Episode 138: Why your MSP needs a Business Mom

Episode 138: Why your MSP needs a Business Mom

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Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 138: Why your MSP needs a Business Mom
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Episode 138 includes:

  • Why every MSP needs someone in a “motherly” role
  • Who should your phone person be calling and what should they be talking about
  • Plus on the show this week, an international MSP expert shares the global differences between MSPs

Featured guest

Shoaib Laher is a featured guest on the MSP Marketing Podcast

Thank you to Shoaib Laher from As.a.Service for joining Paul to talk about the challenges facing MSPs around the world.

Shoaib founded As.a.Service after spotting a niche in the MSP market with a particular focus on the US based MSPs. When he’s not making clients happy during the week, Shoaib is a “borderline obsessive” golfer and a Dad to twins.

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 back to the show. Here’s what’s coming up for you this week.

Shoaib Laher:
It’s not news to them. You know, they are wise to the fact that they are behind the curve, but instead of going, “Oh God, what are we doing wrong?” MSPs are seeing it as an opportunity to offer services that we don’t before.

Paul Green:
That’s Shoaib Laher from As A Service. He’s running an outsourced help desk for MSPs all around the world. And I’m going to talk to him in this week’s show about the differences in MSPs, in lots of different countries. They are subtly different. And Shoaib will tell us what those differences are later on. We’re also going to be talking about the need for a business mom. I believe every MSP should have a business mom. What is this person? And what’s that role actually all about? I’ll reveal all later on in the show.

Voiceover:
Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.

Paul Green:
So over the last couple of episodes of the podcast, we’ve kind of done a mini series without me really intending to. Because we’re talking about where to find a phone person, someone who can make outbound phone calls on your behalf so that you don’t have to. Two weeks ago, in episode 136, we talked about where to find a phone person. And then in last week’s show, 137, we talked about their calling setup. Today, it’s almost the most difficult thing. Who should they call and what should they say? Well, actually there’s some very easy answers to those questions. Let’s start with who they should call. Because the temptation is to say, everyone. Just call absolutely everyone. But you know, that’s cold calling. And I know we’ve had people on this podcast. In fact, Brian Gillette, a sales expert just a few weeks ago, talking about his system for cold calling, and that’s fine.

Paul Green:
And that probably suits people like Brian. But for ordinary people like you and me, cold calling is just horrendous. No one wants to do cold calling. It’s just a horrible thing to do. So instead it’s always better to start with warm calling. What’s warm calling? It’s calling someone when you’ve got an existing relationship with them. And that existing relationship could be as simple as they get your emails, or they’re connected to you on LinkedIn. But these are the first people that your phone person should call. Literally get them working through your CRM, your customer relationship manager. Get them working through your hundreds or thousands of LinkedIn connections. And that’s the greatest place for them to start. In fact, that in itself could keep them busy for a number of weeks or months. And when we say warm connections, yes, I know that’s not particularly warm. But it’s a lot warmer than just calling someone that you found on Google. So I would certainly start there.

Paul Green:
Now, when they run out of those people, and they will run out of them at some point, the next thing they should do should be to work through groups of potential prospects in your area. So for example, let’s say you are targeting CPAs, accountants, you would get someone, and this could be the phone person, or it could be a virtual assistant researching on their behalf. You would get them to Google all of the CPAs in your area, find out who the decision makers are, get their phone numbers and call those people. Because once you’ve made two or three phone calls to a CPA, it then becomes really easy to just make more phone calls to the same kind of person. This was a trick I learned back in my last business where we only worked with veterinarians, vets, dentists, and opticians.

Paul Green:
And my phone people, it was kind of easy to train them, what those people were like. We’ve discovered for example, there’s no point trying to call dentists, unless it’s lunchtime or it’s the end of the day. Because they’re always drilling people’s teeth. Whereas veterinarians typically have a burst of activity in the morning, and then will have more time available from mid-morning, through to the afternoon and so on. So you get to learn what people’s working patterns are like. So if you were targeting CPAs, it would make sense to call all the CPAs in one go. And then you could repeat that for all of the lawyers, and then all of the manufacturers, and so on, and so on, and so on. The reality is you will never, ever run out of people to call. There’s always another lead or another prospect out there somewhere.

