Episode 103: Can your MSP use Messenger to generate leads?

Episode 103: Can your MSP use Messenger to generate leads?

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Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 103: Can your MSP use Messenger to generate leads?
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In this week’s episode

  • Can Mr Zuckerberg actually help MSPs grow? More and more businesses are using Facebook Messenger to talk to potential customers. And this week Paul explores the opportunities for MSPs
  • Also on the show this week, we look at a better way than appraisals to improve your staff’s performance
  • Plus, do you find it hard to stop talking tech with potential clients? This week’s featured guest explains why MSPs should leave the tech at the door and just have better business conversations

Featured guest

Adam Walter is this week's featured guest on Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast

Thank you to Adam Walter from Managed Services Platform for joining Paul to talk about how to have more effective non-technical conversations with clients and prospects.

Adam grew up in western Nebraska. When his parents bought a home computer in the 80s, this cemented his technical path and he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. A few years later Adam received an opportunity to work for a large company as a strategic technical lead. While working here Adam was able to shine by pulling many teams together to solve issues in high pressure situations. This is where he began shifting his career towards business and strategy.

Connect with Adam on LinkedIn.

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 the podcast. Here’s what we got coming up for you this week.

Adam Walter:
Rather than just presenting a bunch of data to them, you’re actually saying, how can I help you grow using this skillset that I have?

Paul Green:
I’m also going to tell you about a free resource to help you with your MSPs marketing. In fact, it’s a way that you can access my brain on a regular basis. Plus, we’ll be looking at a better way to improve the performance of your team. Forget appraisals, no one likes appraisals, not bosses, nor staff, there’s a much better way, and we’ll be looking at it later on in the show.

Voiceover:
Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.

Paul Green:
It’s not very often that someone asks me a question and I don’t immediately have an answer, certainly a marketing or business growth question anyway, but the question that was asked of me was, can I use Messenger to generate leads? Messenger, of course, being baked into Facebook, in fact, Messenger started out probably about 10 years ago or more now as just Facebook’s chat facility. But over a number of years, Facebook has made it a bigger, much bigger thing and a primary way of communicating. In fact, I’ve just looked at some stats and apparently there are over 2 billion users of Facebook this year, and it’s not just used for people to message each other, it is actually already used by businesses. In fact, it’s believed there are more than 20 billion messages exchanged between businesses and normal people every single month on Messenger. And of course, you can put bots onto Messenger as well.

Paul Green:
So the more I looked into this, the more I thought, maybe there’s something in this, I’m not overly a hundred percent convinced that Messenger would be a primary marketing tool for an MSP, but then you see stats such as Messenger marketing can lead to a 70% better open rate than email marketing. So yeah, I think there are some opportunities for your MSP on Messenger. Here’s two or three of them from what I’ve researched, the first of them is actually to use Messenger to power, live chat on your website. So live chat on your website as a tool is definitely something that you want to consider because it’s how people want to communicate these days. Now, there is a big downside of live chat and the downside is that they probably want to have a conversation at 10 o’clock on Friday night when you would rather have a beer and a pizza. So you’ve got to think through who is going to answer the chats if it happens at 10 o’clock at night, do you outsource it to another company or do you shut your live chat down outside office hours?

Paul Green:
But the principle of live chat is very sound oh, there is one other big downside of live chat, you got to make sure that your actual users, the people you’re supporting don’t use live chat to try and log support issues. And trust me, they will do that unless you absolutely stop them every single time. But live chat is a great tool for engagement, engagement is exactly what we want, people buy when they’re ready to buy and if they’re ready to have a conversation at 10:00 PM on a Friday night, because they’ve had a frustrating day with their incumbent MSP, hey, let’s have that conversation. So what makes Messenger a good live chat agent? Primarily because assuming they are already logged into Facebook, and if you’ve ever tried to log out of Facebook, it’s very hard. If they’re already using Facebook, when they come onto your website and there is the Messenger chat facility, it doesn’t ask them for their name, their email address, anything like that, they can just start chatting with you via Messenger. And of course, you have the ability to message them back.

