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graph-going-upWant to Multiply Your Managed Services Business?

Join Me This Thursday

I’ll be presenting a repeat of last week’s session on how to Transform Your Technology Reseller Business w/ Security.

Find out how to grab the attention of business owners who don’t really think they need more security.

Discover how I convert 90% of the audience when presenting security at reseller lunch & learns (In just 60 minutes).

See why budget does not matter – even when a company has nothing to spend, they’ll find money for security.

I’ll also show you why most resellers are failing to close annuity business of any kind, and how to change that with one simple change in your strategy.

Yes I Want a Seat!  <<< CLICK to join my on Thursday April 7th, 2016

Sponsored by Check Point and Ingram Micro – plus they are giving away 10 seats in my Security Sales Mastery Program (Normally $500), and Check Point will be giving one attendee a FREE 700 Series Firewall!

©2016, David Stelzl


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.



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




boardroomWhat Question is Most Often Asked of the CISO, By The Board Of Directors?

And What Questions Should They Be Asking?

The big question being asked, according to Kim Nash, columnist for the WSJ, is; “Whether their company is vulnerable to breaches similar to those at Target Corp., Anthem Inc. and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)?” There’s two things to consider here – First, who can answer this question? Second, is it the right question?

According to Kim, it’s not the right question – but let’s go to my first concern which is, “Who can answer this question?”

Will We Be Hit Like Target, Home Depot, or OPM?

Most executives can’t answer this question honestly. And their security team doesn’t really have a clue either. If they did, we wouldn’t be reading these stories every day.  And, if you look at the stories being published, it’s the big guys – yet we know statistically, 60% of the breaches are hitting the SMB market.  Most of these breaches never make the news.  So the board can ask, but they’re not likely to get the real answer.

If you didn’t see my comments on OPM, you might want to take a look (Read about Donna Seymour and OPM’s failure to protect our nation’s critical personnel data.) The board is missing the mark here because they misunderstand risk.  In my book, The House & The Cloud (2nd Edition), i’ve given a lot more attention to the impact vs. likelihood graph than I did in the 2007 version – it’s a model I use to communicate risk to business leaders.

If you know security, the concept is pretty simple. The missing link in most assessments is a measure of likelihood.  And that’s what the board is really asking – although they are asking it incorrectly.  What they really need to know is, where’s our data, and what are the top 3 to 5 threats we are facing right now. Given these threats, what are the odds we’ll be hit over the next 12 months?  (More detail on how to figure this out, starting on page 194 in The House & The Cloud.) As I said in my latest speaker promo video, risk needs to be presented in simple business language – in terms everyone who uses and depends on data can understand.

One thing everyone must comes to grips with is, every company is vulnerable just like Target, JP Morgan, Home Depot, and most recently Ashley Madison.Check Point Training Ad

The question isn’t “Can they get in like they did at Target?” Rather, they should be asking, “Can we detect a breach in time to stop the damage?” Remember, like a house or bank physical robbery, hacking does take some time, and it does make noise – but you won’t hear it with your ears. You’ll need detection technology in place and the people with the skills and understanding to turn that data into intelligence.

So what’s the right question? Can we detect and respond before it’s too late?

Are You Getting To The Board?

Have you ever been invited to meet with or present to a board of directors? It’s a powerful moment in the sales cycle if you have something meaningful to say.  Yesterday I was working with a rep on some strategy, as part of the SVLC Security Mastery Sales Program. We were discussing strategies to get a CEO or Board level meeting.

Most are still working at the IT Director Level. Remember, the IT Director is low on the liability list for security. They might lose their job – but getting a new one, if they know security, won’t be hard. In fact, they may take a pay raise.  On the other hand, people like Donna Seymour of OPM are in trouble. (Again, read my post and consider Donna’s situation – is it her fault, or is there something bigger going on here?)

Now is the time to move up – company leaders need more security insight right now and the WSJ is backing you on this. The CISO cannot possibly figure all of this out in a vacuum. And aside from some of the largest accounts out there, their people won’t have the experience to do it either. Managed services (with a security focus), backed by skilled security experts is needed to collect and analyze the data, repackaging it into something business leaders can use – intelligence.

What About SMB Companies?

Don’t let the Board of Directors thing keep you from your SMB accounts. The SMB is under fire right now – and the owner of that business is similar to the Board. They need to know the same things, they just have less resources to figure it out.

© David Stelzl, 2015

Listen in as Randy Sklar, president of Sklar Technology Partners and recent present of his regional VTN chapter interviews me – this clip was made specifically as a follow up to a very successful, decision maker level, educational seminar.  The event received strong sponsorship from companies such as Zenith Infotech – one of the only managed services companies I know of that financially supports this type of event.

© David Stelzl, 2010


Social networking is a great marketing tool; no doubt.  Marketing events are equally as good…both require precise execution.  Tomorrow I’ll be speaking to 40 decision makers in Richmond VA.  These are largely new prospects – how did we get this audience and what will make tomorrow a success?

  1. Practice!  The sponsoring company and I have done this seven times in the past two and half years.  They’ve been coached on the process, practiced it, and know how to execute.  Jim Collins, in his book Good to Great, underscores this point – get a process that works and perfect it.  Trying things once and moving from method to method is destined to fail.
  2. Provide valuable information to your prospects.  Product pitches are cheap, and most lunch and learns are just that…a free lunch if you’ll sit with us for an hour and listen to a product pitch.  No one likes to tour time-shares with a free night stay, and no one wants to hear about your product.  This goes for both manufacturers and resellers.  I will not mention product tomorrow…not even once.
  3. Sponsorship.  This event will be professional, held in an upscale establishment, and has been well orchestrated from it’s inception.  We plan to succeed in turning attendees into clients, so we’ve made the proper investment.  This requires marketing funds (JMF, MOU, Co-op, or whatever your partners call their marketing support money) and support from distributors and manufactures/partners.  If you’re partners don’t help with these types of events, consider eliminating the partner.   Note: Zenith Infotech is a primary sponsor of this event and to my knowledge, they are the only managed services company with marketing support dollars (correct me if I’m wrong).
  4. We have an effective follow up program that actually delivers value to the client regardless of whether they buy anything. Because there’s value, we’ll end up building relationships with most of them. Some will have immediate needs, others will return when the need arises.
  5. This event is invite only.  It’s been specifically designed to deliver value to higher level managers and business owners.  It won’t be about technology, speeds and feeds, or t-shirt give-aways.  Our topic is educational and offers value to those who have responsibility over the success of the business.

Old school marketing programs are out – people want education, knowledge, and understanding.  Success means making wise decisions in the coming months and quarters, and that means they need sound advice.  Be the best one to give it and you’ll find the relationships will come.

© David Stelzl, 2010


Resellers, VARs, Solution Providers, and Channel Managers – this is an important lesson on the profitability of services.  While your (or your partner’s) services may be very profitable, they may not be as profitable as they seem.  As the market has commoditized, I’m seeing far more short product/install contracts…less consultative, long term engagements.  This is particularly  true in the mid and smaller markets. What is the result.

Listen and see how calculations on profit, gross profit, and net profit are sometimes confusing.  To the sales rep, all GP is good – you get paid, right?  To the person with P&L responsibility, the numbers don’t always add up…I frequently run into people who initially think they have strong services margin.  When I show them how to calculate it, we find profits to be much lower apart from the product sales.

© David Stelzl, 2010