Archives For Managed Services

cloud1Where Should You Focus Sales Efforts in 2016

The trends are important.  Whether you resell technology or sell for a vendor, you need to know what CIOs are up against…if you call on the SMB, think of the owner as the part-time CIO. Both are going to leverage technology if they plan to grow.

Know the Important Trends Before You Make Your Next Sales Appointment

Regardless of what President Obama claims, WSJ continues to report a shaky economy. That translates into tighter spending.  This morning’s WSJ reports three significant trends…

  1. BIG DATA is where the gains are. Big data represents a promise for future decision making – better decision making. Especially in the enterprise, data analysis can lead to better marketing, better hiring, and greater efficiency. The value proposition here is Competitive Advantage! One of the four key value props I wrote about in From Vendor to Adviser.
  2. CLOUD is strong. People are moving to the cloud to achieve greater efficiencies. That means they want to see a reduction in TCO – Total Cost of Ownership.  This too is one of the four value props I describe in my book.
  3. Third, there is a slowdown in SECURITY – but the WSJ is talking about new companies and IPOs, not security spending. IT Spending as a whole is down by more than 5% this year as compared to last (According to recent WSJ reports), but security spending is up.

If you understand Cloud and Big Data (And we should mention IoT as well here), you know that using these technologies demands a change in the security strategy. Tie the two together and you’re well positioned to drive security business. If you call on the SMB market, you should be adding the DETECTION side of security to every existing contract – it’s an almost guaranteed up-sell opportunity.

© 2016, David Stelzl

PS. I still have some seats in the SECURITY MASTERY SALES PROGRAM – These are for resellers only, sponsored by distributors and manufacturers… Where You’ll Learn Exactly How to Make Security Sales Happen. (CLICK)


Is Your MSP Business Growing?

How Many New Logos Did You Pick Up in 2015?

That was the question I started with in last nights Check Point/Tech Data event just outside of Boston. From the hand raises it looked like many groups I’ve spoken to in recent months.

Everyone has an MSP offering – meaning there are thousands of resellers offering basically the same thing…and most don’t see big growth.  2016 will probably show a decline in sales – and if you’re hoping to sell more product, forget it. The cloud really is hear to stay. Of course everything seems to go in cycles, so maybe we’ll move back to mainframes next, and then a new type of Token Ring network.

If you’re in sales, you know the technology is not all that important. Conversion is what matters. Do you have something people are interested in, need, and are willing to spend their hard-earned cash on? Last night I shared pieces of a presentation I use to convert small business audiences through lunch & learns. The point of the message is this: Everyone needs more security. This will become even more critical over the next 12 months as many companies adopt more apps, more cloud, and more BYOD. $1 HC Book Ad

The problem is, small business owners are limited on budget. If you ask them, they don’t need more security. In fact, they don’t need more of anything…well, what they really need more of is retained earnings and working capital.  Better workers would be a plus.

But the truth is, they really do need more security. They just can’t see it. If you had a way to attract them into an educational session, with a message that clearly explained the need…and brought them to a point of wanting to know where they really sit (Assessment), would new business result?  It would.

The core message I presented last night comes from my book, The House & The Cloud.It points out the one BIG mistake just about all companies have made. Their security centers around firewalls and passwords. There is no detection, and there is no response. And that means, once a breach occurs, they won’t know it for at least 14 months (According to the FBI – and it could be a lot longer.)  Next step – enter the Assessment.

Our meeting ended with Tech Data and Check Point offering qualified resellers a seat in the SVLC Security Sales Mastery Program…the only training program I know of specifically designed for resellers, to teach them how to sell more security to business leaders.

© 2016, David Stelzl

P.S. Looking forward to presenting this later today in NYC. – Sponsored by Ingram Micro.



boring salesAre You Getting Leads to Talk About Managed IT

…Only to find that what your prospect really wants is a quote – to compare to others.  Price is your only value proposition here, so what do you do?

I was recently working with a small business reseller on the west coast. He had mastered the art of using Google Adwords to attract new business and was getting meetings.

The problem? No sales. His conversion from EDUCATION to SOMETHING was downright frustrating.

So how do you turn a meeting like this into something worth meeting about?

The answer, you need something in your meeting that’s new, exciting, compelling, and urgent. Napoleon Hill, in his book, The Law of Success, tells us that enthusiasm is critical. If you don’t love your value proposition, you’ll probably leave any meeting hungry. But you need more.

While enthusiasm is an essential part of moving people to buy, you also have to understand what they really need. In another section of Hill’s book he shares with us principles of the shirt sales person. The one who presents the shirt he likes assumes the buyer won’t buy a shirt. The seller who understands the real need sells multiple shirts.

But What Does the Small Business Owner Really Need?

