In a Remote World, Don’t Forget About Face-to-Face Time with Your MSP Customers

Last month, we held our peer group meetings in Philadelphia. It was the first time TruMethods has had in-person meetings in more than two years. More than 200 MSPs came to town over the course of the week.

For many members, it was their first in-person meeting since the pandemic began. The overwhelming feedback was about how awesome it was to be back in person. We could see relationships being built. Our longtime members were thrilled and catching up with one another. It made me start to think about how this shift to remote work has impacted not just company culture but customer relationships.

Has your ‘face time’ been reduced with customers? Do your vCIOs prefer Zoom meetings over in-person meetings?

You can’t underestimate the impact of face-to-face time with customers. I know it’s easier to be remote and at times it may seem to be more efficient — but there is a cost.

You need to make decisions around what face-to-face time looks like with each of your customers, from a vCIO standpoint, and a technology alignment point of view. If you have customers that are now fully remote or have decision-makers that are outside of your geography, so get creative!

Maybe the strategy meeting is on Zoom with key stakeholders, and you schedule a breakfast or lunch with the decision-maker two to three times a year. Take some time to discuss this with your team.

Our world has changed and how people work has changed. However, people and relationships are the same. We are all in the relationship business first and the technology business second.

Measuring Your MSP Marketing Success

For MSPs, having a talented staff and a robust suite of technology and service offerings only gets you so far—you have to let prospective customers know your company exists and what you have to offer. Regular marketing through various channels is a crucial part of getting that message out, but many MSPs struggle to measure just how successful a given campaign has been.

Getting solid marketing metrics will help MSPs justify the cost of a campaign, but it can also help guide future efforts and save money that might otherwise be wasted on an ineffective approach.

For established MSPs, marketing campaigns will fall into two broad buckets: those targeted at new prospects (to close new sales) and those targeted at existing customers (to sell new services and keep clients engaged).

Gauging the success of these efforts will require looking at slightly different metrics. However, it’s important to remember that entirely accurate reporting on these programs is not possible. You simply cannot track every dollar spent back to sales, and even the tracking you do have access to is not telling the entire story. Turning a prospect into a qualified lead requires more than a dozen interactions and touchpoints. Many of these interactions build on one another in ways that will not be apparent in reporting.

Marketing to New Prospects

Marketing to new prospects can be measured in several ways. For email, web advertising, and other campaigns, MSPs will want to look at impressions, opens and click-throughs, and the performance of call-to-action items like filling out a form, requesting to be contacted, etc. Also, look at bounces and landing page interactions. For example, if you get a lot of click-throughs but very little engagement once the prospect arrives at your page, the campaign will need to be adjusted to encourage more activity.

MSPs should also track the growth rate of their customer and prospect databases. Following the conversion rate of those leads against actual sales will help you determine whether you’re getting any value from the campaign—how much did you spend versus how much revenue you brought in from those specific leads. Depending on how long the sales cycle is, it may take months to determine the true success of a particular campaign. 

Current Customer Marketing

Marketing to current customers requires a slightly different approach, as some of this activity is not directly tied to sales. In some cases, MSPs provide news, updates, new offers, and other information that keeps the client engaged and helps show the MSP’s value.

For more sales-driven campaigns, you would need to track the same metrics as with new prospects, but some data may need to come from the customer relationship management (CRM) system. For example, a current client may see a campaign and call their rep directly or send an email rather than clicking on a link. In that case, the campaign worked, but that activity will not be captured instantly. 

Define Goals and Metrics Upfront

Measuring the effectiveness of a marketing program also requires the MSP to define terms clearly. For example, calling someone a lead may mean different things to different people, so make sure everyone on the team (including any outside marketing firms) understands what will count as a qualified lead and what does not.

You also need clear goals. For example, if you’re simply trying to build brand visibility, increased web traffic and email opens may be a key metric. On the other hand, those metrics aren’t necessarily helpful if you’re targeting specific revenue figures.

Remember, too, that the number of sales generated does not necessarily reflect only the quality of the marketing effort. For example, if you get a high response rate from the wrong prospects, you may be hitting an incorrect list with a great campaign. Or, if conversion rates don’t match the level of engagement, it may be the sales process that needs tweaking, not the marketing campaign.

