A powerful FREE dashboard for ConnectWise

Episode 15: A powerful FREE dashboard for ConnectWise

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Episode 15: A powerful FREE dashboard for ConnectWise

 
 
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In this week’s episode

  • If you use ConnectWise, there’s an extremely powerful and FREE tool that can extract and display information in a way you may never have seen before. Paul’s joined by the Joe Pannone to explain more about CWDash
  • There’s understandably still nervousness around being GDPR compliant (in the UK anyway), however Paul has details about a brilliant service that can not only find you virtually any email address, but also use that email for marketing too
  • Also in the week’s episode Paul discusses the power of taking action. And answers a listener’s question about whether MSPs should use Instagram

Show notes

Episode transcription

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

Paul Green:
Hello and welcome to this week’s show. I’ve got a corker for you this week and this is what’s coming up.

Joe Pannone:
It made a dramatic change. And our clients saw it by the way, they saw it and they loved it. It really, really helped us and most importantly our clients.

Paul Green:
We’re also going to be talking about whether or not you should be using Instagram to get new clients and how to find anyone’s email address and drop them a cold email.

Voiceover:
Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.

Paul Green:
I truly believe that life is better when you are an action orientated individual. And I say this after working quite closely with a lot of business owners for nearly 15 years, and the ones who take action, who get things done, who have an idea and then act on it almost immediately, regardless of what else is happening in their lives, they seem to be the ones who make the most progress. And because they make the most progress, they get the most satisfaction from their businesses, from their lives. And because they get that satisfaction, they take that happiness home and you can see it’s a virtuous circle. Now I do meet a lot of business owners, a huge amount of MSP owners who have really good intentions, and we all have those good intentions sometimes, but they fail to translate them into action. So many people talk about the things they would like to do, but they never get past that stage.

Paul Green:
In fact, it’s one of the reasons that I choose to work only with business owners and high level business managers and not work with employees. Because the few times in my life where I have worked with employees, I just get so frustrated by this, Oh, I’d love to do this someday or I want to do that. And you know, we’re not talking about them going up into space or sculpting a life size Statue of Liberty out of clay. We’re talking about fairly mundane, ordinary things. But it frustrates me when they’re not there taking action. You and I as business owners or as business managers, we should, most of the time, desire something and be able to take action on it so quickly, and it is this action which makes the difference. I’ve said before on this podcast, I don’t consider myself to be particularly highly intelligent.

Paul Green:
I certainly, at school I did okay, but it was only okay. I never actually got off to university, but the thing that has allowed me to achieve things I want to achieve, which by the way is my definition of success. The reason I’ve been able to do that is just purely because of action. I get up early most days to take action. I don’t overthink things. I take action. If I have an idea, I will clear stuff that isn’t as important as that brand new idea, which is suddenly there and woo in my head, and I take action on it. Now, if you’re someone who would like to take more action, there are often some things that typically hold people back from taking enough action. And we do all of us ebb and flow into this. I’m not a 100% action taker all the time.

Paul Green:
When I’m tired, I find it very difficult to take action. But the majority of the time it’s become a way of life for me. And you can make it a way of life for you, because you can train yourself to act differently. Some people don’t take action because they think about stuff too much. Essentially they overthink it. They have an idea, they think, Oh, that’s an amazing idea. And so, they think on it and they sleep on it, and there’s nothing wrong with sleeping on it, but there comes a point where the sleeping has got to stop and the action has got to start. Sometimes it’s fear of failure which stops you from taking action, because if you don’t take action, nothing can change, and if nothing changes, you can’t fail. Does that make sense? That fear of failure is a very real thing for people. They start to think through all the bad things that could happen if they take action on it.

Paul Green:
Do you know what? I’ll be honest, half of the stuff I take action on doesn’t work. It doesn’t pan out. And actually I’m delighted, because when something doesn’t work, especially if it’s a public failure, and I have plenty of public failures. When something doesn’t work, you’ve discovered one way not to do it, and now you can go off and explore different ways of doing it. One of those ways is going to work eventually. That’s typically how it works out. You just need to discover lots of ways if it doesn’t work first. So, overthinking can be a very, very negative and very destructive thing to stop you taking action. Our minds don’t forget our programmed to stop us from failing. This goes right back to when we were cave people, living in caves, fighting others for food. We didn’t want to be seen to be failures because that affected our social standing. But in 2020 failure is good.

