Welcome to the MSP Marketing Podcast with me, Paul Green. This is THE show if you want to grow your MSP. This week’s show includes:
00:00 How a ‘stop doing’ list can supercharge your productivity
04:40 Set yourself up for sales success by taking control of the meeting environment
15:27 Understanding the implications of cyber insurance
Thank you to Doug Kreitzberg, Founder & CEO of SeedPod Cyber, for joining me to talk about cyber insurance, and helping MSPs understand and protect against cyber risk.
In 2018, Doug founded a cybersecurity and data privacy risk consulting firm. It was through his consulting practice that he learned the value that Managed Service Providers bring to small and medium sized businesses.
That insight formed the basis for SeedPod Cyber, a cyber insurance managing general agency Kreitzberg founded in 2021 which partners with Managed Service Providers to provide cyber insurance to their clients.
Connect with Doug on LinkedIn:
Extra show notes:
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- You can listen to my interview with Brian Gillette about improving your sales here:
- And here’s my interview with Fiona Challis, talking about breaking your sales process down to a set of step-by-step instructions:
- Got a question from the show? Email me directly: hello@
- Grab yourself a copy of this week’s recommended book, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? How to drive your career and create a remarkable future:
Fresh every Tuesday for MSPs around the world, this is Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.
Hey, hello, and welcome back to the show. This is what we’ve got in store for you this week.
Hi, I’m Doug Kreitzberg. I’m a cyber insurance expert and I’ll teach you enough about cyber insurance to know how to integrate it with the solutions that you’re providing your clients so that you can be successful and your clients can be better insured.
And on top of that interview with Doug, we’re also going to be talking about sales meetings. We started a short series last week and looked at how to influence your prospects before you even meet them. Today, we’re looking at making the meeting itself so much more successful.
Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.
We’re all busy people, aren’t we? I’m busy, you’re busy, everyone’s busy. We’ve always got things that we’re doing. We’re always multitasking. Even now, you are probably listening to this podcast while weeding the garden or running or walking the dog or driving somewhere or you’re doing something else, and in fact, audio like this, it’s designed to be listened to in the background. That’s okay, but actually, when it comes to doing our work, and especially for you, I know that for you, the temptation to do six things at once is massive because actually, while you’re setting up a new user and you’ve got to delay here.
You can switch to another task and you can do this and then you can pick up a sales call, and so you’ve got 25 things that you do, and in fact, maybe you are overly reliant on a particular productivity app. I am. I know. I use Todoist. I love Todoist. I would marry Todoist. I would not just marry Todoist. I would take it on a really expensive honeymoon that I could not afford. That’s how much I love it. So I use and have used Todoist for well over a decade and I use it all day, every day as my list of things to do. I am a slave to Todoist. If my account was wiped, was hacked and wiped, I literally wouldn’t know what to do. I wouldn’t know how to get out of bed in the morning.
That’s how much I love it, and you probably have an app similar to that. Here’s the thing though, maybe, just maybe you and I, as productive as we may feel, maybe instead of having a to-do list or a to-do app, maybe we should have a stop doing list. Let me explain what I mean by this. There are probably a series of things that you do in your business that really, you personally shouldn’t do. I know I have those things as well. There are things that we shouldn’t be doing like admin, any form of admin, and I know it’s easy for you as an MSP to try and hang on to some level of the admin because it makes you feel like you’ve got some level of control, particularly invoicing.
If you haven’t yet completely automated all of your invoicing, and I know it’s hard when licenses go up and down and things change and you sell projects and unsell them, but if you find yourself in QuickBooks or Xero making adjustments yourself, that’s a mistake. That’s something you shouldn’t be doing. If you find yourself doing any kind of level one work, first line work, there’s plenty of other people that can do that for you. In fact, there’s a whole ton of things that you and I should not be doing. Maybe unless you’re driving right now, you could make a list, or maybe just as you’re going through today, through the next week, make a list.
Keep a list on your phone or on a good old-fashioned pad, writing down the things that you know you really shouldn’t be doing. As you do a task and you think, yeah, I’m the highest, most capable, highest paid maybe, most capable person in the business definitely, why am I doing these particular tasks? As that thought occurs to you, write those tasks down and actually, that then becomes your stop doing list. This is then the most exciting list in the whole business because now your mission as the leader and the person who should be spending most of their time driving the business.