Achieving marketing success can be frustrating, but with the right investment level and clearly defined goals and metrics, MSPs can improve effectiveness and grow their business. In addition, it’s vital to have a holistic view of the results—not just from automated tracking but also from CRM data and information from the sales and marketing team. That will ensure MSPs can build a good program and quickly adjust when something isn’t working.

Lindsay Faria is Senior Director of MSP Marketing – Americas for Barracuda MSP.

MSPs, Here’s Your Reality Check

I want you to think back to before the pandemic began in March of 2020. How have your customers’ needs changed? What are you doing for them today that you weren’t doing then? What tools have you added to your stack? What security process and governance have you added?

I hope the answer is that a lot has changed.

Your customers have hybrid environments. They have increased their dependency on technology. The security landscape has changed dramatically. Your tools and process should have changed too.

Now, here’s the reality check.

How much have your costs changed? Are your tool costs higher? Are you paying higher salaries? Do you know how much it costs to deliver additional processes?

If your prices have not increased significantly over the past two years, there are only a few reasons why. You’re either falling behind, seeing lower margins, or both.

I encourage you to do a deep dive into your Micro and Macro Picanomics. Go to the TruMethods portal to watch the videos on both topics and use the calculator we provide. For our peer members, we will be doing a special project on packaging and pricing this quarter.

A few tips come to mind.

Be sure that everyone who delivers services fits into one of your delivery areas. If not, you will not be capturing their costs. This means your margins will be lower than what you calculate. For tool cost calculation, take each tool that you include for the delivery of your managed offering and do a unit conversion to the average cost per seat. Remember that we’re targeting 70 percent of the gross margin on our core managed offering.

Our industry has gone through so many changes over the past few years. If you haven’t made the necessary adjustments in your business to adapt to the reality we’re now living in, it’s time to reassess your approach.

Well, Look at That — It’s Already Q2 2022

We always say that time moves quickly, and it does — it’s already Q2 2022. Notice how I noted the quarter, not the month?

A quarterly mindset is important in business. You should look at your business in four 13-week quarters. When you think about the business planning process, you have a long-term vision, three-year targets, an annual plan, and then your quarterly action plan (which is the only one with actions). That means you do all the other planning simply to determine what your priority should be for this quarter, and then hold yourself and your team accountable to execute on this.

In my last blog post, I asked if you were too busy to succeed. A quarterly mindset is the antidote. If you’ve been in business for a number of years, and it seems like your full potential is not being realized, a strong quarterly focus will help you with moving the needle.

Take time to review your Q1 results, sales profitability, and operational metrics. Then, look at your goals (what we at TruMethods call “rocks”) and your actions for the quarter. Did you complete them? If so, what adjustments will you make for Q2? Finally, determine your rocks for Q2.

This is the process we teach in our peer groups, and it has helped hundreds of MSPs fulfill their potential. Each quarter will pass with or without you having the right priorities and the accountability to complete them. The best part about a strong quarterly focus is that even if you fall short of accomplishing all your rocks, you will still move forward dramatically faster than if you didn’t have a quarterly focus.

The key is to prioritize the accountability process. Be sure that your accountability process and the rhythm that you have in place to stay accountable is your top priority.

It’s already Q2 2022. Don’t let another quarter go by treading water.

Kaseya’s Latest Innovation Cycle Provides Enhanced Automation, Security and Compliance Capabilities to Help MSPs and SMBs Thrive in The Evolving Tech Landscape

Key integrations allow IT professionals to streamline administrative tasks like billing and documentation, protect growing volumes of data and comply with increased regulatory requirements

MIAMI, April 21, 2022Kaseya, a premier provider of unified IT management and security software for managed service providers (MSPs) and small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), announced today the results of its latest innovation cycle. The company had a strong first quarter, including new enhancements to its IT Complete suite of solutions to support IT professionals as they continue to juggle growing cybersecurity, compliance and remote workforce management needs.