Paul Green:
Failure is a great thing. Find an idea, act on it fast, fail fast, and then you can iterate it from there. Something else that stops some people from taking rapid action is the ability to act immediately. Again, this is why I love working with business owners because we can suddenly decide, Whoa, this is a great idea. I want to act on this. I’m going to clear my diary, I’m going to push all the other things to one side. All these projects are on hold, because I want to act on this now, and you know what? Acting on something immediately is a secret of getting things done. People who take action immediately, whether they have a great plan or not, are more likely to succeed with that thing. And this isn’t just in your business, this is in all areas of your life. Have you ever had that moment when you think, God, I’d love to go to, let’s say, the Maldives, and then you immediately find yourself on your laptop, and you’re looking it up and you’re researching it.

Paul Green:
And an hour later you’ve booked that holiday. It’s in your calendar. You’ve fixed it. You’re going to do it and your family are happy and you’re happy. That is what we mean by urgent action taking, and it’s awesome because you’ve gone from having that great idea, to booking it, to it being done instantly. It doesn’t hang around in your head. You don’t have to overthink it. You don’t have to worry about it. You don’t have to have the fear of failure. It’s instant and it’s beautiful. One of the most wonderful side effects of taking action is that it obliterates fear. Fear is something that we all suffer from to various different levels. I certainly know that I suffer from fear if I overthink things, which is why I try to be a very action focused person. If I get stuff done, I don’t have to be afraid. In the business that I sold four years ago, in 2016, there were moments where we had such negative cashflow, where there was so much money going out and just not enough money coming in, that I was gripped with fear.

Paul Green:
What happens if I can’t pay the bills? What happens if I lose a member of my staff? Or worse, what happens if we lose a client? And that fear was incredibly crippling, and the only way I found to get rid of that fear was to take action. If I found myself waking up at 2:00 in the morning worrying about cashflow, I discovered it was better for me to get up, go downstairs, turn my laptop on and do some work. Not just any odd work, but work that would help me get more new clients. Because if your fear is that, if you lose a client you’re screwed. Then taking some action on getting new clients removes that fear. Action is the most wonderful thing to remove fear. And in fact, if you are plagued by fears, whether that’s a longterm thing or just a short term thing, action is the way to get rid of that fear. Because you can’t be fearful of something if you’re taking action to mitigate it.

Paul Green:
The final two things that I’d recommend to you are that, you surround yourself with action takers, and that you make action a daily thing. So, my best friends are all action takers. My best friends, Jonathan, Ed, and all of my other friends, most of whom are business owners, they’re all rapid action takers. I try very hard not to associate myself with people who don’t take rapid action, because that can be contagious. I don’t want to know people who don’t take action. I want people who get it done. I want people who aren’t afraid to have a great idea and stay up three or four hours into the night to do it, if that’s the right thing to do. Remember that you are the sum of the five people that you spend the most time with. Now, I don’t physically see Jonathan and Ed more than two or three times a year, but I’m chatting to them every day. And we’re talking about the things that we want to do and the things that we have done, and we’re surrounding ourselves with action-takers.

Paul Green:
The same with my other friends. So, surrounding yourself with other action takers is really important. They’re probably not going to be your employees, but the other thing is to do daily action taking. Action, taking action is not something you can leave for a once a week thing, it’s got to be a daily thing. You’ve heard me speak before about me getting up at 5:00 AM. I only do it Mondays to Thursdays now, but I get so much done in that time. And my brain has organised itself by the evening, by the morning, so I know exactly what I’m going to do in the mornings to get me closer to my goals. If I can get me closer to my business goals, I’ll get me closer to my lifestyle that I desire. If I get myself closer to that, I don’t feel the fear, and I feel as though I’m moving my life forward and I’m happier. And this is the whole point of action. Taking action makes you happy.

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

Paul Green:
As much as it’s a pain in the backside sometimes, email does have an enormous value, especially, for reaching out to people that you haven’t spoken to before. And in the last couple of months we found a tool, and actually I’ve started using a tool which I think you’ll find very useful to get virtually anyone’s email address. Now the tool is called Hunter.io and that’s the website address as well, Hunter.io. I’ll put that URL into the show notes, and you can use it for a number of different things relating to finding people’s email addresses. So, you can do a domain search, to which you’d literally go into a domain and it shows you all the email addresses of everyone in that company. Or you can use it as an email finder. So, let’s say for example, you’re connected to someone on LinkedIn, you can go in, and you can put their details in there. And Hunter, if it has an email address for them, it will show you what their email address is.

