By Jim Hocking, Director of Sales at Collabrance
Last week I participated in a webinar with Michael Cummings from Taylor Business Group to help educate Copier Dealers getting into Managed IT Services. More Copier Dealers are entering the Managed IT Services business at a rapid pace as a way to expand their business and revenue, so we teamed up to share lessons learned in the industry so you could go to market faster with less headaches.
Together, we identified 7 ways for copier dealers to avoid mistakes when offering Managed IT Services:
#1 - C-Level commitment needs to be “all-in” to the Managed IT business.
Companies who have little to no C-level involvement when launching their Managed IT Services offering have been much more likely to fail. This needs to be a top down initiative. C-levels need to be all-in to making Managed IT Services a core part of their business, and invested in making the venture successful. As a Master MSP, we have a lot of tools and resources to help make partners successful, but one thing we are not able to do is lead a business change within the company. This has to be done by the c-levels of the company.
#2 - Recognize the Managed IT Services buying process is different.
From a customer perspective, everyone that looks to you for Managed IT Services views IT as a critical aspect of their business. If their network is down, it has a direct effect on the bottom line. In a Managed IT Services sale, there are usually multiple people and departments involved, and you need to know how IT effects each of these people. IT is viewed differently by different levels of the organization, and your solution needs to meet the needs of each of these levels.
#3 - Focus on the proper ideal client for Managed IT Services.
Almost every business prints, therefore almost every business out there could be a fit for a copier. However, in Managed IT Services, that is not the case. You need to identify who your ideal client is going to be to target for your Managed IT sales. We tell our copier partners in Collabrance that typically only about 20% of their current customer base will be a good fit for Managed IT Services. Watch the webinar recording to hear us elaborate on specific examples we encourage Collabrance partners to look for in a target audience and why.
#4 - Follow a proven sales process for Managed IT Services.
With a Managed IT Services deal, it is critical for you to follow a sales process and do not skip steps. Not only do you need to do a technical discovery, you also need to do a business discovery and interview multiple people at different levels of the organization to learn their challenges and design a proper solution that meets their business needs. If you can give your prospect a 100 reasons to work with you versus just 1-2, you are a lot more likely to win the deal, and the only way to find those reasons is through the discovery process.
Also, another common mistake we have seen a lot of in sales is Copier Dealers trying to convert their copier reps to sell Managed IT Services. A best practice we recommend is to train your copier reps to ask some qualifying questions to determine if their customer is a fit for IT. If they are, then bring in a specialist focused on just selling Managed IT Services to take the discussion from there. Compensate your copier rep, but do not try to completely change what they are doing today. In most cases that will not work.
#5 - Get your Managed IT Services offering right.
Make sure to have an all-inclusive offering that makes you the "IT guy" and includes everything an "IT guy" would do for a customer. You need to make sure your solution and technology stack includes user support, monitoring of the network, firewall/security, back up, email, vendor management, etc. If you do not control all of these things, it can be more challenging for you to effectively support an environment. We recommend having one offer that includes everything that emphasizes you as experts, and as the expert, this is what is recommended to properly manage your customers' network. Many Copier Dealers struggle in this space trying to be everything to everyone, and the reality is - you just can’t be an expert at every single type of technology out there. Implement standards and provide a technology stack to properly support customers and run more efficiently. By creating a standard and vetted technology stack, Collabrance is able to resolve over 95% of Help Desk tickets remotely because we are Subject Matter Experts in the technologies we support. In addition, our customer satisfaction is much higher because we are able to fix issues quickly, and we can keep the customer’s network running smoothly, which is what they truly care about. So, when developing your offering make sure you specialize in a technology stack that is right for you and your customers.
#6 – Your Sales SME and vCIO embody your ability to deliver.
Two critical hires are Subject Matter Expert (SME) sales talent and Virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO). Since they will engage with both prospects and clients directly, they must embody the depth and quality of professionalism, trustworthiness and technical expertise that you deliver. They are important ingredients in winning clients and building client relationships.
#7 - Invest in service excellence.
Your customers are your most prized asset. You have to invest in service excellence to take care of them. Your reputation is on the line if you don’t invest both time and money in your Managed IT Services offering. This will require investing in identifying the right people, building the right platform, vetting technology offerings, and putting tools in place like a PSA, CRM, RMM, and Network Operations Center. Listen to the webinar to review your options building, buying or partnering to provide Managed IT Services.
Watch our recorded webinar to fully understand how Copier Dealers should treat Managed IT Services as a new business instead of just a value-add offering and how to avoid mistakes. There are varying opinions throughout the copier channel regarding Managed IT Services, and if it can be a profitable business for Copier Dealers. I can tell you from experience that when done right, Managed IT Services is a great business. Both the opportunity and need for good IT services is growing. With technology continuing to be a bigger part of our lives, the future is bright for those that follow the recipe and build their IT businesses correctly. Learn from these mistakes and our experience in the industry so you can go to market faster, grow your business and be more successful offering Managed IT Services.