Paul Green:
Once someone has messaged you once, is that right? Messaged you, messaged you, I don’t know how you say it. Let’s go with messaged, once someone has messaged you via Messenger, you can message them again, message. Oh, it’s very confusing isn’t it? You can message them again in the future and you know you’re going to reach them via Facebook. Of course, if they just went into a normal chat, they could put in mickey@mouse.com and you’ve got no way of really reaching them in the future. At least if they use Messenger chat, it’s real, it’s their real Facebook account. So live chat is something you can do, what might be interesting is to integrate it with a chat bot. There are all sorts of services out there, I don’t have one to recommend go and Google it, services that will set up a chat bot in Messenger for you. So this might be the answer to the 10:00 PM person asking for information.

Paul Green:
If you can anticipate roughly what their questions could be, you can set up all sorts of decision trees, that I’ve done this, I remember doing this a couple of years ago with our website, can’t remember now why I took it off, but it was quite clever technology. I think we just did a month’s trial on it and you could pretty much guess what people were going to ask and send them off down a decision tree and ultimately get to, they can press a button saying, “Hey, I’d like to speak to a human please,” which is great. So you’re very open, you can be open and say, it’s a chat bot. Let’s be honest chat bots are pretty routine these days, that might be a smart way to go. Someone who gets through the chat bot is more likely to be really ready to have a genuine proper conversation with you. You might not want to do that at 10 o’clock on Friday night, but at least you can have a chat and book a call with them on Monday morning.

Paul Green:
Another opportunity to use Messenger for your marketing is you can set up an option on Facebook ads for people to respond via Messenger. It’s called click to Messenger, so you put the Facebook ad in front of them, in the usual way and using Facebook advertising, which is relatively easy, but the call to action, instead of them clicking through and actually going through to your website, their call to action is actually having a chat with you on Messenger, which I think is a very smart thing to do because of course, instantly it’s becoming a one to one interaction. Now, I’m guessing you can link that up with the chat bot as well, all of marketing is about engagement these days, there’s so much digital noise around we’ve got to get people engaging. And I think this is a very smart way to do it, click to Messenger adverts.

Paul Green:
I’ve also found a plugin, it’s something called MobileMonkey, which is a whole series of different tools that you can use with Facebook and Messenger. And we’ll put a link to it in our show notes on the paulgreensmspmarketing.com website. But MobileMonkey has a great product called Comment Guard, so you can actually set up a Facebook post. And I’m assuming you can do this on a page as well as presumably in a group, I haven’t looked into it in great detail. But you can say in the post, “Hey, if you comment below, then it will start a Messenger conversation.” So you’re very open about it and you tell people what will happen, but it might be that you say to them, “Oh, do you want to talk about cyber security?” All right, you wouldn’t use those exact words because no one wants to talk about cyber security except people like us.

Paul Green:
But you might say to them, “Are you worried about ransomware? Are you worried about waking up one morning and all of your businesses, data has been stolen or has been locked away from you? If you are just comment below with word, yes, it will start a Messenger chat and let’s talk about how we can better protect your business.” And you might only get two people commenting on that, but hey, there’s two people who have started some kind of engagement with you, they’ve started a direct conversation. That’s pretty exciting. So that’s called Comment Guard and you’ll find that on MobileMonkey, not an endorsement, I literally found this with a Google search. I couldn’t believe it when I found it, I thought that’s a really cool tool. This is the thing, isn’t it? About modern technology, modern technology, I sound like an 80 year old. Modern technology, there’s so many cool things you can do, if you can imagine it, someone out there has already built it, which is just brilliant.

Paul Green:
I think the final route that you can use Messenger for marketing is just to message people. If you are connected to a whole bunch of people on Facebook, message them, Messenger is guaranteed a hundred percent delivery, it’s like messaging people on LinkedIn. People might not look at LinkedIn very often, but you can guarantee that your message is sat in their inbox, exactly the same with Messenger. Your message is sat in their Messenger inbox and I’m guessing they use Messenger or many people maybe, use Messenger a lot more than they would use the LinkedIn messaging. Because of course, Messenger is used by friends, it’s how friends can communicate with each other, particularly if they don’t have each other’s mobile phone numbers and can use WhatsApp. So I mean you could, for example, go and find a Facebook group of business owners in your town and you could go and join that Facebook group. And then you could friend request, you could attempt connections with all of the business owners in that group using your Facebook profile. And then once you are connected, I guess there’s nothing to stop you messaging those people via Messenger.