Paul Green:
Now talking about leads. One other thing that you could do to generate slightly more warmed up people to call is just spend money on traffic. In fact, you might spend money trying to send people to your website, to download your guide or get your buyers guide or join your email list. But you’re giving away some kind of ethical bribe, which is a thing you give away, like a book that you give away to people in order to persuade them to join your email list. Or maybe the smarts move is to spend money building up your LinkedIn connections. And maybe you say right, we’re never going to call anyone that’s completely cold. What we’re going to do instead is we’re going to do a whole ton of marketing work to try and build very early, very low level relationships with people and then we’ll call them.

Paul Green:
So you might attempt to connect to, let’s say 20 people a day. You might make two or three new connections a day and that’s enough. That’s enough for your phone person. They can call those new connections a week or so after you’ve connected to them. And with that and call backs and just your other databases that might be enough to keep a part-time remote phone person busy, working just two to three hours a day, two to three days a week. So the final question then is what should they say? Well, this is where hiring the right person absolutely comes in. Because I’m not a big fan at all of telesales scripts. Now I do give a telesales script to my MSP marketing edge members, because I want them to have like a framework, a guideline. In fact, that’s what it is. It’s not really a script as such.

Paul Green:
It’s a framework of how you’d want the call to go. But if you give a tight script to a telephone person, then they’re going to stick to the script. And what they’re going to lose is their natural ability to have a conversation with someone. Don’t get me wrong. You don’t want your telephone people sitting on the phone for 20 minutes, having a good old natter with someone. But you do want them to be warm. You want them to engage. And critically, you want the person that they’re calling to engage with them. You see, you have to remember that people only buy when they’re ready to buy. And because they are uneducated buyers, they don’t know much about technology. They’re not making a decision with their brain. This is not a cognitive thing. They are making a decision with their emotions. Their heart is picking your MSP or rejecting your MSP.

Paul Green:
So if you can get your phone person to engage with them on the phone right at the very beginning of this process, the chances of you actually turning them into a client is dramatically higher. Which is really, really exciting. So I guess what I’m saying here is hire interesting people who like chatting on the phone. And then don’t load them up with a script. Load them up with some open questions. For example, let’s say you get a call. Let’s say someone calls you and they jump straight into a pitch about their business. You don’t care. You’re not interested in that. Maybe you just put the phone down on them or maybe you’d be one of those people that just doesn’t listen and carries on doing some of the job before you tell them, actually I’m not interested. Now compare that experience to if someone phones you up and gets hold of you and they actually then start asking you about your favourite subject. And what’s your favourite subject?

Paul Green:
Well, it’s you. It’s you and your business. And that’s the key to this. Load your phone person with open questions they can ask about their business, and not necessarily about technology. You know, you could jump in with, hey, how are things going for you guys at the moment? Where are we? We’re in the summer. So you could say, what’s summer trading like for you. Do you see an up and down throughout the year? I mean, you wouldn’t ask this as the opening question, but these are the kinds of exploratory questions where you get someone talking about their business. The goal is engagement. And a good phone person is going to listen to the answers and ask follow up questions. That’s why it’s dangerous to give them a script, because they won’t be listening. They’ll just be waiting for the talking to stop so they can ask the next question.

Paul Green:
You want to get them to eventually work their way, within two to three minutes, to asking this direct question, which is, hey, do you guys have an IT support company or an IT support partner that you use? Actually, just one note on using the word, partner. I know, in our world we’re all very keen on using the word partner. And partnerships are absolutely what we should be striving for. But when you say the word partner to ordinary businesses out there, it can be a little bit confusing. Especially right at the beginning of the selling process, of the relationship building process. So I would just stick with, hey, do you guys use an IT support company? Or what kind of IT support do you guys have? What your phone person is attempting to do after they’ve got them a little bit engaged is that they are attempting to find out if they’re currently using someone, and then they’re attempting to find out when the contract’s up and what they think of their current IT support.

Paul Green:
And there’s a really good question you can ask to find this out. This is the question on a scale of one to 10, where one is appalling and 10 is amazing. What score would you give to your current IT support company? And if they answer 10, nine or eight, there’s no opportunity for you here. Politely end the call, move on. You could keep in touch with those people, put them on your email list. But there’s not a huge amount of opportunity there for you. Now if they answer seven, six, or maybe even five, there’s a huge opportunity for you there. Because that’s a level of dissatisfaction. That’s actually a relatively low score. And it indicates that there’s some distress there. That there’s not perhaps the levels of happiness that you would hope to see in a relationship with a client. And then of course, four or below is urgent.

