Episode 106: MSPs: 3 quick wins to increase revenue

Episode 106: MSPs: 3 quick wins to increase revenue

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Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 106: MSPs: 3 quick wins to increase revenue
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In this week’s episode

  • You want more revenue? Great – Paul’s got 3 quick wins for you
  • Also this week, do you obsess over the right things? Making your clients’ lives easier is something worth sweating over. Paul explains what it could mean for your MSP
  • Plus, can you tell your prospects good stories about tech, rather than the dry facts? This week’s guest describes the benefits of becoming a great story teller
  • All that on this week’s show, plus your chance to win a copy of one of the best video editors – Camtasia

Featured guest

Roger E Jones is this week's featured guest on Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast

Thank you to the inspirational storyteller Roger E Jones for joining Paul to talk about how to turn difficult sales conversations into effective stories.

Roger E Jones is the expert tech firms go to, to become master storytellers to accelerate sales growth, differentiate themselves in their market and inspire investors.  His passion is working with smaller growth-focused firms to help them secure their growth ambitions. A former tech CMO, Roger works worldwide.

Connect with Roger 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:
Hi. Hello, and welcome back to the show. Here’s what we’ve got coming up for you this week.

Roger Jones:
If you want to differentiate yourself in your marketplace, you’d use storytelling, and I find those with a tech technical background, a bit like a duck to water when it comes to storytelling. So it’s a very natural thing for us to use.

Paul Green:
I’ve also got for you three quick wins to increase your MSPs revenue, and we have another competition this week with an amazing prize for you to win. It’s a piece of software that we use in our business. We are big fan hands of it. And if you edit videos at all, you are going to love this. Your chance to win some new video editing software later in the show.

Voiceover:
Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.

Paul Green:
One of the things that drives me and my team every single day is asking this question, how can we make life easier for our clients? So we have our service, the MSP Marketing Edge. We’ve got well over 500 MSPs that use it.

Paul Green:
And part of that is we have a community. We have a Facebook group. It’s only for active members. And my team and I spend an awful lot of time in that Facebook group because within that group, just from the discussions that people are having, both of our out using our service, but also just doing their own marketing, there are the answers for us of how can we make their life easier?

Paul Green:
I’ll give you one simple example. We provide hundreds and hundreds of files every month, so all the marketing stuff that we provide is in all sorts of different formats, like Canva, Publisher, InDesign, Word, PowerPoint. And so we have an awful lot of files, and we just renamed all of those files.

Paul Green:
We’ve tried to rename them to make it easier for people to know what files they’ve downloaded to their computers, and we didn’t realise that for people who are importing those files into SharePoint as part of their process of implementing our marketing materials, the file names are now too long for SharePoint.

Paul Green:
Don’t get me started on the fact that it’s 2021, and a system can’t take long file names. That doesn’t matter. The point being, I hadn’t realised that we’d created an extra problem for actually about five, 10, 15 of our members just by doing this file rename.

Paul Green:
Luckily we had the community where we could see that, and we could go and look at it, and we could figure out a better way to do it. But I mean, that’s a tiny, tiny example.

Paul Green:
Perhaps a better example is just looking at how people are using their marketing, and what they’re doing and what challenges they’ve got. And me and my team are constantly putting our heads together, and we’re saying, “What could we do to make someone’s life better? How can we make their life easier for them?”

Paul Green:
Now, this isn’t haphazard. This is actually systematic. We have a mission within our business, and the mission is to make it easier for our clients to win new clients of their own, but also to make their lives easier. We just want to make everything easier for them because when it’s fun and it’s easy, particularly with something difficult like marketing, then MSPs are much more likely to do that.

Paul Green:
Now do you do this within your business? Are you constantly looking at what your clients are getting stuck on and asking how can we make this easier for them?

Paul Green:
Because you certainly have the information. You can look at the tickets, you can look at the strategic reviews. You can look at all the contacts you have with all the users of all the clients and ask yourself how can we make life easier for these people? What are they getting stuck on? How can we make it easier? How can we remove barriers? How can we just make their life easier? This is the attitude of a constant value ad, constantly and systematically between you and your team asking yourselves how do we make their lives easier?

