January 22, 2014
I recently had the pleasure of hosting eFolder partner Michael Geoghegan from Technology Management, Inc. for eFolder’s first Partner Chat webinar of the year. To check out some of the content, go to these links:
Michael was kind of enough to share the strategies he has recently used to grow his revenue greater than 20 percent year over year. Here is a quick summary of Michael’s key insights:
1. Empower users at your clients:
Many MSPs take the position that “my clients buy what I tell them to buy.” While this may be true to some extent, it is far better for growth-oriented MSPs to pay close attention to the pain points, needs, and desires of frontline users at clients.
Too often technology deployment decisions are made solely by the business principal and the MSP, with scant consideration of the needs of users. In the case of file sync services, many SMBs have created a large security risk in their organizations, because legacy remote access and VPN solutions have failed to keep pace with the mobility and productivity needs of users. Users have rapidly adopted consumer-grade sync services, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Skydrive, to get their jobs done, to sync to their mobile devices, and to get their work product to their home PCs.
MSPs need to sense and understand these user level trends and find ways to weed out the resulting security risks. Michael shared his experience of going into clients and listening both to business owners and their employees to understand the whole picture. In Michael’s case, he has become a hero at many clients by empowering users with easy to use, business-grade file sync technology, instead of fighting the desire of users to sync and share wherever they go.
2. Perform client health checks:
In a recurring revenue business, it is vital for MSPs to regularly check in on the needs of clients. Michael calls these “client health checks,” while others call them QBRs. Michael has been very successful in finding new projects and services to deploy to clients by periodically checking with the client on their happiness and satisfaction.
By listening regularly, the path to upsells and greater user satisfaction becomes clear. Michael noted that it is important for this process to include check-ins with frontline users, since lingering technology problems may or may not bubble up to the decision maker. In many cases, the business owner or decision maker may be in the dark about satisfaction or productivity challenges in the workplace. The lesson is clear: visit, listen, and engage with clients at all levels.
3. Use free trials:
Innovation need not be disruptive to clients. Often, the easiest way to get clients to understand the benefits of a new technology is to do small pilots or free trials with limited groups of users. In the case of eFolder’s Anchor sync and share solution, Michael’s MSP organization has been able to quickly ramp to over 500 users by doing targeted free trials with existing clients. Often Michael will deploy Anchor to a small group of users and in no time the solution will have gone viral, with users syncing everywhere and cloud storage utilization growing quickly. In these trials, the service becomes so vital to the day to day productivity of the users that they insist the business owner invest in the solution. Obviously, free trials are a great way to grease the skids on the sales process.
4. Price for profit:
On our recent webinar, Michael also shared the way he is always increasing his share of wallet with clients. While his company may only get a toehold with a new client, over time the portfolio of services his company delivers will grow and with it the profits. In the case of the Anchor solution, TMI prices the solution based upon bundles of GBs of cloud storage. As the number of users, devices, and content grows, the storage utilization will grow as well. As users grow to love and utilize the technology to make their lives better, it becomes very easy to migrate the client from 250 GB, to 500 GB, and 1 TB, and so on.
5. Target verticals:
The last best practice Michael shared was targeting verticals. In the case of the Anchor solution, Michael has crystalized the main use case for sync and share services in each of the industry verticals he serves. He has taken the client use cases for each vertical and documented them in presentations and selling materials, making engagement with clients and prospects content rich, informative, and believable. With a vertical focus, TMI can clone its prior successes and roll them quickly into prospects and clients in the same verticals.
With the five techniques explored here, MSPs can really tackle new revenue opportunities in the new year.
Ted Hulsy is VP of Marketing at eFolder, a cloud-based file sharing company.
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