Paul Green:
There’s some deep, deep levels of distress. And from here, your phone person can follow up with an open question again, such as wow, that’s a really low score. I don’t hear people scoring their IT company that low that often. Can I ask, what is it that’s caused you to give them such a low score? That’s that open question. It’s a great question. Let me say it again. What is it that’s caused you to give them that low score? Because it could be a short term thing. They might have just had a major crisis this week, but actually long term it’s not affected the relationship. Or it could just be long term. And your phone person’s looking out for people saying things like, oh, you know that the service levels have gone down. They don’t really seem to pick up the phone that often. It’s quite hard to get hold of someone.

Paul Green:
Basically people leave MSPs with their emotions just as they join new MSPs with their emotions. Very few people leave your MSP or indeed any MSP because of big things. They don’t sit there and say, oh the tech stack wasn’t right. They just didn’t have the right tech stack. Ordinary people don’t talk like that. What they do is they say things like, it seems to take ages to get through to anyone, or they never pick up the phone. It’s the little things that kill clients, not the big things. So it’s the little things that your phone person is looking for, because they need to leverage that to book that 15 minute appointment with you.

Paul Green:
Listen, we’ve been talking about this for three episodes now. It’s such an important resource that you can have within your MSP. And remember something I said earlier, people only buy when they are ready to buy. The phone person gives you an unfair advantage of finding out when that is so that you can start a proper conversation with them at exactly the right moment.

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

Paul Green:
Before I set up my MSP marketing business in 2016, I owned another marketing agency. And that was kind of like a proper marketing agency with an office and staff. In fact, at its peak, we had 15 staff in that building. And one of the most important people in that business was Miranda. Now Miranda’s role, she was actually a phone person. She was the senior of, I think we had a team of four at our peak. So we had four phone people phoning the thousands of people on my email database and attempting to book appointments for our sales people. And Miranda was kind of like the unofficial leader, just because she was the most experienced and the most pleasant of all of those people to deal with. But that wasn’t actually Miranda’s critical role to the business. Her critical role was acting as the business mom. You see, that business attracted lots of young people. We had writers, internet people, like website designers.

Paul Green:
That’s it. I did know what we did, honestly. We had lots of young people within the business. So people, late teens, early twenties, lots of recent graduates. And the vast majority of our staff were young and at the beginning of their careers. Whereas Miranda was at the time, I’m guessing late forties, maybe early fifties. Apologies if that’s offensive, Miranda, if I’ve offended you in some way, because I wouldn’t want to, because you were great. And the reason you were great was you acted as a mom to a lot of the younger people in that business. And maybe you have an office with staff hanging around, and maybe you’ve got younger staff as well. And maybe just, maybe you need to have a parent to look after them. Now here’s the thing. I believe that as employers, us and our staff have a bit of a parent child relationship anyway.

Paul Green:
You are dad or mom. And even if your staff are just a little bit older than you, you can still have a bit of a parental relationship with them. Just think about the relationship you have with your staff. And you realise that there is a certain level of that. And sometimes staff can act like children. They do stupid things, and they don’t think when they’re doing stuff, just like kids. But anyway, that’s a subject for a different podcast. So on top of the relationship, the parental relationship that you have with them, I do think there is an important role for someone somewhere just to look out for them. So Miranda would do things like, we had a break room. One of our rooms in the building was… Did we have a ping pong table? It was a long time ago.

Paul Green:
We had things. Things like a ping pong table, or an air hockey, or table football, or something like that. And obviously, there was a fridge with Diet Coke in it and snacks, and stuff like that. All the things that staff like. And Miranda, through not being asked, but just naturally because of her motherly instincts would sit in that break room and people would come in and they’d just chat to her. She was very easy to talk to. Which is why she was one of our phone people. And they would just tell her about their problems. And of course them being in their early twenties, their problems mostly revolved around dating, money or dating. I think that was pretty much what she talked to them about. But she was there to act as a mom.

Paul Green:
She was an unofficial mom for them. And I didn’t realise how important that role is, especially when you’ve got younger people. If you think back to what you were like in your twenties. Well, I think what I was like in my twenties and what a nightmare I was. I genuinely don’t think I grew up until I was 30. And in fact, well, I got married at 30, 29 30, something like that, and had a child at 35. And obviously having children really matures you. In fact, that’s when my hair started to go grey. But I think back to my twenties, and I was very not mature. I wouldn’t say immature, but a very not mature person. And actually the radio stations that I worked at throughout my twenties, there was often a business mom. Like there was Carol in Peterborough. And who was there in Northampton? I guess there would’ve been Heidi in Northampton.