Paul Green:
I mean, this is essentially what we recommend you do in LinkedIn, you go and find groups of people that you want to be connected to, you connect to them and then you message them via LinkedIn messaging. This is exactly the same strategy, but it’s using Facebook’s tool set to do it. Would that work? I don’t know, it’s got to be worth a try, hasn’t it? I mean, what’s the worst thing that could happen? As long as you’re not too pushy in your messages, you’re just messaging people. In fact, you might even reach them in their downtime. One of the big advantages of Facebook is because virtually everyone uses it and it’s not actually everyone, but it feels like everyone, you can reach business owners in their downtime. It might be impossible to reach them at 11:30 AM on a Wednesday morning, but when they’re bored at a friend’s barbecue at 3:30 PM on a Sunday afternoon and they’re on Facebook and they see your advert and they click on it and they start a Messenger chat with you, that’s a great time.

Paul Green:
In fact, it’s an even better time because they have chosen to initiate that engagement, that is beautiful. Listen, if you do try this, I would love to know or if you’ve got any experience of using Messenger, I’m going to be completely honest with you, it’s not something I have any direct experience of and I want to build up that experience. So if you have done this, would you drop me an email and just let me know. You can me at hello@paulgreensmspmarketing.com.

Voiceover:
Here’s this week’s clever idea.

Paul Green:
Look, I’m going to say something and if you disagree with me, I promise I am not really intending to be offensive, I’m just giving my opinion on something and it’s okay for you and me to disagree. But this is the thing that might be contentious between us, if you enjoy appraisals, you are not normal. Yeah, so I’ve worked in the corporate world, I’ve been appraised as an employee and I’ve done the appraising as a manager and from both sides, oh my goodness, what a pain, what an utter pain, appraisals are. And you know what I mean by appraisals, I mean that formal process of sitting down with your staff, of going through a form and asking them to rank their performance in a whole different series of areas and you have a formal process you go through, appraisals are not a useful tool in my opinion, and it is only my opinion. Appraisals, I believe are a control mechanism used by big businesses so the board and the directors and the senior managers of that big business can relax, knowing that they’re doing all the fluffy people things that they’re supposed to be doing.

Paul Green:
They’re looking after their staff and making sure that they’re developing appraisals, everyone hates appraisals. As I say, if this isn’t you, you are pretty much the exception to the norm. I could be wrong on this, it’s just a gut feel. I’ve never met anyone who sits there and rubs their thighs and says, “Oh, I can’t wait to do appraisals. Oh, that’s coming up, that’s exciting.” No, no one enjoys them. And do you know what? I don’t believe that appraisals are a great tool for small businesses either, for businesses the size of yours and mine. There’s a better way of motivating your staff, of keeping in touch with your staff, of getting the most out of your staff, of making sure that they are maximising what they can do with their lives and with their performance. And there are three things that I recommend. Those are meetings, one to one and ongoing training.

Paul Green:
So when I talk about meetings, I mean bringing your people together and you’d probably have a series of different meetings, in fact, you’d want to get into a rhythm of meetings. You’d want to meet with your senior leadership team, your management team on a weekly basis. You might want to meet with your technicians on a daily basis, just have a 10 minute huddle every single day. In fact, you might have a huddle first thing in the morning and a huddle at the end of the day, like a ticket review, these kind of rhythmic meetings can be incredibly powerful when they have a purpose. When there’s no purpose to the meeting at all and no one really knows what it’s for, that’s when meetings go on too long and they can be hijacked and they become boring and people sit there and they just don’t want to be there.