Paul Green:
And you can also use it as an email verifier. So, you can actually pop in an email address you have, or that you think that you have and it will verify that email address for you. Now, there’s a whole different set of tools that you can use as an extension that you can add into Chrome. It’s actually an add on to Google sheets as well, and they have all sorts of integrations and there’s an API. And it’s relatively low priced as well for what it is. There’s a free plan and that’ll allow you to do 50 requests a month. And a request is where you ask for a piece of information. We’re using the starter plan, which is 34 my pricing is euros probably because I’m looking at it from the UK.

Paul Green:
That’s 34 euros a month. We’ve actually bought a year’s worth and we can do a thousand requests a month. We can also export CSVs and we can do some campaigns as well. And this is where I think Hunter has its real value. You see, we’ve got a whole bunch of old email addresses that I’ve bought over the years. So, I want to reach more MSPs. I want to tell people about this podcast and my book and my Facebook group, and I want to welcome them into my audiences. You want to do exactly the same thing. You want to welcome people that you want to do business with into your audiences. So, I’m actually using Hunter to validate and to clean up old email addresses that I’ve got. So, we’ve got, I mean, thousands of email addresses in the States and in the UK, and we’re feeding these into Hunter, a thousand at a time.

Paul Green:
So, we’re doing a thousand a month. We’re asking Hunter to validate those, to clean those up for us. And then because they have cold email campaigning abilities, we’re then going to send some cold emails to those people. Now for those people based in the UK and in Europe, yes, this is GDPR compliant, because it is using email addresses which are out there. And you can read more on Hunter’s website about the GDPR compliance about it, but I’m certainly quite relaxed about that compliance. What it does, is it doesn’t email from its own servers. It actually integrates with a Gmail account. So, of course I recommend that you set up a brand new Gmail account for this, so you’re not doing any damage to any existing domain names you have. But I would pop a domain name in there rather than using a Gmail address. And you can get Hunter to send cold emails for you.

Paul Green:
Now you can either do that to send people emails, just to have a chat with them, or what you might do is try and clean up those emails by getting them to opt into your email campaign, to your MailChimp or your MailerLite perhaps. And there’s lots and lots of different ways that you would use it, but certainly we found in the last couple of months this to be quite a handy tool. If only because, even though people don’t reply to emails all the time, once you’ve got someone’s email address, it is a lot easier to try to start a conversation with them. So go and have a look at Hunter.io. I’m sure there are other services around that you found… I would love to know actually what you think of this, if you do start using it, even if it’s just the free one. Or if you use a competitor and you think a competing product is better. Do you know, just drop me an email and let me know it’s hello@paulgreensmspmarketing.com.

Voiceover:
Paul’s blatant plug.

Paul Green:
Now if you like the idea of tools like hunter.io, and you’re based in the UK, I’ve got a way for you to meet up with me and I’ve got a whole series of different things that I will share with you. You see every week or so I put on, what is essentially, it’s a lunch and learn. It’s an MSP marketing lunch and I’m doing them all across the country. I’ve been doing it for the last couple of months. I’ve got about another two and a half months left to go before we end this current tour. And it’s a chance for you to meet with me and let me just fill you up with ideas. Ideas of how to market your MSP, how to get more new clients, how to get those clients to choose to buy more from you, to turn them into more monthly recurring revenue and ultimately into more net profit. Because that’s the goal of any business. Net profit. That’s what you spend. So, let’s talk about how you can generate more net profit in your business.

Paul Green:
So, as I say, these lunches are completely free. I ask you to give me three hours of your time. I will reward you with so much information, so much knowledge. And it’s based on what other MSPs have been doing as well by the way. This isn’t theoretical stuff. This is all practical stuff that other MSPs have done. And I will show you what they have done and how you can replicate this in your business. We’re going all around the UK, I’ll tell you where to see the locations in a second. And it is completely free. Now, there’s no catch to it being free. It’s just a good chance for you and me to meet.

Paul Green:
Because if we spend three hours in each other’s company, you, me, and a bunch of other MSPs, maybe we’ll go on to do some work together down the line. I’ve met hundreds of MSPs this way, and many of them have gone on to work with me. Some of them haven’t. That’s absolutely fine. But this is a great way to move our relationship forward. So, if you want to see all the locations and the timings and the venues that we’ve picked, and how easy we’ve made it for you with easy parking and stuff, all you’ve got to do is go onto the website. It’s paulgreensmspmarketing.com/lunch. That’s paulgreensmspmarketing.com/lunch.