Paul Green:
And these were people who had whatever roles they had, but their unofficial role was just looking after the young people and just making sure that the young people were getting good life advice. So if you’ve got a whole bunch of young people in your business, ask yourself this. Who’s the business mom? Because by the way, it’s not you. You can’t be the business mom or the business dad, because you are the leader. And that means you’re the strict parent. You’re the one who is pushing them to get things done. You can’t be the business mom and the strict parent. You can’t be the good cop and the bad cop in one package. It doesn’t work like that. You need someone who is not the leader, not the boss. But someone with a relative amount of maturity and experience. And so, that’s going to be someone over the age of 30, definitely someone who’s married, definitely someone who’s had kids. Because just going through all of that, gives them a level of maturity that we don’t have in our twenties.

Paul Green:
So if you have a lot of young people in your business, the next time you are hiring for a role, ask yourself, how can I get an older person in? How can I get a mom in? And I do think women are better at this role than men. It is, I think that motherly tendency. I’m not being positively sexist here. It’s just an observation from having done this within my business. But it’s something to very much keep top of mind the next time you’re hiring for a future role.

Voiceover:
Paul’s blatant plug.

Paul Green:
We talk about lots of different things on this podcast. And did you know, you can get direct support from me personally, implementing all of this stuff in your business? And it’s completely free. You can join me in my community. It’s a Facebook group just for MSPs. And it’s about MSP marketing. We tend to talk about business growth stuff as well. We’ve got more than 1600 MSPs already in there. Why not come and join us? Grab your phone right now, fire up the Facebook app, go into the search bar at the top, and type in MSP marketing. Just make sure you go over to groups and you should see my little face. Prod my face with your finger and you can apply to join that group. Now, please don’t do that if you’re a vendor. Because this is a vendor free zone. But MSPs are very welcome to come and discuss marketing in the MSP marketing Facebook group.

Voiceover:
The big interview.

Shoaib Laher:
Hi I’m Shoaib Laher. I am the founder and CEO of As A Service. It is a business founded specifically to support MSPs, help them deliver better service to their customers, reduce their overhead, and increase their operational ability.

Paul Green:
Look at you getting a pitch right in at the start of the interview. That deserves a round of applause, that does. That’s very good. So look, we’re going to come back and talk about As A Service later on. Because it is a newish venture for you. I know you’ve been up and running for some time and you’re trying to bring something new to an established market. And that’s kind of interesting. And I want to talk about that. But before we do, I want to talk about the differences between UK MSPs, US MSPs and in fact MSPs all around the world. Now I work with MSPs. I’ve got MSPs on our MSP marketing edge. I think we’re in about 15 different countries now. So predominantly we’re UK and US. That’s where the bulk of our clients are. But we do see massive differences between the countries. Now you’ve worked in several different countries, and you indeed yourself, you work with MSPs in other countries.

Shoaib Laher:
Yeah.

Paul Green:
What kind of differences do you see in the way that MSPs work around the world?

Shoaib Laher:
Yes, it’s a great start, to get into it. I think the key difference for me is the maturity level in MSPs, particularly here in the UK/London versus certainly the east coast of the US. MSPs operating in London, in specific are far more mature in the services they deliver to their clients. If I look back to what MSPs did 15, 20 years ago, it was a very simple service. Something was broken, you fixed it. A customer needed a new project deployed, you deployed it. And that’s where the service stopped. And how you pulled for that service varied from MSP to MSP. Some on fixed cost, some would profit out of customers’ rebuy, by charging an hourly rate when things went wrong.

Shoaib Laher:
But MSPs in the UK have progressed significantly since those early days. In the US, surprisingly, not so much. Culturally, it is very different out there. I find that MSPs are not as nimble and as quick in everything they do, service delivery and everything else, but also the services they offer, services around virtual CIOs, strategy, business analysis. It just doesn’t seem to exist on that side of the pond.

Paul Green:
Yeah.

Shoaib Laher:
And it’s not to say that MSPs are not aware that they should be delivering this. They’re just slightly behind the curve. So they’re not in that maturity level as their UK counterparts are.

