MSP Coaching Firm TruMethods Actually Launches BI Tool

By Doug Barney

TruMethods is a consulting firm aimed at helping MSPs make more money on a steadily recurring basis. Now the company is using its MSP smarts to launch a new specialized business intelligence service.

MyITProcess was launched at the company’s annual Schnizzfest (as in “fo’ schnizz”) gathering.

MyITProcess will initially only be available to TruMethod customers, and provides benchmarking and best practices automation. The tool is based in part on Microsoft Excel templates and analyses to what extent best practices are applied to particular clients, and gives each client a score. When those practices are out of whack, MyITProcess will show how much money customers are losing because of it.

The tool, which was in alpha test last year, is in beta this year and should ship next month.

The True Story behind TruMethods

TruMethods was founded by Gary Pica after two decades in the IT and managed service provider spaces. He was a principal with Dynamic Digital Services, which was sold in 2005 to mindSHIFT. After that, Pica spoke frequently and at the same time built an approach to help MSPs more effectively sell services agreements.

Pictured: Gary Pica

One of Pica’s pet peeves is the break/fix. Here an MSP signs a deal with a client to fix things when they break. Nothing goes wrong, very little dough. Worse, this is not a strategic relationship and there is no predictable or guaranteed revenue. Plus, it is very hands-on work.

And when the problem is resolved, often the relationship dissolves.

MSP Marketing 101: One Step at a Time

MSP Today has examined the whole issue of MSP marketing and customer acquisition, and we came up with a few key steps.

Step one: Be honest with yourself. What are you good at? Do you already have good relationships with key journalists? Then maybe you can play a nice hand in public relations. Just don’t assume that because you know a scribe or two, you can go it entirely alone. PR is a profession that takes years to master.

Step two: Ask for help. Some companies are specifically designed to help. Take Ulistic, which offers marketing services specifically for MSPs, for example.

Ulistic was founded by Stuart Crawford, who also founded MSP IT Matters and built it into a $5.4 million company with over 30 workers. Ulistic now offers sales coaching, business consulting and marketing help.

Much marketing happens on the Web, and Ulistic has SEO services, Web and content development, social media and blogging.

Plus, the company can write case studies and testimonials and other articles, as well as e-mail marketing.

“With more IT Managed Service Providers (MSPs) entering the marketplace, established MSPs are facing slowing sales and growth; some are even going out of business. This is due to the fact that many don’t market themselves effectively, or at all,” said Ulistic. “In years past, MSPs could grow their business through word-of-mouth referrals.  With an abundance of new MSPs selling services today, this is no longer the case.  The competition is fierce. Today, marketing is the lifeline for MSPs.”

Step three: Seek out vendor advice. GFI sells remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools to MSPs along with other wares. The software company is also trying to help these same partners make more money with its website that offers MSP marketing tips and tricks.

MSP Business Management, from the GFI MAX team, includes resources, tip and perhaps a bit of inspiration for MSPs looking to master marketing.

“We’ve created this space to share ideas collected from our customers and colleagues who have set-up, run and managed sales and marketing programs for their own IT support and managed service companies. We hope their experiences help you avoid some of the common pitfalls that come with growing a business,” GFI said.

What makes GFI so credible? It already does business with more than 4,200 MSPs and IT companies. In fact, GFI MAX, which can do remote monitoring and management, as well as security and now cloud storage, is aimed specifically at MSPs.

The GFI MAX team also put together a white paper offering MSP marketing advice.

GFI starts with the problem, pointing out that more than half of all VARs recently surveyed struggled to demonstrate the value of managed services. Some 40 percent described managed service as time-consuming and difficult to implement.

The paper describes GFI’s approach as Building Blocks, and it “is all about making Managed Services easy, practical and fast. We don’t believe implementing and selling Managed Services should involve lengthy and time-consuming training, or complex business models and complex software to implement,” the company said.

Building Blocks offers MSPs sample text for their website, pricing and cost calculators, sales materials and implementation guides.

Like GFI, Continuum, Inc. wants its partners to succeed with the help of good marketing. So the hosted managed services provider recently built Marketing Advantage. This program provides sales tools and materials.

“We heard loud and clear that existing approaches to partner marketing support fall short of truly enabling MSPs to produce better marketing and sales results – mostly because the onus has been on MSPs to devote extra time, resources and expertise to marketing that they do not have,” said Mark Zahar, vice president of Continuum’s Channel Marketing and Community Development. “Marketing Advantage’s turnkey approach redefines partner marketing and reflects our continued commitment to deliver high-value partner programs that produce measurable results.”

There is apparently much more to the program. “It’s an automated marketing services bureau intended to make marketing simpler and more effective for even resource-constrained MSPs. It gives MSPs e-mail marketing platform, a dashboard for tracking leads statuses, custom content, social media automation, mobile applications, sales and website analytics. Participating MSPs receive a custom video brochure and 100 prequalified leads to seed the system,” Continuum said.

One Continuum partner helped build the program and also now uses it. “We’ve been building an MSP practice for years, and we looked at various vendor marketing programs. Continuum Marketing Advantage isn’t just different; it’s the only complete marketing solution purpose-built for MSPs that need a methodical and proven means to increase their marketing and sales effectiveness,” said Dan Adams, president of New England Network Solutions.

Edited by Alisen Downey

MSPToday Editor at Large

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