Voiceover:
The big interview.

Joe Pannone:
Hi, I’m Joe Pannone. I’m CEO of Forza Technology Solutions. We’re in the Northeast United States, in Connecticut. We have a great product for MSPs that’s free, called CWDash. It’s the ConnectWise management business intelligence platform.

Paul Green:
When I interviewed Joe, he told me his frustrations when he owned his own MSP. That he had all this information sat in ConnectWise, but he couldn’t get it out in a way which was meaningful and useful for him. And I asked him to tell me how he fixed that problem.

Joe Pannone:
My management came to me, this was in 2007, we got ConnectWise and Kaseya at the same time. So, it was a big undertaking to our systems. And within months my management came to me and said, if we’re going to do this right, we need better visibility, we need more real time interaction on things like, how many tickets are open per technician, how many tickets are open and not closed for each company, how many hours have been used in an agreement and in a particular time in the month. These kinds of questions that you had to go into ConnectWise and look at the report and see it. They’d rather see it up on a large monitor in front of them.

Joe Pannone:
Another big one was, every MSP that I’ve talked to has an issue of their technicians putting their time in. And so, we have a very big dashboard that shows the exact time when the technicians put in their time. And if it’s noon on a Thursday, hopefully they have, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday all their time in, and then half the day on Thursday. So, this is some of the information that management wanted to see in real time.

Paul Green:
And how did it change how you ran the business? Having that information there on the screen in front of you in real time.

Joe Pannone:
No time was slipping through the cracks. We were able to invoice right out of the same system. It was very efficient, but still my management saw the need to take it a bit further. What was in the package and still is, isn’t enough. We have certain standard operating practices. SOPs – when a technician has more than five tickets open, dispatch knows about it, they get right on it. They find out what the problem is. And we have people responsible for each of those numbers and what exactly happens when the threshold is met. So, it made a dramatic change. And our clients saw it by the way, they saw it and they loved it, and it really, really helped us and most importantly, our clients.

Paul Green:
So, fast forward a number of years and, now that same functionality is available to any MSP who uses ConnectWise via CWDash, which is of course your product. So, how did it go from being something you used in your MSP, to something that you made available to thousands of MSPs?

Joe Pannone:
We used it internally. It was doing really well. I’m in a peer group, then called HTG, and now called IT Nation Evolve. And I inadvertently showed some of these dashboards in one of our meetings. My peers stopped and they said, “What are those? What are those dashboards?” And I said, all this is stuff that we’ve been doing internally. And they said, “We you want these, why don’t you make them for us?” And they beta tested it and they convinced us to go to market. So, in 2010 we released CWDash. CW for ConnectWise, Dash for dashboard. We packaged it up and we officially launched it in 2010.

Paul Green:
And how many MSPs rely on this now, Joe?

Joe Pannone:
Well, right now we have over 6,000 MSPs. The dramatic change that happened in 2015, we had vendors that we deal with come to us and say, we want to advertise in this, let us advertise to these MSPs. So, we changed the model and it’s now free. It’s free to the MSPs, with advertising. There is a paid version that you can remove the ads, it’s the same exact functionality. But overwhelming majority use the free version. And we have over 6,000 MSPs worldwide that use CWDash. We get about a hundred new a month that come on, and we enjoy their success and we enjoy the feedback.

Paul Green:
That’s a beautiful success story, it really is. Now, obviously, back end of last year we saw ConnectWise acquire BrightGauge at the same time they acquired Continuum, which I believe is a similar kind of product to yours. It’s a dashboard for ConnectWise. Now that they’ve got their own products, does it concern you that that might have some impact on CWDash?

Joe Pannone:
BrightGauge is a tremendous product. It’s web based, it has multi sources so it just doesn’t get from ConnectWise, it gets from, last time I looked over 50 different sources. So, it’s a very different product. It is a dash boarding product. So, when we compare CWDash to the ConnectWise portion of BrightGauge, they’re very different. CWDash is a Windows application. It does not download any of the MSPs ConnectWise information. BrightGauge and some others are in a browser. So, they have to get all the MSPs, ConnectWise information, bring it to their cloud and then display it. So, ours is real time in a Windows application, doing read only calls to the database and then displaying them. So, the technology, privacy in the real time are the big difference. Now, ConnectWise had acquired BrightGauge through the Continuum acquisition. ConnectWise continues to evangelise CWDash. The plumbing is completely different and there’s benefits to both. And we’re enjoying the relationship.