Paul Green:
Yeah, no, I should clarify that nothing you’re saying here is intended to be offensive to any MSP anywhere.

Shoaib Laher:
No, no, no, no.

Paul Green:
No, no. The only reason I’m clarifying that is, as I’m listening to your answer, I’m thinking, this is really interesting. However, it isn’t meant to be offensive. It’s showing how actually companies with the same name, the same title of this is what we do, is actually completely different in different countries. We’ve noticed that UK MSPs operate in a completely different way to within the US. A lot of that is actually to do, we see, with billings. So in the UK, MSPs don’t seem to be able to charge as much per user as MSPs in the US do.

Shoaib Laher:
Yes.

Paul Green:
What do you think causes all of this disparity? Because everyone’s essentially doing the same kind of work and working with the same kind of end clients. So what causes such disparity between the countries?

Shoaib Laher:
I think number one, are the market conditions out there. I’ve got a couple of clients out in Manhattan and it’s just the cost of service out there is significantly larger than it is in London. Equally, the salaries out there are as high. But again, if you’re looking at the US east coast and you compare DC, Washington DC to New York, again, it’s very, very different. So one the market conditions out there, he revenue generated by businesses out there and what they’re willing to pay for services. But the variance is jaw dropping. To give you more of an indication, Paul, I would benchmark a per seat cost roughly in London at about £60 per user/per device. In New York, that’s north of $150. So it’s quite a-

Paul Green:
Which is more than double, isn’t it? That’s more than double £60.

Shoaib Laher:
Yeah. Exactly. Exactly.

Paul Green:
Yeah. When you to compare the currencies.

Shoaib Laher:
And here’s the kicker. MSPs out there in the enviable position of charging more for doing less. And while the market is saturated out there, it’s not as saturated as it is in London. So there’s a lot of opportunity out there. And come to your point earlier about MSP’s taking offense. I don’t think any of the MSPs out there would. Because this is not news to them. A lot of them are aware. I was actually in New York, two, three weeks back meeting some prospective clients and meeting my clients out there. And everything that we are discussing now was said to them, and it’s not news to them. They are wise to the fact that they are behind the curve. But instead of sulking and going, “Oh God, what are we doing wrong?” The right MSPs are seeing it as an opportunity, going, here’s an opportunity to offer services that we don’t before, and monetise those services over and above the margins we already make.

Paul Green:
Yeah. That’s really interesting. It’s funny, you said earlier, you said that those MSPs, particularly in that kind of New York area are charging more to do less. And I should think there’s quite a lot of people listening to this, nodding their heads, going, “Hmm. That’s a good business model. I like that business model.” But you’ve actually predicted my next question, which was where you’ve got a bunch of MSPs who are perfectly aware that they are a little bit behind the curve in terms of what the market is demanding from them, and what they’re delivering, that creates opportunity. So are you already seeing some MSPs take a proactive step in saying, right, we need to up our game?

Shoaib Laher:
Yes, and no. So I’m seeing, I spent probably couple of weeks ago I spent a week there, and I must have met anywhere north of 20 to 25 MSPs that week. And some of them are seeing that opportunity. Some of them are seeing that opportunity to monetise it in the wrong way. Because, you could easily get this wrong. You could see that opportunity and try to profit off it, but then come across as an MSP that’s just trying to price gouge their customers, which some of them sadly did use that approach. Others saw this as an opportunity to deliver more service within the cost they were doing. So looking out for the customer, realising that they were charging a fair amount, but not delivering the service in line with the cost. And one of the things they looked at was just client services.

Shoaib Laher:
So if I look at MSPs here in London, every reputable MSP has a client service team or an account management team doing QBRs and checking in with the customers, and making sure that the non-technical side of the delivery is on point. In New York, not so much. Specifically with the smaller MSPs, sub 5 million revenue owner run and managed. The trend I saw there were the owners doing that side of the business, doing the account management, doing the client services, which then left them less focused on the important sides of the business, revenue generation, customer experience, making sure that from a direction point of view, they were selling the right technology stack and building their business. And I’m sure that’ll resonate with a lot of the smaller MSPs listening in, is that the owners tend to get stuck in the weeds when delivering service and not enough focus on the important parts of the business. So I saw a lot of that out there in New York. Less so here in London and the UK.

Paul Green:
Yeah. So here’s an interesting question for you. In a few weeks time in the podcast, we will have a guest called Harold Mann. Now I know this because I actually recorded my interview with Harold yesterday.