Paul Green:
We’ve all sat in meetings we don’t want to be in, I believe that meetings with a very specific function that are 10, 15, 20 minutes longer, maybe a little bit longer if it’s your management team, those meetings can be incredibly powerful, they can have a very useful outcome. So meetings are the first of the three things. The second thing I recommend are one to ones. Now, one to ones is where someone sits down on a regular basis with every single member of your staff. When I say someone, it doesn’t necessarily have to be you, it could be a senior member of your team. I mean, if there’s only four or five of you in the business, it could probably, and should probably be you. But once you get past about seven, eight, nine, 10 people, it becomes a real pain in the backside to do all of those one to one. So then you might share, you might do five and someone else might do five for you, but there is a massive power to doing one-to-ones with each member of your team.

Paul Green:
And ideally you should try to do that on a monthly basis, in fact, as I’m recording this, I’m thinking I’ve got add to the habit of doing this with my team. You see, I’m not perfect at all, I made the same mistakes as all business owners do, we started a one-to-one program last year, I think, and it lasted about two months and fizzled out, so I’m going to make a note and get my one-to-ones going again because there is a power in one-to-ones. When someone sits down with mommy or daddy on a regular basis, they get so much more out of their work life. And you know who mommy or daddy is, don’t you? It’s you, you’re mommy or daddy to your team, even if they are older than you, because you are in an authority position.

Paul Green:
Everyone loves one on one time with mommy or daddy, actual children as well as your staff children, so give that to them. Do you know what? Even if it’s on a quarterly basis, I mean monthly would be ideal, but even if it’s just quarterly or six monthly or annually, if it comes to it, give them a little bit of your time, give them the chance to sit down with you. And there’s a very simple format, three very simple questions to ask them. What’s gone well? Is the first question, what’s not gone so well? Is second question, and what should you do differently? Is the third question. And that’s about setting out, if you like, the positives from your point of view and their point of view, the not so positives and then you actually turn it into an action item. And the temptation is with one to ones to tackle all the bad things in one meeting, those are never good meetings. If you’ve got lots of things that you need to tackle with a member of your team, then do regular one-to-ones.

Paul Green:
I mean, in the past, when I’ve had problem members of the team I’ve done weekly, in fact, one point I did even daily one-to-ones. I had a particularly troublesome member of the team and we had just 10 minutes every day. And you know what? It, more or less fixed that guy. I mean, he had to get fired in the end, but it more or less fixed him for a few months because it helped to address his performance issues and he could see where he was underperforming and actually do something about it, so that was beautiful. So we’ve got meetings, we’ve got one-to-ones and then the final one is training. Every single member of your team needs to do constant ongoing training. And there are lots of different ways of doing this, you might have a training budget, so you might say to each member of your team, and I don’t just mean technical by the way, I mean everyone. If you’ve got a marketing person, train them, if you’ve got anybody, everyone except the cleaner spend money on training them.

Paul Green:
And you might say to each member of your team, “Hey, you’ve got a budget, it’s a thousand this year for your training budget, you choose what it is you want to spend it on, so I will happily guide you and I’ll suggest some areas, but ultimately it’s down to you, you know which areas you are weakest at. So go find an external training course on that, whether it’s over video call or whether it’s in real life and go and sign up for that. Just run it by me first so I can be sure.” And the main reason you do that with techs is so that they don’t go and sign themselves up to some obscure technical training course that might help their employability in the future and their earning potential, it doesn’t necessarily help them with their skill set in your business now, it’s got to be something relevant to their job. But I would force each one of your team, every single one to go and spend money every year on training.

Paul Green:
Some professions have CPD, continuous professional development. If you are a veterinarian or a doctor, you cannot continue to practice unless you do your CPD every year and that should be exactly the same here. I mean, there’s lots and lots of training around, and I know a lot of your tech team do lots of training, but I also know there are technicians around who don’t do regular training, they’ve got a really bad attitude towards it. So let’s make it the culture of the business. Everyone does training on a regular basis, in fact, they have an entire budget to do it. These three things combined are so powerful they’re going to blow the very idea of appraisals completely out of the water.

Voiceover:
Pools blatant plug.

