because you still have that monthly “nut” to crack. This is the bare-bones minimum of cash you need to pay the rent and keep the lights on before you get to keep a dime for yourself.

Unfortunately, you are the last guy to get paid and there are only so many months you can float on a credit card before the debts (and your anxiety levels) start to climb – fast. Read full article and comment →

Mastermind Principle Grows Managed IT Services Businesses

Posted On August 6th, 2009

“At a time when many are stressed about how they are going to survive, retreating, and freaking out about their financial situation, I’ve been able to personally coach a small group of my managed it services clients to secure an average increase of 209% in bottom line profits, a 45.2% increase in NEW clients and 50.6% increase in managed it services. So what are they doing differently? (Not just from a marketing standpoint – but a philosophy and strategy standpoint?)

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