Shoaib Laher:
Okay.

Paul Green:
Sometimes I record these interviews out of, we work so far ahead on the podcast. We’re recording interviews all the time. And it’s not unusual for me to record an interview that isn’t broadcast for three to four months. One of the things that Harold Mann is going to say in a few weeks time, he’s based in San Francisco, is he used the opportunity of the very first lockdown back in March, April, 2020. He used that as an opportunity to change the way he did service for his clients. So essentially they completely stopped doing… I’m spoiling the interview now. They completely stopped doing any onsite work at all.

Paul Green:
And he also used it as an opportunity to start to hire people who would very rarely come into the office. So rather than just having a small band of techs available to him in the San Francisco area, he now has theoretically techs, the whole world over available to him. And lots of MSPs have gone down this route in the last couple of years. So with that in mind, with the fact that you can now higher techs anywhere, and also you can genuinely support clients anywhere. You’ve always been able to remotely support clients, but it was really that lockdown that made it okay for the clients, from their point of view, that it was okay to just have remote work.

Paul Green:
Do you think, and I’m asking you to look in your crystal ball here, if you go forward five, 10 years, do you see the MSP services offered around the world, all levelling out? Because you could have a company in Manhattan that could hire an MSP in London to look after it. They no longer need to go to… Not even just a New York company, not even a US company, but they could just go international from day one.

Shoaib Laher:
Yeah. Yes and no. It’s actually interesting, you ask this question. One of the MSPs I’m working out there with, he’s Manhattan based. He’s been based in Manhattan for 10, 12 years. The owner himself doesn’t live in Manhattan. He lives further out near Long Island. And he’s got a really nice office. Probably one of the better offices I saw out there. And when I visited him, he said, you know what? This is really bizarre. It’s the first time in, I think he said seven or eight months, he’s actually been into the office.

Shoaib Laher:
And similarly, he’s talking to me. [inaudible 00:28:40] my business. But he’s talking to me about the sourcing engineers from abroad. And that’s something I’m helping him with. But I think there’s another element to this. It’s the services that are consumed by MSP clients. And one of the things that I think a lot of MSPs were quietly grateful for during the lockdowns that we had over the last few years, is that it prompted their clients to take advice that they were offering to their clients years before. Specifically on getting rid of on premise infrastructure and going to the cloud. And once your client is heavily cloud based, then yes, you can support that client from anywhere in the world. If I look forward into the crystal ball in 10 years, I can very well see a client in New York supported by an MSP in Asia, in Africa, in the UK.

Shoaib Laher:
But I don’t think we will ever completely negate the requirement for an on-premise engineer. Somebody to roll up their sleeves and go to site. For two reasons. One is, if the Internet’s down and you can’t get an IP, you need somebody on site. But two, from a client service point of view, there has to be that physical presence checking in with a customer, albeit technical or non-technical. Because I think that’s the differentiator in the service is, MSPs are, what we sell are hours and time. It’s very service driven. And when you are selling a service to a customer and nobody’s ever there to check in with them physically, and we saw this over COVID lockdowns. Teams, meetings, Google meet meetings, somebody always on mute.

Shoaib Laher:
That was always a standard. But the thing is that everyone I spoke to went, you know what, our day to day work, sitting behind a PC, closing tickets, writing up strategy docs, all of that sort of stuff. Yes, you can absolutely do that remotely. There’s no reason for anyone to be sat in front of a PCO or Mac at an office doing that. But the meetings, the interactions, the collaboration, that still needs to be in person. So I can very much see MSPs supporting clients abroad. But what I’m seeing a lot of is in conjunction with MSPs that are in territory. So they would use the kind of remote hands and feet of a partner MSP. And there’s actually businesses out now that are building out those networks to be able to facilitate that sort of support model.

Paul Green:
Yeah. Which leads very nicely to my final question, which is about what you have created. So you’ve created a business called As A Service. Tell us, what you do for MSPs? And finally, tell us how we can get in touch with you.

Shoaib Laher:
In my past life, I took an MSP from 14 people making less than 200 grand a year. It’s 150 to 50 people. And we were a touch over 50… 50 million. I wish. £5 million revenue. I exited the business a few years ago. But the game changer for us, where we saw profitability, and operational cost dropped, came through a happy coincidence. One of the senior people in the business was married to a South African woman. Wise choice. I’m South African, as you can tell by the accent. And she wanted to move back to South Africa. So he went along with her and he ran what effectively was our noc, our systems team as we called it. And we realised very quickly that you didn’t need to be in London to be able to patch servers and check backup status and all of that sort of stuff.