Paul Green:
And I do think this constant value ad is needed. Increasingly we are all part of memberships and communities, and we are getting extra value from all sorts of things all the time. Just because MSPs have great retention now, doesn’t mean that MSPs will always have great retention. I think you’ve got to be constantly working on how you can keep your clients and just give them more, more, more. And that doesn’t necessarily have to mean more work. It’s more value.

Paul Green:
Let me just take these CX platforms. The customer experience platforms like CloudRadial and Invarosoft. And by the way, if you haven’t heard it, in episode 88, we had a special edition with Jamie Warner from Invarosoft. That’s a really, really good listen. It’s rapidly becoming one of our most listened to episodes.

Paul Green:
Anyway, if you take those CX platforms and say the main goal of those is to make life easier for your clients. It gives them somewhere they can go and see what support tickets they’ve submitted or support requests. It’s where they can access training videos. They can see what’s happening with their cases. There are all sorts of useful things they can do in those CX platforms. There’s a great example of value. Add you can give your clients a considerable extra burst of value just by taking on board a CX platform. In fact, it’s a nicer way for them to communicate with your team anyway.

Paul Green:
So the question is this. How can you systemise this? How can you make it systematic that you and your team are constantly asking yourselves the question how can we add value for our clients, for our users, for our decision makers? How can we add value? And ultimately, how can we make their lives easier?

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

Paul Green:
How to generate more revenue. It’s one of the biggest questions that comes up with me when I’m doing webinars or talking to clients. People say they want new clients. Of course, they do, but they also want more revenue. And there are actually only three ways to increase your business’s revenue. Number one is you get yourself more new clients. Number two is you get your existing clients to buy more from you. And number three is you get your existing clients to spend more every single time they buy. And you should be focusing as the leader of the business, you should be focusing on those three drivers of growth within the business.

Paul Green:
But I have got for you based on a training course I’ve just put together for my clients. I’ve got for of you here three quick wins to instantly increase revenue because it’s easy to say, “Hey, go and get more new clients.” But the problem with getting new clients is they’re expensive. If you add up everything you spend on marketing over a year and divide it by the number of new clients you have, you’ll see the true cost of getting a new client. And it’s a lot more than you think it will be.

Paul Green:
So let me give you these three quick wins. The first one is actually kind of obvious. It’s common sense. Well, they’re all common sense if you look at them that way. The first one is to make sure that you are charging properly. Are you buying licenses for clients that no longer pay for those licenses from you? Are you paying for extra seats, perhaps for a client that’s reduced their seats, but you never ended up reducing them in the first place. Making sure that you are charging properly for the things that you are buying is probably something you should check every three to six months anyway because it’s really easy. Isn’t it? In the heat of a busy working week for a client to reduce down the number of seats they’ve got or the number of licenses and accidentally, it never really gets filtered through to you or to whoever’s due to do it from whoever you’re buying it from. So that’s the first thing to do is to check that you are actually charging properly.

Paul Green:
The second thing to do is to increase your prices. And MSPs way overthink this. Most MSPs really do overthink it. There’s two kind of price rises you’ve got. You’ve got price rises for new clients and price rises for existing clients.

Paul Green:
Well for new clients, just put the price up all the time. Every time you win a new client, just put the price up, just nudge it up by a few pounds or dollars or whatever your currency is per user per month. Because with new clients, they’re comparing you to other MSPs. But remember, for the right kind of clients, price is a factor, not the factor. And sure, you can be too expensive for a marketplace. That can absolutely happen, but the only way to know is to keep nudging your prices up.

Paul Green:
One of your goals should be to be the most expensive MSP in your area. And of course you need a quality of service to justify that, but there’s nothing wrong with being the most expensive. You certainly don’t want to be the cheapest, and everyone sitting in the middle, don’t just be the same price as everyone. Put your prices up for new clients all the time.

Paul Green:
Now for existing clients, it’s got to be done with a bit more caution because obviously with your existing clients, they are used to paying a certain price, maybe they’ve even signed a contract at a certain price. There are two ways that you can put prices up. You can do it overtly or covertly. Overtly is where you just put the prices up. You just say, “Hey, cost of living is going up. Prices are going up everywhere, and we’ve got to follow suit because the prices of what we buy to service you are going up, so we need to charge you more.” And you just pop their prices up. And there’s nothing wrong with doing that once a year or once every couple of years.