Your mission now is to find someone else to do all of those tasks so that you don’t have to. You may have heard me say this before if you’re a longtime listener, but if not, take this sentence I’m about to say, get it tattooed on your head in mirror writing, reverse writing so when you look in a mirror, it will make sense. This is the sentence: you should only do what only you can do. You should only do what only you can do, and for everything else, there’s someone within your business or some outsourced person or freelancer out there that can do it for you.
Here’s this week’s clever idea.
Last week, we started a little miniseries all about sales meeting we’re doing before the meeting, during the meeting, that’s today, and then next week, we’re going to do after the meeting, the follow-up and the proposal. So if you haven’t heard last week’s show yet, please do go back and have a listen to that. I talked about something called pre-suasion, which is where you attempt to influence your prospect, the person you’re meeting before you actually meet them, and we also talked about some practical elements of preparing for the meeting. Now today, I want to talk about the meeting itself and I’m going to give a caveat with this, which is I’m not a salesperson, I’m not a sales trainer.
There are some great people out there, people like Brian Gillette who has been on the show within the last year or so. There’s Fiona Challis. There’s loads of really great sales trainers out there who will give you so much more information and advice than I will, but one of the things that I can talk about just based off the selling that I’ve done myself over the last couple of decades, makes me feel old, and just talking to MSPs as well, what can you do? How can you set up a meeting environment for success? Well, the very first thing is to try to choose and influence exactly where you’re going to meet with someone.
The last place that you want to have a sales meeting is their office, literally, the place where they have a desk and a computer because there are too many distractions surrounding them in their office. It is their environment. I once had a sales meeting, what was the guy’s name? I can’t remember. It was back when I had a general marketing and PR business, and I was sat talking to this guy and we were sat either side of his desk. Well, actually, I was sat at the side. So he was sat behind his desk and I was sat at the side, and I knew that sales was about asking questions more than it was talking, so I was asking him questions about his business and he was just distracted.
He kept looking at his computer and tapping on things, and you know when someone’s answering, but their mind, they’re on kind of autopilot answer and his answers didn’t really make sense, and I shuffled in my seat and managed to just catch a glimpse of what he was looking at because I thought, I’m going to have to address this. This is ridiculous. I’ve driven an hour for this meeting and this guy’s basically being rude, and he was betting, he was gambling. He was actually, he had open the William Hill website, which is like a gambling shop here in the UK and he was betting on horses, and as I looked and saw that he was doing it, he clocked me looking and he realized that I knew, and as you can imagine, he didn’t become a client.
Anyway, I’m sure there was some kind of issue going off there, but that’s not the only reason that you don’t want them sat behind their desk. The desk in itself is actually a barrier between the two of you. If you think about it, if you’re sitting one side of a desk and they’re sitting the other side with their arms folded and there’s this big expansive, compressed, medium fiber, wood, metal, whatever their desk is made of, there’s this big expanse between you. We’re trying to start a 20-year partnership here. We’re trying to start something that’s going to be lovely, that’s going to involve them giving you hundreds of thousands of dollars or pounds to you over a number of years.
And we can’t start that when we’re sat opposite each other like opponents. So we’ve got to make sure that that meeting happens in a more neutral environment. Now, a meeting room at their building is fine so long as it is a place where people go to meet. If a meeting room doesn’t work, then maybe you would go for a hotel lounge or some other environment. You don’t want it to be cheap and cheerful, you don’t want it to be too expensive, but you’ve got to try to find that right place that would suit you where you would feel comfortable and where they would feel comfortable, but it is critical to get them out of their own environment.
I have to say I prefer meeting, I don’t do sales meetings myself having them for many years, but when I did, I preferred to meet people away from their building because when they’re in the building, their staff will knock on the door and interrupt your sales meeting to give them an unimportant message. The most important thing they can do while they’re talking to you is to listen to you, to open up about their business, and mentally and emotionally commit to buying from your MSP, and they can’t do that if there’s a little knock at the door. I’m sorry to bother you. It’s just, there’s a phone call from a client who’s 1% unhappy and we don’t know what to do, or we’ve run out of milk or whatever it is, that you can’t sell in that kind of environment.
So if you can, get them out of your building. Now the other thing to remember is when you sit with them, do you remember I was saying about not sitting opposite them with a desk? I think you should try and sit next to them. Now I know that sounds a little bit weird, but we are trying here to form a relationship. We’re trying to bond with this person emotionally. We want them to feel like you are the people to trust, and when you sit next to someone, then that can help to form a connection because that’s a natural thing to do. I don’t mean, of course, literally the two of you sat thigh to thigh and you’re twisting round and looking at them because that’s weird.