To further support its expanding customer base, Kaseya is full steam ahead on its goal to hire over 1,000 people globally by the end of the year — with 500 of those positions based at the company’s headquarters in Miami. To accommodate its expansion plans, Kaseya is expanding its Miami footprint with 64,716 square feet of cutting-edge building space and opened a new office in Krakow, Poland earlier this year to expand its R&D footprint. To create an enhanced workforce pipeline, Kaseya has established university partnerships with organizations like Florida International University to ensure students have the skills needed to thrive in the tech industry. Kaseya has also created the Grow Your Own program to support its new hires globally through educational programs, mentorship and leadership development.

“While 2022 has brought significant opportunities due to the need for cloud migration and hybrid workforce management, MSPs and SMBs are stretched thin as they manage IT environments that are growing in complexity—all while dealing with supply chain issues and a hyper-competitive job market that has made staffing a significant challenge,” said Fred Voccola, CEO of Kaseya. “With our newest features and integrations, we’ve made our IT Complete suite of solutions even more robust—allowing IT technicians to cut down on wasted time and more efficiently protect and manage their entire IT environment.”

Product Enhancements and Integrations

Unified RMM:  

  • Azure Discovery: With VSA’s latest release, customers can now automatically discover virtual machines, SQL instances, cloud services, app services and load balancers within Azure and automatically manage and monitor Azure virtual machines — making it even easier to monitor public cloud environments.
  • Software Management 2.0: IT professionals now have access to Kaseya’s new patching engine, which offers lightning-fast scans, zero file storage requirements, an expansive catalogue with over 200 software titles and CVSS severity-based score patching policy. Software Management 2.0 helps MSPs and SMBs stay up to date on the most critical patches and secure their IT environments more effectively.
  • FIPS 140-2 Compliance: VSA achieved NIST FIPS 140-2 validation, which is a requirement for U.S. federal agencies. MSPs and SMBs will receive the benefits of government validated and certified encryption for their mission-critical data.

Compliance:

  • Compliance Manager GRC: Kaseya enhanced its award-winning compliance solution to allow MSPs and SMBs to perform one assessment for multiple standards—from CMMC and HIPAA to EU and UK GDPR. Compliance Manager GRC also allows IT professionals to create their own standards to align with cyber insurance policies, internal IT requirements and more. The solution now offers key governance, risk and compliance (GRC) features like vendor risk management, IT policy attestation and security awareness training and tracking.

Security:

  • BullPhish ID Custom Domains: The newest BullPhish ID release includes the highly-requested Custom Domains capability that allows IT professionals to specify the domain used for security awareness training emails, ensuring end users will experience a fully-branded training experience unique to their organization.
  • Dark Web ID integration with Network Detective Pro from RapidFire Tools: This industry-first feature enables customers to scan Active Directory with Network Detective Pro and compare actual employee data with compromised credentials, providing IT administrators with actionable data to better protect their organizations.
  • Passly Password Server Auditing: This highly requested feature provides IT administrators with detailed audit reporting to meet compliance requirements, verify least privilege policies are enforced, and easily validate access controls.

Backup and Disaster Recovery:

  • ION and ION+: The newest appliances from Unitrends bring enterprise-class disaster recovery features and immutable storage to small offices, leveraging a desktop form factor that fits an environment without the need for a server rack.  
  • United Kingdom data center for Spanning Microsoft 365 customers: With Spanning’s newest data center in London, England, IT professionals have more options on where their data is stored and can more easily meet regional compliance requirements. Spanning has data centers in the U.S., Europe (Dublin), Asia Pacific (Sydney), Canada (Montreal), and the United Kingdom (London) to support its global customer base.

MSP Enablement:

  • Powered Services Pro enhancements: Powered Services Pro, Kaseya’s sales and marketing enablement platform, now offers 14 product sales certifications that allow MSPs to better navigate the sales process and close more deals. The platform also launched a new Powered Services Supercharge Forum to provide increased opportunities for collaboration and Done-4-U social media services that simplify social media management for MSPs.
  • myITprocess Client Overview Report: myITprocess, Kaseya’s virtual CIO (vCIO) solution that helps MSPs build more strategic client relationships, now offers a Client Overview Report that allows MSPs to better prioritize client needs and build more impactful strategic plans.