Paul Green:
There’s also the covert way of doing it. The covert way is when they buy something, you charge them a lot more for it. So let’s say they buy something that costs you one pound or $1 per user per month, and you might think of charging them two pounds. That’s your margin on top. Actually, what if you charge them five pounds or $5 or even 10 pounds or $10. You basically put a load of extra margin on top. And what you are doing is you’re not profiteering. You’re not being greedy. What you doing is you’re giving them a covert price rise, so that overall they are contributing more gross margin into your MSP.

Paul Green:
And then we get onto the third and final quick win to increase revenue. And that’s simply to sell something extra to your existing clients. It’s always more profitable to do this than to bring on board a new client.

Paul Green:
So a number of different ways you can do it. Strategic reviews are the formal way to do it. In fact, that’s the way you systemise upselling into the business. You have a strategic review with every single client. You use some clever software, and you pull together a technology roadmap for them. Yes, that requires work. Yes, that requires investment, but it’s the robust, long-term way to do strategic reviews.

Paul Green:
The other thing that you can do is just have a look through tickets. Go and review all the tickets for one of your clients. In fact, you could do this two, three times a week, or maybe every week you sit down and look at two or three clients. Just go and have a look at their tickets for the last few months.

Paul Green:
Do you spot any trends? Do you see that there’s a problem there that you could actually take away for them if you sold them an extra service or did a project for them? What are the easy wins there? And then you can just pick up the phone, literally pick up the phone, say, “Hey, I’ve just been reviewing all of the support requests that you’ve put in over the last few months. And I’ve noticed that five times now X has broken, or you’ve run out of X, or whatever it is.” And then you can say to them, “Do you know, we can just fix that? Would you like me to just talk you through what that would be and how much it would cost?”

Paul Green:
And some people will say yes to this. Some people will say no. So what? Doesn’t really matter. The point is you can sell extra stuff to people by solving their problems. Give them what they want, give them what they need, and take all way their problems and their fears.

Paul Green:
And these are three really easy ways to increase revenue in your MSP. Pretty quickly.

Voiceover:
Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.

Paul Green:
This podcast, isn’t just the place to come for amazing marketing and business growth advice and good guests and good books suggestions. It’s also a great place to win really cool stuff. And we’ve got another great giveaway this week.

James Lett:
Hey, this is producer James, and this prize is going to make you look great. It’s all about video. So videos can of course bring your MSP to life on your website and on social media, be that footage of yourself or client testimonials or perhaps you’ve even got in some educational videos from the likes of the MSP Marketing Edge, and you need to put your branding onto them. But how do you edit, craft, and manipulate video?

James Lett:
Well, the video editor that we recommend the most already is by TechSmith and it’s called Camtasia. It’s one of these amazing pieces of software that is not only intuitive and easy to use, but is also packed of powerful high-end features. On one hand, yes, you can do simple editing with it, or on the other, you can do layering, titles, green screen, Chrome key replacement, and so much more.

James Lett:
And just for listening to this podcast, thanks to our friends at TechSmith, you can win the latest copy of Camtasia. All you need to do right now is go to a special page and enter your details to go into the draw. Go to paulgreensmspmarketing.com/win. Do that right now. And at some point after midnight, UK time, this Sunday 28th of November, a winner will be randomly drawn, and it could be you good luck.

Voiceover:
The big interview.

Roger Jones:
Hi, I’m Roger Jones, and I specialise in helping tech firms grow their business through the power of storytelling.

Paul Green:
And storytelling isn’t necessarily something I ever thought would be on this podcast. For me, marketing is all about a whole series of practical actions, but talk to me, Roger, about how you would actually use storytelling to find yourself some prospects and engage with those people.

Roger Jones:
Personally, I think storytelling is the most natural thing in the world to use because most of our conversations are in a narrative or in small stories. So it’s a very natural thing for us to use.

Roger Jones:
And I think it’s a very underused tool to influence and persuade people. So you’d use storytelling in all your communications. In fact, you could storify your business as I do with some of my clients. So you’d literally, you could use it in a sales situation. If you want to differentiate yourself in your marketplace, you can use it in social media, in your website, in your blogs. I think it’s a very highly practical tool to use when used in the right places.

Paul Green:
I love the sound of storify, fight your business. Let’s come back onto that in a few moments time. Let’s first of all, look at exactly how would you do that. So Roger, if you assume that the vast majority of people listening to this, they’re techs. They got into their MSP because they love technology. They love fixing problems. They love helping people and generally making sure that businesses use technology to achieve the things they want to use.