But particularly, if you’re in a hotel lobby and you get there early, which you should do if you’re going to a neutral meeting place, you get there early, you pick exactly where you’re going to sit. You pick out the little chair cluster and you arrange the chairs. So maybe there’s a sofa and there’s a little table and a chair, and you’d put the chair next to the sofa and you’d move the table around and don’t let the hotel staff come up and say, “Please don’t move the furniture,” because actually, you can say to them, “Well, we’re going to buy at least two coffees here today. That’s your reward for letting us sit here.” You get the idea, but just move it. You can be in control of that environment. Couple of other practical things.
Whenever you start any meeting, you need to check for any time limitations they may have. I’ve made this mistake, I bet you have as well, that you have started a meeting with someone. It’s going really well. You’re about 45 minutes, 50 minutes in. They’re really engaged, they’re really open to you, and then suddenly, they look at their watch and they say, “Oh my God, I’ve got another meeting. I need to go,” and they’re gone. They’re two minutes out and it’s like you’ve not finished. It’s like you’ve done the shopping in the store and you’ve got a shopping trolley full of stuff, but you abandoned the trolley and you never get to the checkout.
Is that a good analogy? No, that’s a terrible analogy, but you get the idea. Always check for time and limitations. First thing you say in the meeting is, “Can I just check? I’ve got an hour aside for this. We may go a little bit over. If we really get on and have a good conversation, can I just check, is there a hard time that you need to walk out of here?” Beware that they will lie because they want to give themselves an out. So they’ll say, “Well, I’ve got an hour,” and you’ll say, “Great. What time is your next appointment after?” You can, without going too far, you can ask follow up questions on that because you need to establish, is it a hard I have to be out of here in an hour.
Or is it actually they’re going to lunch or they need to do some shopping on the way back or whatever. Other practical things, make sure you put your phone on do not disturb. Literally, take out your phone, grab it and say, “I’m just going to put this on do not disturb,” and then put it face down on the table and you perhaps invite them to do the same if they haven’t done, and my final thoughts on having a successful meeting is not to use a laptop, and ideally, you wouldn’t even use an iPad. In an ideal world, you would take handwritten notes, and I know you might be listening to that thinking, well, that’s weird. Why would we take handwritten notes in 2023?
Because actually, well, first of all, if you’ve got a laptop with you, that laptop is a barrier. It’s not only a barrier, that screen is literally a barrier between the two of you. It’s not only that, but you will possibly be tempted to go online on that laptop and you could possibly be distracted by notifications. I know I don’t use Teams, I choose not to use Teams, but I know you probably do and I know those little notifications just keep on coming and I know you can put your laptop on do not disturb and I know you could even just not connect to the internet, but it’s a distraction. All of it’s a distraction.
In fact, your laptop is your environment. We’ve just talked about getting them out of their environment. If you open up your laptop, there is a risk they’ll open up theirs and we don’t want them doing that. So definitely don’t use a laptop. You could use a tablet, I guess, like an iPad. Again, there’s the risk of being online with it. There’s a few MSPs I know, Kevin in particular has something called a reMarkable, which it’s like a tablet, but it’s all you can do is write and draw on it. So you can’t really access the internet. It’s deliberately, it’s just a very expensive pad. I did have one a few years ago and I didn’t really get on with it so I sold it, but they are a great bit of kit.
They’re expensive, but they are worth having, but really, nothing beats just having a good old legal pad, just a notepad and just writing notes, and do you know what? I think sometimes when you’re reviewing and writing up those handwritten notes, you never know what gold dust information you’re going to find in there, and of course, you should do this on the day of the meeting itself so you don’t miss anything, you don’t forget the context with which something was discussed. All of that gold dust could then help you to put together a better sales proposal, and that’s one of the things that we’ll be talking about next week when we close and finish off this little miniseries on improving your sales meetings.
Paul’s blatant plug.
So you’re listening to this podcast and you’ve got loads of inspiration, loads of great ideas and things that you want to do to improve your marketing, but you also have questions, concerns, worries. How do I do this? What’s the best way to do this? I have good news. You see, I can help you. Me and a bunch of other MSPs, we can help you with your marketing, and best of all, it’s completely free. We have a Facebook group, I believe it’s the biggest MSP marketing only focused Facebook group because there’s no vendors in there.