IT Documentation:

  • Automated Account Backup in IT Glue: Technicians can now automatically export account data to ensure their documentation is available at any time, with the ability to adjust the backup cadence to meet specific compliance regulations or organizational needs.
  • Advanced Checklists in IT Glue: The latest IT Glue Checklist enhancements allow users to create, modify and copy checklist templates and apply them across different organizations—helping IT professionals standardize procedures and simplify day-to-day process management.

PSA/Service Desk:

  • Automated Services Billing through BMS and IT Glue: With this new integration, MSPs can utilize their existing IT Glue documentation to cut monthly service reconciliation and billing time from hours to minutes.

To learn more about Kaseya’s IT Complete suite of solutions, visit www.kaseya.com.

About Kaseya

Kaseya is a premier provider of unified IT management and security software for managed service providers (MSPs) and small to medium-sized businesses (SMBS). Through its customer-centric approach, Kaseya delivers best-in-breed technologies that allow organizations to efficiently manage, secure and backup IT. Kaseya offers a broad array of IT management solutions, including well-known names: Kaseya, IT Glue, RapidFire Tools, Spanning Cloud Apps, ID Agent, Graphus, RocketCyber, TruMethods and Unitrends. These solutions empower businesses to command all of IT centrally, easily manage remote and distributed environments, simplify backup and disaster recovery, safeguard against cybersecurity attacks, effectively manage compliance and network assets, streamline IT documentation and automate across IT management functions. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, Kaseya is privately held with a presence in over 20 countries. To learn more, visit https://www.kaseya.com.

Are You Really ‘Too Busy’ to Succeed?

I think many people confuse leadership with management. In working with business owners for a very long time, I often ask them to define and rate their leadership styles. I then talk to their teams, and guess what? They’re typically not viewed the way they think they are.

What they (and most people) often fail to realize is that leaders empower people. They work to make their people self-sufficient, determine and share the results they expect, identify the metrics that define success, and pinpoint the process or the map to achieve success. Most importantly, they provide their team members with opportunities to grow.

Let’s do a quick exercise.

First, I want you to write down the business you would like to have in two years. How much revenue would it generate? What would your profit be? How many customers and employees would you have? Then, think about what your role would need to be to run that company. What would your responsibilities be? How would you need to spend your time? What would you expect from your team?

Next, track how you spend your time today. For a week, track what you’re working on in one or two-hour increments each day. Then, compare your role today with the one you would need to have in two years to reach your business goals. What do you see?

There are differences, aren’t there? (If there aren’t any differences, then you’re not thinking big enough!)

The most common thing I see with MSP leaders is that they want a better business and think they can get there by doing more of the same. Every week I hear, “I’m too busy to attend an accountability call or prepare for a meeting.”

What you really mean is the following: “I’m too busy to succeed.”

So, try the exercise I outlined above, and then put a plan together to define your role in the business based on where you want to be.

We’re Still Talking About Patching?

After 20 years, we’re still talking about patching. How is that possible?

Recently on The CyberCall, a weekly MSP cybersecurity podcast, we discussed common threats and breaches. An Incident Response (IR) expert said that the majority of the breaches relate back to something being unpatched. We are talking patching!

Here’s my take. At the end of the day, asset inventory and patch management need to be the foundation of your approach to security. Don’t spend another $10 to $20 per seat on a bunch of security tools unless you have your foundation (again, asset inventory and patch management) in place. And I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Jon Murchison, the CEO of Blackpoint Cyber, a technology-focused cyber security company headquartered in Maryland, agrees with me. His theory is this — less is more when it comes to security stack and controls. For example, understanding threat actors and the very common tactics they use will get you to the right approach. Upgrading to advanced antivirus (AV) and endpoint detection and response (EDR) (which threat actors can socially engineer around) without doing the basics doesn’t move your security posture forward.

Implementing the basics to prevent cyberattacks doesn’t have to be challenging, especially when there are resources out there to help you along, such as the Center of Internet Security (CIS)’s implementation groups. But, while your implementation groups cover all the right bases, don’t spend too much time on steps three through ten until you have process and discipline in a repeatable way around steps one and two.