Paul Green:
Okay, thank you Joe. So, for ConnectWise users, where’s the best place for them to see CWDash in action, and to sign up for their free access to it?

Joe Pannone:
Absolutely. Cwdash.com. CW for ConnectWise, Dash short for dashboard, has hundreds of videos. Go ahead and get it. Just click on it. You will have to complete a quick survey. Now, one thing I should mention, if you’re hosted ConnectWise in their cloud, you do need a layer that they offer called cloud data access. ConnectWise offers this to allow direct access to the hosted version of their offering. So, if you’re on prem, you don’t need anything. But if you are on ConnectWise host, their cloud, you do need something called cloud data access, and it’s all explained there on the website. But Cwdash.com is the website.

Joe Pannone:
I would really, really enjoy after you get the application to send the survey, has my link on it, has my calendar. Please click on, I would love to walk through with you. Once you see your own data in a very different way, I really, really enjoy that conversation and that banter. How an MSP is seeing some of this information for the first time in such a different way. ConnectWise is holding so much information, and sometimes they don’t realise it. So, it’s really rewarding when it can really help them.

Paul Green:
Thanks Joe. Now we’re going to try something new on this week’s podcast. You see, after I recorded my interview with Joe, I then went on to record a video with him actually going into the details of what’s in CWDash. And I’ve just made that video live on my website. So, it’s like a deep dive if you like. If you go to paulgreensmspmarketing.com, make sure you put that s in. So, paulgreens with the s, mspmarketing.com. And click on my blog. It’s there in the navigation, and you’ll see today a brand new blog post going live with that video with Joe showing you CWDash. By the way if you want to get more content like that, because we’re going to do a few more deep dives in the weeks ahead, but if you want to get all my content delivered to you, just join my email list. It’s very simple. It tells you there on the blog how you can do it, and in fact I’ll send you a free copy of my book as well.

Voiceover:
Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast. Ask Paul anything.

Claudia:
Hello, my name is Claudia. Should I be using Instagram?

Paul Green:
That’s an easy one to answer, Claudia. So, thank you for that question. The easy answer is, no, probably. And I’ll tell you why. Instagram is a consumer marketing tool. So, if you’re trying to reach B2B, you’re trying to reach other businesses, it’s not necessarily a tool that you would use. However, there is one caveat and one exception that goes with that. If the kind of businesses that you want to reach use Instagram themselves, so for example, restaurants, retail businesses, other hospitality like hotels. If they are using Instagram to reach their clients, then maybe there is an opportunity for you to use Instagram to reach them.

Paul Green:
And it depends on the size of the business. If the owner or the manager is sat on Instagram every day doing marketing on Instagram, then wouldn’t it be a sensible thing for you to be doing exactly the same thing. Does that make sense? Yeah. The reason that LinkedIn works so well as a B2B marketing platform, is because other businesses are sat on LinkedIn using it every single day or using it on a regular basis. It’s exactly the same principle with Instagram. I worked with a small number of MSPs who use Instagram. I’ve got one that sells VoIP phones to dentists. I’ve got another that does normal support for vets, veterinarians and they’re using Instagram because it’s what their target audience uses. So, I mean, there’s a general marketing principle in this. Which is, wherever the people you want to reach, wherever they are, wherever they hang out, that’s where you do your marketing.

Voiceover:
How to contribute to the show.

Paul Green:
Without wanting to sound like a big head. There’s virtually no MSP marketing question that I couldn’t answer. So, what do you want to ask me? You can either record it as an audio file, perhaps an MP3, and send that over to me off your phone. Or you can just drop me an email and I’ll read your question out for you. The address is hello@paulgreensmspmarketing.com.

Voiceover:
Coming up next week.

Glenn Robertson:
Vendors want to sell as much of their stuff as possible. And the MSP or the partner that can help that is going to be the one that’s well-treated.

Paul Green:
That’s Glenn Robertson from Purechannels. He’s back on the podcast next week, talking about how you can get all of your marketing done for you completely free. We’re also going to be talking about doing strategic reviews with clients over lunch, and all the things you need to get right to make that a very profitable lunch for you. And why switching from one MSP to another is such a big deal for clients. And how to build a relationship with them years before they’re ready to even think about that switch.

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

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