There’s no one in there except MSPs and me and a couple of very handpicked experts and guests and friends of mine, but I believe it’s the biggest Facebook of its kind that’s just purely about MSP marketing. Right to the usual address, if I’m wrong on that. Either way, you should come and join it. Go into your Facebook app, type in MSP marketing, go to groups. It’s a critical thing. This isn’t a page, it’s a group. Go to groups. You’ll see my little face, squash your finger onto my face, and that’s the group. You just have to answer a few questions, prove you really are an MSP and not a naughty vendor trying to sneak in, and we will let you in and you and I can discuss improving your marketing right there.
The big interview.
Hi, I’m Doug Kreitzberg, CEO of SeedPod Cyber.
And thank you for joining me to talk about the very prickly subject of cyber insurance. Now we will, towards the end of the interview, talk about specifically what your company does, Doug, and how you can help our US audience that’s listening right now, but let’s talk in general principles about cyber insurance because obviously, this has been around for a number of years. How long would you say cyber insurance has been around? Is it longer than we think, or is it a relatively new product?
Well, it’s relatively new from an insurance standpoint, but it’s been around for almost 30 years now, really starting out in the mid-nineties more to focus on media liability and then it evolved into other aspects of cyber coverage.
I wasn’t expecting you to say that. I thought you were going to say six years or seven years, not 30 years because it’s a very specialist insurance and I think everyone listening to this right now completely understands why such an insurance would exist. Let’s be honest, insurance companies are really good at spotting risk anywhere in the world and finding a way to make profit from it. Do you think the average business owner or manager is even aware that this kind of insurance exists?
I think the short answer is no. There’s still, there’s a lot of debate and attempts at statistics and how many small and medium-sized businesses really understand cyber. I’ve heard anywhere from 60% have cyber in place to as little as 17%. My own experience has been it’s probably more towards that 17% range in that most of the businesses don’t understand cyber risk and they certainly don’t understand cyber insurance at this point. We still have a ways to go.
No, I can imagine there’s a huge way to go because isn’t that exactly the same with just cybersecurity in general, that the ordinary people that we want to reach, they don’t understand why it’s such… Well, they don’t understand what a big deal it is and they don’t understand why it’s a big deal. Do you think that insurance can play a part in helping to educate them about why this is so important?
I do, and it’s just beginning to start, I think, helping educate the businesses because what’s happening now is that a lot of clients of businesses are now beginning to ask for proof of cyber insurance and that’s requiring the businesses themselves to then inquire about the insurance, and now given the underwriting that’s going on these days, they’re realizing what type of controls they need to have in place in order to be insured, which by the way, helps them be secure too.
Yes. Well, which was actually one of the big questions I wanted to pick up from this, which is underwriting is a word that everyone loves, isn’t it? For you, you’re probably rubbing your thighs thinking, underwriting, how exciting, and for the rest of us, it’s a distress word because no one really likes buying insurance. It’s something we either have to buy or something we buy to just so we can sleep better at night. I’ve heard it said by MSPs that the underwriting of cyber insurance almost negates the ability for someone to claim. Is that a fair thing to say, or do you think the cyber insurance market is changing and evolving?
I think it’s changing and evolving. I think the underwriting process has certainly gotten tighter over the past three to four years. Four years ago, if you had firewall and you could write a check, not necessarily in that order, you could get cyber insurance. Today, you have to have a lot more controls in place in order to get the cyber insurance.
The carriers are paying out on the claims, but they also are looking at what are you really answering on those applications. So you really do have to be careful that you’re being truthful and accurate of what you’re putting on the applications and businesses do have to pay more attention to the type of controls that they have in place. What was once nice to have a few years ago is really now table stakes in terms of multifactor authentication, EDR, backup solutions, et cetera.
I guess it’s like ensuring your house and getting really good insurance for your house, but then you leave the doors and the windows physically open all day every day, whether you’re there or not, and eventually, you get burglarized and you go to your insurance company and say, “Hey, we’ve had all of our stuff nicked and stolen.” Nicked, I think, is probably a UK term. We’ve had all of our stuff stolen, and the insurance company says, “Okay, how did they get in?”
And you say, “Well, we left our doors open.” The insurance company will just laugh, won’t they, and put the phone down because it’s there in black and white that you’ve got to take reasonable steps to assist your security. With the MSPs that you work with when you’re helping them to sell this insurance and supply it to their clients, do you find that actually, the requirements of the insurance help the MSPs to sell more security services and ultimately, to protect the clients from themselves?