Paul Green:
So typically they’re not marketers, and therefore they’re not, I would say, professional storytellers. Give us some practical examples of how you actually use stories to improve your marketing.

Roger Jones:
I work with primarily technical firms, and I find those with a technical background, a bit like a duck to water when it comes to storytelling. Once they sort of ignite what I’d call their inner storyteller. But when it comes to the practical application of storytelling, there’s a range of areas where you can use it.

Roger Jones:
For example, the origin story of your company is extremely powerful. Rather than saying I’m an MSP business owner and I do this, you go back to the reason why you’re doing it. What’s the narrative? What’s the story when you created the firm?

Roger Jones:
Another area to use stories. Most of us, we’re in competitive markets, and to have stories that differentiate you in the marketplace and your MSP firm in the marketplace are extremely powerful. And these, rather than the traditional dry, dull case studies that companies use, use case stories instead.

Roger Jones:
Another area, what I call inoculation stories, extremely powerful. In any situation in business, you get people putting the blockers up, the classic sales objections. But you can handle them really eloquently with a story, a story of someone who may have had a similar type of objection in the past, how it was overcome thanks to the power of your work.

Roger Jones:
And I would say the most powerful story, particularly from a sales perspective is a future story. If you use a future story in the sales process, which is really painting the picture in the future after they use your services, you’re just going to be far more successful.

Roger Jones:
I have one particular client. Okay, it’s not a small business, it’s a large multinational. They’re equipped to do research on their sales teams. They found that those salespeople who use stories, particularly future stories in the sales process, were two to three times more successful than those who just took a traditional sales approach.

Roger Jones:
So, to summarise briefly, I’d say the origin story, extremely powerful, differentiation stories, what I call those inoculation stories, and those stories to inspire action, the future stories.

Paul Green:
I’m remembering something I’ve read somewhere, and I’m desperately trying to remember which book. It might have been something by Robert Cialdini or somewhere else. But I remember reading that the reason that stories engage with humans so much is because when you tell someone a story, and it’s not just a series of facts, it’s that built up thing, that story that we are telling, it actually gets more parts of the brain engaged. And I don’t know if I’m making this up, or whether I have read it somewhere, that before we had written communication and formal methods of recording information, that was how information was passed down from the generations, through stories. Am I correct in this Roger?

Roger Jones:
Yeah, totally spot on there, Paul. That’s why one of the prime reasons why stories are so success when you’re trying to persuade, influence, inspire, and resonate. So if I could break that down a little bit.

Roger Jones:
When you tell a story, you literally take that person on a journey. They go into the story as you’re telling it. Think of a James Bond film. When I watch a James Bond film, I’m James Bond, not just in the film, but probably for about a week afterwards. I’m so immersed in the story.

Roger Jones:
Also, importantly, it’s how we’d learn. It’s how children learn. If I think of my now 13 year old daughter, when she first went to the dentist, there were story books about going to the dentist. It’s how we learn, the most basic level of how we always learn.

Roger Jones:
Importantly also, a well told story also has emotion within it. And it’s that emotion we really truly get engaged in. And as you’re saying, Paul, as you’re indicating, a story engages both that logical side of our brain and that creative. And a well told story is very well structured. It’s got a very logical approach.

Roger Jones:
And I think importantly, particularly if you’ve got a technical firm, all the research shows that a fact a statistic wrapped up in a story is over 20 times more memorable than if you just said it. So stories are particularly powerful for the reasons you rightly say, Paul, about that science behind stories and storytelling.

Paul Green:
I love it. Absolutely love it. So without giving away anything that you’ve been working on with a specific client, can you give us an example of a tech fact or a tech stat, some something technical that’s been turned into a much more interesting and emotionally aging story?

Roger Jones:
They weren’t actually in the MSP space though, but it’s related to that, whereby it was about using a particular form of communication, and how it was working. Now they could have simply said we’re using this new, whatever it is, I can’t even remember what it was called. And it allows you to communicate over these distances, even in these weather conditions. So that’s what they could have said, and lots of facts and statistics.