Hint; It’s not managed services.

Managed IT offers the client a couple of things, but only one is potentially urgent. And only by identify urgent aspect of that one thing, are you going to differentiate yourself during this sales call. It’s security of course.

There are thousands of choices when it comes to buying basic server and network monitoring. There’s a well known business coach out there telling his clients to find something unique in order to sell more managed IT contracts – he’s right! But what unique thing can you bring to the table, that your buyer really does need, and that really is urgent? It’s security – but not just firewall management. It’s security intelligence – it’s detection/response.

So How Did My Client Start Turning These Deals Around?

Here’s what he did.  First, he learned to present a compelling security message. In his case he simply memorized the message I give in my book, The House & The Cloud.  It’s simple, straight forward, and compelling. As I’ve said before, I still use this message in lunch & learn meetings, and I’m converting more business owners than ever in one single hour with it.

Now, when he would schedule a new prospect meeting from his Adword campaign, he would go in armed with two things. Some basic MSP (Managed Services Provider) materials and his compelling security presentation.

He started his meeting out addressing the reason for their initial call – finding a new managed IT provider. But quickly transitioned to security. It went something like this:

“Here is what we can provide from a managed IT perspective…backup, monitoring, patching, etc…but the truth is, there are hundreds of companies that provide these same services in this city. And it would be hard to figure out who to use – in fact, many of them would do a good job, and prices would be all over the map.  But let’s look at what really matters.”

“Have you considered how secure your data is?”

Using the three questions presented in my book, The House & the Cloud, my client gathered some basic information. All of these companies are moving to the cloud. As they do, their approach to security must chance. And so he asked them.

“What are you trying to protect?”$1 HC Book Ad

“What are your relevant threats?”

“How comfortable are you with your ability to detect something is going wrong, and respond to it before it is too late?”

See The House & Cloud book to get the details on how this conversation should go. But from there, my client showed them a model I use to determine risk – The Impact Vs. Likelihood graph.

“This is what you need before you can make any sort of budgetary or technology decision. Without it you’re flying blind.”

He then spent ten minutes taking them through The House, Cloud and Coverage model – the message presented in my book. The point is, there’s one mistake just about every company has made when it comes to securing data, and this model proves it.

The response from his listeners was obvious. They too have been making this mistake. Their security has no detection/response capability built into it – and only a managed program can provide this to a small business client.

An Assessment Was Offered

The assessment does three things.

First, it puts everyone else (his competition) on hold, while he does his assessment.

Second, he now has face time with every decision maker. With his consulting hat on, he can talk to whoever he wants, because, in their eyes, he is no longer selling.

Third, he is building the justification he needs to sell this deal without budget being a concern. If the need is urgent (and it will be in most cases), the client will respond.

If the client does not convert, either you had the wrong audience, didn’t find the right urgencies (ones they care about – like the shirt seller above), or did not present the urgency in the context of their business.

The last deal my client worked on landed him the largest managed services contract he’s ever signed, worth about $20,000/month.

© 2016, David Stelzl

bcbsDo Your Clients Love You Or Hate You?

Here’s How Blue Cross Blue Shield Got Me to Leave Them…

Put your clients on hold for 4.5 hours, with a deadline so that they can’t hang up. Don’t provide any sort of automated system to schedule a call back. And make sure there is no other way to get what you need without a call.  I just did that this morning.  But let me back up…

In December I received a friendly letter from my Health Insurance Provider – BCBS of North Carolina… letting me know that my policy would no longer be offered in the county I live it.  That was puzzling to me, but it is what it is.

I then received another letter telling me my premium would be double with the new plan they were putting me on – all part of the “Affordable” Healthcare Act.  $1 HC Book Ad

So this morning I was forced to hang on the phone listening to their music and a hold message telling me they were to busy to talk to me…knowing that in just a few days my bank account would be syphoned off to a new plan that I did not order.

Over the course of 4.5 hours I did have a few contacts with different people.  People who could not help me, but who would be happy to transfer me to another hour-long queue. The first person I spoke with actually told me I was not in the system and no longer had any plan, and not to worry about the automatic bank draft.  The second person said, “That’s not right, but I can’t help you…hold please.”

Finally I reached the right person…who told me that actually I did have a plan, and that my annual rate would be grandfathered in at a similar rate to the old one…in other words, the letters I had received, and all the research I did in December to find a new plan, could have been avoided.  But of course, I had done all of that with the information I had, and was ready to quick BCBS…After a 4.5 hour wait, it’s hard to feel good about staying.

What a disaster…Are there other industries out there that can operate like this and still be in business?  If there are, yours in not one of them…what are you doing to make sure people on are getting their answers quickly?