Paul Green:
I said earlier that everyone’s on Facebook, that’s the kind of saying you have to put an inverted comma, isn’t it? In speech marks. Everyone is on Facebook, well, many people are, are you on Facebook? If you are, there is an amazing free resource that you really should be taking advantage of to help you with your MSPs marketing and your business growth. It’s a Facebook group, it’s my Facebook group it’s called the MSP Marketing Facebook Group. Literally just go into your app and type in at the MSP Marketing, go to groups and you’ll see my lovely little face on that group. Now, this is a zone only for MSP so I’m so sorry if you are a vendor, we did have vendors in the early days, but we made a decision a couple of years ago for it to be a vendor free zone so that people can’t talk about their experiences with vendors, as much as they can talk about growing their business. So it is only and strictly for MSPs. And we’ve got around about 1300, 1400 MSPs in there.

Paul Green:
Now, I’m just flicking through the group right now to see what kind of things we’ve gotten here. So here’s a post I put on yesterday, what are your business goals for the final couple of months of the year? That was quite an interesting one. Someone here who is posting about a new tool that they’ve just bought. We’re talking here about Windows 11 and whether or not you want your clients upgrading to Windows 11. Here’s a post about jargon, internal jargon, there’s so much jargon in our world isn’t there? But we don’t want the clients, your end users to hear that jargon. There’s some other great posts here about recommendations for mobile device management. There’s about winning a growth consultancy. There’s so much, there’s absolutely loads of things in here. We typically have just two or three posts today. I’m in there every single day and I’m always there to answer any of your questions about MSP marketing or business growth. So if you’re not already a member, but you are on Facebook, go on, go and join it. MSP Marketing Facebook Group is free to join and I’ll see you in there.

Voiceover:
The big interview.

Adam Walter:
Hi, my name’s Adam Walter, I’m from Managed Services Platform, a tool that helps facilitate conversations between technical people and businesses so that you can get common ground in order to have more successful journeys together.

Paul Green:
And that’s exactly the subjects I want to talk to you about today, Adam, because it’s one of the things that really impresses me about Managed Services Platform as a tool for strategic reviews or quarterly business reviews and creating technology roadmaps. What you guys are really good at is helping techs because most MSPs are run by techs, you’re good at helping techs talk to ordinary people. Why do you think most techs struggle with that?

Adam Walter:
I think you hit up on it already, ordinary people, we as techs tend to think of ourselves as different. And to some extent we are different. I was an engineer, I was a data centre engineer, I was as nerdy as you get, I ended up about 15 years of my career there and there is a different mentality to IT people. And I cover that in a couple of our podcasts on Humanize IT where we talk about how IT people have things like the kinds of nerdiness that we have, whether it’s some of us are into some kind of video games. We are people who really like to geek out about certain areas like D&D or stuff like that. But we’re starting to see more normative people come into the IT world where it’s more sports centric or it’s more people with just regular interests that seem to be more mainstream.

Adam Walter:
And so connecting with people outside of IT is becoming a little easier as we inside of IT are starting to get a normalised group of people. But in the end it comes down to, do you understand what the person you’re talking to cares about? They may not think of D&D as normative, they may not think of playing video games to relax as being something that an average person would do. This person you’re talking to cares about, are they making their company money? Are they building a reputation with their clients? They care about that stuff, they really don’t care about the technology and what’s behind it, they care about the end results and how they’re dealing with people. And so we try to abstract all of that nerdiness that an IT person brings to the table and take all of that and put it into a conversation so that you’re talking to the business person rather than just presenting a bunch of data to them. You’re actually saying, “Hey, how can I help you grow using this skillset that I have?”

Adam Walter:
And in the past, IT people have made the mistake of, I have these really cool technology things, I can make your service faster, I can make your firewalls faster, you really need to have an IDs in place, you need to have all these modules in place and you can watch the moment in which a business person glazes over and they move into presentation mode. They’re going to sit back and they’re going to listen to you politely because that’s what you do, but the IT person is so lost in their nerdiness, in this little world that they’re living in, that they have stopped connecting with the person in front of them.

Paul Green:
I can so relate to that, so when I’m talking to the MSPs that I work closely with on peer groups, and sometimes they’ll start a very long in depth conversation about, oh, which PSA should we use or which RMM? And apparently, I have been spotted to literally glaze over and back off because to me, I’m not interested in PSAs and RMMs and all those kind of tools, but to them, they are, and this is the key thing isn’t it? When you’re completely immersed in a subject, it seems like the most fascinating subject to you and the problem is that other people are immersed in their own subjects. So the guy who runs a printing company, he geeks out about all the latest printing techniques and printing machines and bleed settings and all that kind of stuff. The guy who’s a dentist, he cares about the latest dental implants to replace missing teeth, so we all have our own version of this thing that we geek out. What do you recommend to MSPs as a practical way to remind yourself on a regular basis that your world is not their world?