Roger Jones:
Instead, what the engineer did. They actually told a story about where they were in somewhere in Asia. I think it was Borneo and used it for the first time and the difference it made on the local community just by using. And they showed up this, like a little silicon chip, it looked like to me, and he told a story of this little silicon chip. It wasn’t a silicon chip. It had something to do with mobile communications, and the difference it made on the community. And that’s how that particular person brought it to life.

Paul Green:
That’s just brilliant. That really is, it’s so clever, but I suspect it’s one of these things that’s actually quite hard to do. So when you are working with your clients, is there a process that you take people through in order to take something a little bit dry and boring but important and turn it into something more interesting?

Roger Jones:
You know, it’s important to approach it on a couple of levels. First of all, I’d say there’s the personal storytelling. I’ll go over a few things that may help some listeners here is first of all, you’ve probably got a whole what I call a story bank with inside you that you can use when you’re in situations.

Roger Jones:
And think of a story of an experience you’ve had and you learned something. And that’s basically the most fundamental element of a story. So they’re very important where you learned something new.

Roger Jones:
And also you just simply, you can map out your business. You think, why is your business different in your marketplace? What are some of these elements that make it up? And what’s the story behind it?

Roger Jones:
I was working with one technology company, and it was their innovation in one particular area. But instead of just saying, oh, we’ve got this really innovative process that does this, it was the story of this one particular technical programmer who created this piece of code and brought it to life, and what practical life implications for the business were as a result of that.

Roger Jones:
So it’s to think about some of your personal narratives, some of those key elements of your business, and what was the time when that particular thing happened? That’s maybe the innovation, maybe that point of differentiation, and as I was saying earlier, could be that creation, that origin story.

Paul Green:
And you mentioned earlier the concept of storifying your business. Is this literally the process of just working through all your communications with your existing clients and your prospects and making sure that stories are embedded at the very heart of it?

Roger Jones:
I strongly believe if a firm wants to truly differentiate themselves in the marketplace, grow effectively, that’s exactly what they need to do, Paul. There is a process behind it. You’d start off thinking… Probably the most sensible place to start is to accelerate sales by putting them into the narrative, storifying that process because that’s going to help differentiate your MSP firm in your marketplace.

Roger Jones:
But then you can start to look to other key areas. So rather than have a dry, boring website, have a bit of a story on there. Why was the firm created? What makes you different? Bring it to life a little bit. You’re going to engage people with that. You’re going to draw them into your own particular story.

Roger Jones:
So that’s what I mean by storifying it. And from that point, you’ll find then that it’d be quite natural then. Even if we go and get down to the basics of a post on your website or on LinkedIn, you’d end up putting it into a story format.

Roger Jones:
So it’s taken all those elements within the business, still using facts and figures, but making them more engaging by storifying your business.

Paul Green:
Brilliant. Roger, tell us about your business and how can we get in touch with you?

Roger Jones:
My business is very, very simple. I work with tech firms to allow them to resonate more effectively with their clients, accelerate their growth, and differentiate themselves in the business. And there is quite rightly a process to go through. I work mainly one on one with companies, and they’re welcome to make contact with me via my website, which is rogerejones.com.

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

Greg Jones:
Hi everybody. My name’s Greg Jones, Business Development Director at Dato. My book recommendation today is the MSPs Survival Guide to Co-Managed IT Services by Bob Coppedge, a great book that all MSPs should read at the moment, extremely topical in terms of the opportunities around co-managed. This will give you insight in terms of how to add revenue to your MSP business.

Voiceover:
Coming up next week.

Phylip Morgan:
Hi, I’m Phylip Morgan, and next week, I’m on the podcast with Paul Green helping MSPs understand how we no longer need to use fear, uncertainty, and doubt to scare our customers into purchase cyber security from us.

Paul Green:
We’ll also be looking next week at why speed is everything. If someone inquires into your MSP about potentially becoming a client, your chances of winning them depend on how quickly you get back to them. Even a 24 hour delay these days can be too much. How can you reorganise your business to make sure that any possible opportunity to generate a new client or new revenue can be acted on really quickly?

Paul Green:
We’ll look at that next week. And we’re also going to look at why the MSP business model just makes your cash flow easy. If you’re having any cashflow issues right now, maybe it’s because you haven’t fully embraced the MSP model. I’m going to look at the three things in particular that make it just beautiful for you and how you can make cash flow so much easier in your MSP. Have a great week in business, and I’ll see you then.

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

 

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