Shoaib Laher:
So he built a little team out in South Africa, doing exactly what he did in London. And this was the kicker. We realised that what we were paying for a junior engineer in London, we were getting a highly qualified, highly experienced senior engineer in South Africa for the same or even less. So we then decided, let’s start picking up a few tickets out in South Africa. And that snowballed. And we started then running our entire service desk out there. And then we started doing our management administration out there. And again, coming back to the operational cost, huge reduction, but we managed to staff up. And as many MSPs will know, it’s fairly chicken and egg. You want to get new business, but in order to get new business, you need to make sure that operationally you are able to support those businesses.

Shoaib Laher:
So then you hire in engineers, and then you’ve got the overhead of paying these engineers and looking after them. And if that new business doesn’t come, you could very, very quickly see your profitability erode, and your business start to falter. This allowed us to staff up quite significantly with very, very minimal cost. And that’s the business I’ve put together. Offering MSPs, that ability, using my network out in South Africa, offering them support desk services out in South Africa, knock services out in South Africa. A reflection of the cost that it would cost them in London and New York.

Shoaib Laher:
I think what differentiates me though from competitors is the service element. I offer a client service and strategy as a service as well. Hence, the name. Again at what I would like to call a knock down cost. And it’s cheaper than hiring service managers out in London or New York. And that’s the crux of As A Service. We offer support desk, knock and client services, as a service. So the MSPs don’t have the overhead of employing and managing staff, number one. We do all of that for them. But number two, it costs significantly less.

Paul Green:
Okay. And what’s the best way to get in touch with you?

Shoaib Laher:
By the website asaservice.support. All our details are on there. You can have a read on what we do, how we do it, and speak to us via the website.

Paul Green:
Fantastic. Right. You and I are now going to jump over to YouTube, where we’re going to continue our extended interview. So there’s a number of things I want to pick up from this interview. So I want to look at how you… That MSP that you were in, that you joined, which had, I think you said 14 staff and you left. When you left, it had 50 staff. I want to explore exactly what you did to grow that.

Shoaib Laher:
Sure.

Paul Green:
I also want to have a look at why you started this new business. Many people get out of an MSP, and the last thing on their mind is doing more of the same. So we’ll explore why you’ve done that. And it’d be interesting as well, to look at cultural differences. So you said that you’ve essentially got outsourced knocks, which I assume means that there’s not so much help desk support for end users for, for the end decision makers. But it’d be interesting to look at cultural differences, because as we all know, different people in different countries act and think differently and it sometimes can be a challenge for us, sort of meshing those together. So you and I are going to continue that conversation right now at youtube.com/mspmarketing.

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

Nick Rubright:
Hey guys, my name’s Nick Rubright. I’m from New Age Marketing. And the book I’d recommend is: Your Life Isn’t For You: a Selfish Person’s Guide to Being Selfless. A lot of marketing comes down to giving to the other person. I found it helpful to remove myself from my own selfishness, to come up with better marketing campaigns that are more designed around giving to the prospect rather than selfish gain.

Voiceover:
Coming up next week.

Cassandra Morgan:
Hi, I’m Cassandra Morgan. I am an award-winning author and the HR manager for an MSP. Next week, I’m going to talk to you about why you should write your own MSP book, and how you can harness the power of your expertise in your community.

Paul Green:
Do subscribe wherever you listen to this podcast, so that you never miss an episode. That was Cassandra Morgan. She’s going to be here next week, and she’s a published author and a coach to other authors. But she also works at an MSP. So she understands our world, and we’ll discuss next week why books are some of the most powerful marketing tools that you can use. We’re also going to be talking about using live calendars, to be more efficient with your technicians time, and how to think like a prospect. I’ve got a very clever tactic for you to help you get in the mindset of the ordinary business owners and managers that you want to reach.

Paul Green:
Now we have a ton of extra content on YouTube. We’ve got the extended interview from this week. That’s already there now. And on Thursday we’ll be publishing the latest episode of another bite. It’s our YouTube show about this podcast. All of that at youtube.com/mspmarketing. Join me next Tuesday and have a very profitable week in your MSP.

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

 

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