Adam Walter:
Well, I think if you read XKCD at all, they made fun of this, most recently with geologists arguing about basic things that people understand. And it’s like, wait a minute? And it was just XKCD showcasing, as they usually do, nerds in their own little worlds like, oh, everybody understands that quarts is a blah, blah, blah, blah. He’s like, wait, what? And me as an IT guy, I like, I have no idea what they just said. How many times have I talked to people and they do the same thing like, yeah, you’re the smartest guy in the room and you don’t need to prove that, these business people are wicked smart. I promise you if you’ve been in a room with a CFO, you’re not the smartest person in the room. So what I tell people to prep themselves for this conversation is one, if you mention a firewall in this conversation, you lose. Two, if you can’t tell me what their business does and how they make money and differentiate themselves, you lose.

Adam Walter:
So I’m going to give you a little bit of an exclusive here, Managed Services Platform is actually launching a dashboard that with this particular purpose in mind, and one of the required fields for any engineer is they have to list the industry of the business they’re talking to, it’s a required field before you can let this dashboard pop up. The reason we do that is because so many times I’ve talked to an engineer that’s either been in my department or has been reporting to me and I say, “Hey, so why are you fixing this thing?” They’re like, “Well, it’s old.” “Okay. Who’s it for?” “Well, it’s for Sarah.” “Okay. What does Sarah do?” “Oh, she sits over in this corner of the office.” “Yeah. But what does she do?” “She’s in the finance department.” “Okay. But what does she do?” And you keep asking this question, it’s that five wise kind of thing. And eventually you get down to that they don’t know and if you can’t connect with a person that you’re doing the technical work for, how do you know you’re fixing it the right way?

Adam Walter:
So I have been known to challenge my end users or my end technicians with doing ride alongs or spending some time just on the other side of the table. Go spend some time with Sarah, just, “Hey, can I sit with you guys and shadow you for a couple hours?” And in understanding that, oh, Sarah’s the one who actually prints and signs your paychecks every week. And you just never knew that, oh, you could have made this better. And so without fail as an engineer, I have seen, or as a manager, I have seen engineers come back to me with, “I did this three hour shadowing of a person and I didn’t realise they are not using anything we’ve built in the past year. And so I would like to help them do more stuff so that they aren’t filling out time sheets by hand, that they aren’t doing all this stuff in this long drawn out process, they just didn’t know.” And the IT person may have built this beautiful system, but they didn’t connect with the business and so the business is running less efficiently than it could.

Adam Walter:
So some of the top things I recommend is, one stop talking about technology in meetings. Two, start talking about what are they doing?

Paul Green:
This is fascinating. Adam, have you read a book by Seth Godin called Purple Cow?

Adam Walter:
Purple Cow, no, but it sounds interesting.

Paul Green:
It is. It’s a great book. It’s a roundabout, probably about 15 years old and the basic concept of the Purple Cow is, you’re looking at a field full of cows, they’re all black and white, but there’s one that’s purple and white and that’s the one that’s going to stand out, that’s the one that you’re going to put your attention on. And how do you become a purple cow? It’s very much about having that kind of emotional connection with your customers, it’s a book that’s really written for consumer facing businesses rather than B2B businesses like ours, but it’s absolutely about getting inside what they really want and having that real connection with them. And you see big businesses attempting to do this all the time.

Paul Green:
I think what you’ve just talked about there is turning an MSP into a purple cow because you are talking about a very simple process of, hey, let’s actually sit with the people who use our technology, who we have to support and let’s see exactly what they’re doing. And I completely agree with you that it would be an utterly shocking piece of information for any engineer, for any technician to actually sit and do that. But the question is, has anyone ever done that? Would anyone ever do that?