Beating Your Competitors: How Far Ahead Are You?

Sometimes, I have a false sense of security and optimism about the MSP market and its future. I forget how far along the TruMethods and The CyberCall communities are compared to what I call “the general population of MSPs.”

I spoke at a local event in Philadelphia recently, where about 50 MSPs attended. During the discussions I had with the MSPs in attendance, I became a bit concerned about the overall MSP market. They asked me the same questions about the same things I’ve been hearing for the past five years. Even worse, they pushed back and questioned things our communities have either moved on from or overcame.

If you’re a TruMethods member or a listener of The CyberCall, I feel like this creates an opportunity for you. While you may be up against some good competitors in your market today, the lion’s share of incumbents isn’t as advanced as you. As you uncover prospects, you’re going to ask them the right questions and uncover pain. Unlike your competitors, you’re going to create separation between a prospect’s current provider and you.

Take advantage of this situation.

Your understanding of this business (the way you look at it through the TruMethods framework and lens) is superior. Believe me, most MSPs still don’t have a good grasp on their costs, delivery roles, and metrics. What does that mean? You guessed it: They don’t have a great grip on their results.

So, let’s dig deep. If I were in your shoes right now, I would want to be in front of as many prospects as possible. From a marketing standpoint, think about what you can do to get in front of new people to share your story.

I think you’re going to like the results when you do that.

myITprocess Feature Release: Client Overview Report

In an era where we have so many initiatives, prioritizing the key activities that make the biggest impact on your bottom line is extremely important.

The new myITprocess Client Overview Report provides a holistic view of all clients managed over all areas of vCIO technology assessments, including security, compliance, hardware, and software. This enables myITprocess users to prioritize clients or services that will make the biggest impact on their business bottom line and allow them to successfully plan out short-term and long-term goals and plans.

The myITprocess Client Overview Report helps users identify in one single view:

  • Who is your biggest opportunity and priority?
  • What technology is your biggest opportunity and priority?
  • Where is the risk for you as an MSP?
  • Which piece of technology is not managed, or which client has more areas of risk?

The Client Overview Report illustrates this by showing you a list of vCIO technology assessments and how each client scores based on these assessments.

  • Red = Weakness identified in technologies assessed
  • Yellow = Improvements are needed in technologies assessed
  • Green = Technology is aligned, and no further actions are required

The Client Overview Report provides default percentages that correspond to the associated red, yellow, and green colors to help identify your focal points and priorities. MSPs also have the option to customize the percentages to fit their own unique business requirements.

To view the Client Overview Report in myITprocess, click on Reports > Client Overview Report. For more information on this feature, check out our Knowledge Base. For more information on myITprocess, click here. We are confident that this new feature will help our existing users have further success when utilizing the myITprocess software.

“What’s Everybody Doing?”

We at TruMethods built a benchmarking platform for our peer group members. It looks at financial data, operational data, sales data, marketing data, and does a bunch of great calculations. We’ve added more ways to view the MSP business over time. More recently, we added some calculations to help MSPs simplify their businesses.

On the platform, MSPs can now calculate professional services revenue per engineer. Each professional services resource should generate at least $20,000 of monthly revenue. So, if you, on average, have $15,000 a month of professional services, and you have three people in that area, you need to ask the question, “What’s everybody doing?”

The second calculation we added looks at the average number of tickets divided by the number of support resources you have available. Each support resource should be able to close 10 to 14 tickets a day. Again, if you have five people closing three people’s worth of tickets, you must ask, “What’s everybody doing?”

Professional services and support need to be efficient, not just for the obvious reasons of leverage and profitability, but also because when they’re inefficient, you can’t have that capacity working on value-added proactive roles, such as alignment, vCIO, and centralized services. And today, that also means that you can’t secure yourself or your customers the way that you would like to.

Many MSPs are working so hard to grow their revenue and profitability. But these two service delivery areas keep holding them back. They create resistance in the business that’s impossible to overcome.

It’s time to ask, “What’s everybody doing?”