© 2016, David Stelzl


BigData2016 Will Be The Year of Big Data

So What Does Big Data Have To Do With Managed IT?

In case you haven’t noticed, Managed IT is getting harder to sell. It’s a commodity. The Monthly Recurring Revenue is great – and you can probably ride the contracts you’ve landed over the past decade for a while. But don’t stop innovating – your churn rate will eventually catch up.

The future CIO and SMB business owner (company size doesn’t really matter), needs better intelligence. Specifically, they need analytics to help them navigate two areas. First, analytics will provide insights on customer behavior, experience, and engagement – a critical component of competitive advantage. Second, they need to know what’s happening with data security as they adopt new technologies to serve their client.  It’s this second area that every managed IT provider should be investigating right now.

Here are some things you should be adding to your offering right now:

  • UTM Firewalls that include the detection elements – sandbox technology, data leakage protection, malware (specifically bot) detection, intrusion prevention, etc.  Both Fortinet and Check Point have some compelling offerings worth checking out in 2016.
  • Centralized management and analytics – some way to watch over the UTM firewall, 7 by 24, with reporting that makes sense to the customer.
  • SIEM technology. For those in the SMB market, this is somewhat new. In the past, event correlation has been expensive and complicated. However there are some technologies out there that are  now making this possible. Arctic Wolf might be one to check out. Alien Vault also have some compelling technology, however the barrier to entry may be too high for most in the SMB space.
  • Continuous Scanning and Periodic Assessments – in my book, The House & the Cloud, I present the Impact vs. Likelihood Chart. Understanding which threats matter and what their likelihood is, will be essential to getting your client to invest in the right places at the right time.
  • Policy management and compliance. Finally there are some SMB focused tools to help with online policy development and management. Check out The Compliancy Group ad on the sidebar of my blog as one option.  I expect compliance requirements and enforcement to grow in the coming year.

It may be that most of your clients are too small right now to invest in these higher end programs. However, the day is coming when they will need them. Start finding ways to provide this, add it to your line card, and set a goal of closing at least one this year, giving you a case study to use in your marketing.  Showing this level of capability will set you apart from the thousands of other MSPs who say security, but really mean, “Firewall Management”.

© 2016, David Stelzl


If you’ve not read The House & The Cloud – now is the time to read it. This one book can open doors you’ve only dreamed of opening in the past. It will equip you with a message designed for 2016.

$1 HC Book Ad




Some Great Opportunities To Grow Your Business

First, this Thursday, Ingram Micro is sponsoring a free online workshop – Lead Magnets, How to Get Dozens of New Leads Every Quarter, Without Making Cold Calls.

Sign Up Here! (CLICK).

Second, the video above provides a summary of some great information I delivered over the past few months traveling around with the Check Point Software SMB team.  On this 30 minute video you’ll find an overview of strategies to transform your MSP business with security, providing a great foundation for the material I’ll be presenting on Thursday…hope to see you there. $1 HC Book Ad

Remember, you can get more detail by ordering The House & The Cloud – now for just $1.00 – for a limited time!

©2015, David Stelzl


34 New Prospects – 100% Conversion

Security topics are hot right now. We recorded this interview (above) following a very successful lunch & learn event in Richmond. Randy Sklar, President of Sklar Technology Partners has been actively bringing these types of events to Richmond based small business owners over the past 10 years, and it’s paid off.  The message used to make this event successful comes right from my book, The House & The Cloud…and for a short time you can pick it up for $1.00!

Using The Interview…

The interview is something we started doing a few years back to increase the conversion on follow up. If you’ve offered these types of events to your prospects in the past, you know you need a much larger list of possible attendees to get 30 to sign up. In this case we used the strategies from my Marketing Success Kit to attract new logo business owners. It worked so well that we had to turn people away!$1 HC Book Ad

After the event begins the follow-up. We signed people up for assessments during the event (and all of them did sign up). Now, using clips from the event and this interview video, we have something to take to those who did not attend. The rest of the list.

In many cases you can double your results by using an effective marketing campaign after the event. I describe this in detail in the Marketing Success Kit. But in a nutshell, there are 6 groups to consider: 1) Those who signed up, 2) Attendees who did not, 3) People who agreed to attend but didn’t, 4) Those who could not make it, but wanted to, 5) people who did not respond, 6) and finally, those who unsubscribed, told you they weren’t interested, or somehow communicated that they did not want to hear from you again.  This last group can be discarded – they are not worth spending time and money on.  Each should receive a short video sales letter with one of your clips, followed my a short text email offering to come by and share insights from the speaker. Follow up your email campaign with phone calls to set up these meetings.

Try it – this is far better than making cold calls to set up a meeting, with an agenda to share you company overview. No one really wants to see that.

© 2015, David Stelzl