Adam Walter:
Before I started running Managed Services Platform, I had this case study where I worked with schools. These schools were private schools, so they had private MSPs helping them out. And they said, “Hey, you know what? Things are just not going well, can you come in and help us?” And they knew that I had IT experience, they knew I was starting a business with being a VCIO and so I came in and I audited them. I audited them across the board, on their services, the risks, the architecture they were using and any strategic items they were doing with MSP. And so this particular school is spending about $1,500 a month to service around two to 300 students and $1,500 a month for 300 students. So I’ll let you have that sink in. Now I talked to them and I evaluated what their problems were. They’re having a hard time getting devices online, so they had all these iPads that been donated by a really nice donor, so they had like 40 iPads just sitting there, brand new that they just didn’t trust, they didn’t include them in their curriculum.

Adam Walter:
They wanted to go to Chromebooks, a one laptop per child, but the teachers didn’t want to spend all day trouble shooting them, because that’s what they had to do with the iPads. Why would it be any different? So this had been the norm for like six years. So I came in after evaluating and seeing what their real struggles were and coming down with, here’s a strategy and here are the places where I think you’re having problems. If you can fix these three areas, you will have no issues. So they went from a school that was down every day and had accepted downtime on the internet as a normal thing, that a 20 Mb internet connection was their recent upgrade. They just upgraded their internet, so they don’t need anymore. 20 Mb is enough for that many people, to this school where they could assume that the internet was good. By the way, in Lincoln, we have fiber to the curb, you can get gig service to the curb for under a couple hundred bucks a month. That is something we have in Lincoln, they weren’t using it.

Adam Walter:
They’d never done a wireless heat map, but the MSPs had been serving every one of their needs, but they didn’t understand what they were doing with the client, they didn’t understand what the client wanted. And at the end, this client ended up spending about $9,000 a month and they were way happier and have been successfully with the new MSP for the past five years. So whatever MSP was with them before was missing out on all that extra revenue. So $6,500 of revenue a month, they missed out on for about five to seven years.

Paul Green:
And they not only missed out on it, they lost the client as well.

Adam Walter:
Yeah. They didn’t have a business conversation with them.

Paul Green:
Yeah. That’s fascinating. Adam, tell us a little bit more about how Managed Services Platform helps you as an MSP to have these kind of business conversations and give us your website address.

Adam Walter:
Sure. It’s managedservicesplatform.com. I came into Managed Services Platform in the spring, so I wanted to take my work as a VCIO and integrate it seamlessly into the Managed Services Platform. And what they do is they allow you to audit areas of IT, you can build up your own questionnaires that your engineers can fill out on the backend. So you can remove those from the day to day conversations and so your engineers going through and figuring out all of the questions on, are their PCs under warranty? Do they need 24/7 service? Do they have 24/7 service? All these things get broken up into reports on the backend that are really easy to fill out. You’re talking 45 minutes to do a report and that’s for a company you’ve never seen before. And then you get this end report, a strategic report that scores them across these different areas and says, here’s how you stand.

Adam Walter:
And that way, account manager or a technical person can walk in or a salesperson can walk in pre-sales and say, “Here is the way you guys look, you guys are scoring about 40% on your risks, but you’re scoring 80% on your architecture. So you have great stuff installed, but it looks like your existing MSP or whoever you’re using isn’t taking care of your risk portfolio. So you’re at a high risk of being hacked or having downtime, so let’s talk through how we get to a more normative score.” And that’s what this software allows you to do, it allows you to take all of that background noise and keep it amongst the engineers who love to talk about it. They can talk about in their team meetings every day. But your conversations with your client now become about how do we get you to a good place?

Adam Walter:
Our engineers recommend that you do these things because you’re a school who needs uptime and the teachers cannot have the disruptions to their classroom. They need to trust the technology, so let’s get you to there and this is what it looks like. So you can spend more time in those conversations on site, talking about business things. And here’s what really happens is that when you start having those kinds of conversations where you’re not talking about highly technical things, your CEOs start wandering into the meetings. Because now you’re talking about business strategy, you’re starting to ask questions like, “Hey, what’s your guys’ goal for the next two years as a business, we want to see how we can augment it. So we’re going to take your business goal, and we’re going to put it on this report so every engineer who has to read a report about you guys knows what your goal is. And when they see, oh, you’re trying to live stream more events, they’re going to be like, oh man, we really need to upgrade their internet.