Yeah. So I think right now, the MSP is in a great position in terms of helping their clients be insurable, which obviously leads then to increased products and solutions that their clients will need to have in order to do that. As the carriers have been asking more and more questions, the businesses are getting these 20 page applications. After page one, they don’t understand the rest of the 19. They give that to the MSP and ask the MSP to fill it out. So the MSPs in this position of really being the cyber risk manager for businesses, and there’s some areas that the MSPs need to take care of to manage their own liability in that regard, but it does create an opportunity for them really to provide more value added solutions to their customers and create more of a long-lasting relationship as well.
Yeah, and tell us what those liabilities are that MSPs need to be on top of? I guess it’s the obvious ones that if they filled in a form on behalf of the client, they are inherently taking on some of the liability.
That has been raised actually a number of times and there is going to be some liability there. The business, at the end of the day, is signing the application. They have to really understand what it is. Where the issues will come in is making sure that the MSP, whether they’re helping to fill out the application or just telling the customer, which we recommend, here’s what you have in the environment and guiding them through the application is to be specific.
Sometimes the questions that the underwriters ask are framed in yes or no, to respond yes or no, and oftentimes, there’s something in between that actually exists such as multifactor authentication. You may have it in certain assets or applications. You may not have it in others. You need to be, whether you’re the MSP or the business, you need to be careful in really describing what actually exists in the environment. That way, the underwriter knows what they’re writing, and when claim time comes, the business will be in a great position to have the insurance policy respond the way it should.
Yeah. Although, of course, we don’t really want any of businesses to have to put in a claim in the first place, but you’re right.
Making sure you’ve got it ready. Final question for me, Doug. How do you think this is going to roll out in the years ahead, and I appreciate this is a crystal ball question, but you’re a guy who’s involved with cyber insurance every single day of the week so you’ve seen how it’s changed already over a number of years. What do you think is going to happen in the years ahead?
I think there’s going to be more and more requirements from the carrier to have increased security controls in place. So we’re talking about the need for EDR solutions as an example now. Down the road, and probably not too far down the road, I could see XDR, MDR, SOC solutions almost now then be required to be in place. I think you’ll also see the MSP as providing a source of truth with regards to the security controls in place of those clients through a more automated mechanisms agents that are deployed.
Obviously, with the client’s sign-off, and then globally or structurally, I think that you’ll see the need for governments to play some type of role in terms of managing and helping to manage systemic risk, which is the type of an attack on a major cloud provider as an example. It could take down large swaths of the community where the business or the MSP or even the carrier wouldn’t really be in a position to respond as well as a government entity.
Yeah, that makes perfect sense. Okay. Thank you so much for coming onto the show, Doug. Tell us a little bit more about what you do with MSPs, and obviously, this has the caveat that you’re based in the US and you only work with US MSPs. Such is the wonder of insurance. We all have our own little insurance schemes country by country, and we do have a worldwide audience to this podcast, but tell us what you do with MSPs and what’s the best way to get in touch with you.
Sure. What we do is we embed our underwriting criteria in the tech stacks that MSPs are offering their clients, and to the extent that the clients are on that tech stack, they’re pre-approved for coverage from a technical standpoint and eligible to save on their cyber insurance premiums. We also work with our MSP partners to help them grow their own business as well, and we also work with them to be insured themselves with the right tech E&O and cyber insurance. For any MSP that’s interested in learning more, as you mentioned, we are US based currently. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s S-E-E-D-C-Y-B-E-R.com. Info@seedpodcyber.com. Thank you.
Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast, this week’s recommended book.
This is David Newman. I am the author of Do It! Marketing and Do It! Selling, but Paul said I can’t recommend my own book so forget about those. The book I’m recommending that you read as soon as humanly possible is Linchpin by Seth Godin. Seth Godin, of course, famous marketing author, Purple Cow, et cetera. Linchpin is one of his lesser known books. I think it’s a hidden gem. It’s going to change the way that you think about yourself, it’s going to change the way that you think about your clients, it’s going to change the way that you think about your role in the world when you’re running your MSP and how important and how vital your day-to-day work is to your clients and to their success. Linchpin by Seth Godin, pick it up. You’ll thank me later.
Coming up next week.
I’m Emanuel Rose. I’ll be talking about authenticity marketing in gen Z and why if your business is going to be valuable and relevant, you need to pay attention to them.
So if you’re listening in your favorite podcast platform right now, go on, subscribe to this podcast. Maybe even hit that little notification bell so you never miss an episode because on top of that interview next week, we’re finishing off our series about improving your sales meetings, and also, I’ve asked a ton of MSPs what they love and hate about their business and it’ll be fascinating to compare that to your list. Join me next Tuesday and have a very profitable week in your MSP.
Made in the UK for MSPs around the world, Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.