Adam Walter:
So our entire team is aligned with your team and allowing your business to be successful, giving you a competitive edge. So since I’ve taken over MSP I’m taking it to this next level.” Starting in October, we released a product which is a dashboard that allows for anyone to walk in and look like a million dollars. It’s a one page dashboard with all that data you just gathered and it’s distilled down into four subsets with the projects recommended for each one of them. So you’ll be able to have a account manager or a pre-sales walk in or a sales engineer walk in and on the left, you’ve got architecture. Hey, you’re doing great in architecture, you’re scoring a 75 there, industry average is 48, so you’ve got a competitive edge there. Next one, service. You really need to be getting a 24/7 service, you’re scoring under your industry average, you’re scoring at about 38% there, industry average is 62.

Adam Walter:
We recommend you get to 24/7 service so we can serve those third shifts better and we can make sure that after hours we’re getting more work done so that when you guys come in in the morning, everything’s running smooth. And the third, risk. Looks like you guys have no backup plans, you guys are around backup servers, but what happens when a pandemic hits, are you ready to work offsite? Are you ready for, if your building catches on fire? Things like that. Those are risks that we have identified that we should probably sit down and talk through. And then finally, strategically, you’re only meeting with your IT people once a year, for a company your size, in order to maintain industry average, you need to be meeting at least four times to maintain that competitive edge. And so now this conversation happens and notice I did not talk about technology at all, I simply talked about business solutions. And I didn’t have to train anybody to do that, it just naturally occurs because you took care of all of that noise and thrown to the background.

Adam Walter:
And I give people the analogy of none of us business owners really like talking to our accountants, we love talking to our CFOs about strategy and how we should spend our money and what we should invest in next year, but not a single business owner I’ve ever met has loved talking about receipts and how you spent for the last month. We dread it. That’s you IT guys, you need to stop doing that and start becoming a CFO where you start telling the business, “Hey, we can help take you and help solve this business problem you have, if you just let us know.” But if you keep talking about receipts and you keep talking about operations, they’re not going to tell you about their business problems that you know you can help them with. You guys are problem solvers, you’re IT people, this is what you do, but you need to stop and listen to that business problem and apply that area to them.

Adam Walter:
So our software allows you to stop talking operationally and start talking strategically and attracting the right people into the room. And I guarantee, you start using our software and presenting with it, you’re going to start seeing more CEOs and more key stakeholders come to the meetings because you’re talking about things that they care about. And that is the point.

Voiceover:
Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast. This week’s recommended book.

Colin Knox:
I am Colin Knox with Gradient MSP, my business book recommendation is Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller. A big part of how we’ve approached building our brand at Gradient MSP, how we’re going about marketing to the industry and I think is just great overall advice for any person building a business, to make sure that the story that their brand and company is telling to the market really resonates with those to help drive better awareness, better interest and help them grow their business.

Voiceover:
Coming up next week.

Lucas Meadowcroft:
G’day Lucas Meadowcroft here, and we’re automating IT support using artificial intelligence. If you’d love to learn more about service delivery, I’d love for you to tune in next week.

Paul Green:
We’re also going to be talking about whether or not you can use this marketing concept in an MSP, the marketing concept is one of having an easy first purchase. You ease people into a relationship with you by getting them to buy something once just literally a one off thing. And once they’ve bought that and had a good experience, the theory goes that it’s so much easier to get them to buy more from you. Now, MSPs always want people to get into a monthly recurring revenue relationship, that’s the whole point of it, is to get them on contract with all that money coming in every month. Can we use an easy first purchase to make that journey easier for them? It’s almost like a ramp to work them up to it. We’ll talk about that next week and we’ll also talk about what’s the lifetime value of a typical new client to you. Someone that joins you next month on one of those recurring revenue contracts, what could they be worth in the years and years they stay with your MSP? Have a great week in business. I’ll see you next week.

Voiceover:
Made in the UK for MSPs around the world, Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.

 

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