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SER AT ITEX 2018 – DAY 1
Managed Service Provider (MSP) and Digital Marketing strategies

Dave Leabeater & David McQueen, 17 May 2018


David McQueen
and I are attending ITEX 2018 in Las Vegas. The theme of this year’s event is OWN THE OFFICE, PIECE BY PIECE

For us Day 1 was all about Managed Service Provider (MSP) and Digital Marketing strategies. Following are our summaries and thoughts from Day 1.

Read our pre-conference summary

DAVE’S DAY 1 SUMMARY

The conversation at ITEX still lends itself towards transitioning into a Managed Service Provider (MSP), with this year’s catch phrase ‘Own the office, piece by piece’.

The debate is still out as to which method is the best or most successful practice (Build, Buy, Partner). The ‘Build’ due to investment cost appears to be the least preferred, with both ‘Buy’ and ‘Partner’ the most commonly utilised approach.

In previous years the focus on shifting to become a Managed Services Provider was largely outward facing on what IT services the dealer/vendor could provide and how to provide them in order to increase revenue streams. This year in order to grow and avoid missing opportunities to capitalise on Managed Services revenue, the focus appears to carry greater inward facing emphasis.

Firstly, on the dealers/vendors internal systems and support:

  • It is important that the dealer/vendor’s system can Track and Monitor any provided service so that it can be billed accurately
  • Start in a low touch complementary service offering
  • Look for areas where the competition isn’t servicing the local market

Secondly, Client Management (‘Hardest thing to get is a customer, Easiest thing to lose is a customer’); It’s not all about adding or replacing the clients current technology, but simply utilising the current technology better to provide the client a better/beneficial outcome. Example of this are:

  • Automate business process for cost savings
  • Extract better data intelligence for the client to generate more business

Thirdly, having the right MSP Partners in place so that you are ready to accommodate conversations around services (eg. IT, Unified Communications, Cloud) other than your traditional print offerings.

With these supporting three elements in place, the pathway to a successful Managed Service Provider then critically comes down to the COMMUNICATION and RESPONSIVENESS to the client, as you don’t always have to have the answer. You will gain knowledge overtime.

Having the Managed Service delivery infrastructure and Partnerships in place, the theme to gain momentum in this arena is underpinned by;
TRUST: Customer security is paramount, however the Dealer/Vendor needs to trust their MSP Partners with their client. As a salesperson, trust in the security of your hard earned client needs to be passed to your dealership/vendors Subject Matter Expert (SME or IT specialist)
PROMOTE: Promoting your wider services offering is a must. For the Dealer/Vendor leverage of the OEM partners marketing campaigns (OPM: Other People’s Money), incentivise cross-selling and allow the salesperson to remain involved. For the salesperson, secure your clients with additional touch points and organisational relationships.

Any steps towards a Managed Service Provider requires that you understand your base, and where you want your revenue streams to come from. However, one element that seems an absolute consideration in this space is Cloud and Document Management Software. Statistics from Keypoint Intelligence in 2017 suggest approximately 30% of business’s are considering the purchase of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) software and of that 30%, 50% percent are seeking acquisition within 6 months. In translation, HUGE opportunities around Document Management. Due to Cloud, some now Cloud Based Document Solutions provide an 80% out of the box or vanilla application strike rate, which allows faster presentation and closing for the salesperson, coupled with faster implementation by the service/tech team, resulting in increased margin and profitability via reusable IP. Read more

To summarise today for me at ITEX:

  • Customer before technology.
  • Know your customer, know your niche.
  • Team Selling

Cheers,
Dave Leabeater
National Sales Manager, S.E. Rentals
Contact Dave

DAVID’S DAY 1 SUMMARY

This morning session evolved around Marketing Strategies (Digital) for Businesses and in particular ‘Inbound Marketing’ as opposed to ‘Outbound Marketing’.

Presenters: Aaron Dyke & Matt McGuire from Clover, promoted an Inbound Marketing Strategy should focus on three elements:
1. Search Engine Optimisation
2. Social Media Promotion
3. Relevant High Quality Content Generation

While none of the above will be new to many of you, we delved into specifics as to what makes these three elements most effective with the ultimate aim of creating traffic to your website, and then engaging with a prospective client once they are there (keeping in mind that elements 2 & 3 achieve 1).

Let’s look at your website – Consider:
1. How to get visitors to your website
2. Why are visitors going to your website?
3. How to engage visitors who view your website?
4. People visit a website to learn – can you solve their problem?
5. Are you monitoring website traffic?

Some essential pages: Home / Photo gallery / Call to Action (donate / sign up) / Search website / Response forms (subscribe, inquiries) / Blog / Testimonials and/or Case Studies / Videos / Contact forms etc

Again, while none of the above is new, are you optimising the platforms you have at your disposable?
How does Google rate your content? Are your keywords prominent and consistent? How many words per page is optimal (less than 500 words is too thin)? What is your page load speed? Is you website mobile ready?

Does your website target your market audience? What value do you bring to your target market? Why should businesses work with you? Back to optimisation – how many words should an ‘Authority paper’ (asking for contact information) have? Answer – about 7,000 words.

The Social Media platforms are used by most businesses (why not – they’re free!) and a very useful tool in getting your message across and creating traffic to your website if used correctly. Information provided (different content to different platforms) should include:

  • Self-Promotion
  • Education
  • Creating Content

Some tips on social media optimisation:

  • 20-25 posts per month (should be well thought out and planned on a 4-week cycle)
  • 150 pieces of original content (500 words or more)
  • 2-3 videos per quarter (a growing tool for businesses and we looked at various video content ideas)

The ultimate aim with the above – gaining an edge over your competitors and ultimately growing your business.

My second session was hearing from an Industry leader, Patrick Layton, who shared his success story of building an IT Solutions offering into a print business; something which many print companies are grappling with. What stood out here was the investment required and time spent to make this segment of the business profitable, but also some key messages on how it worked. Such as Cloud based solutions (how do you choose the right cloud offering), ‘flat fee billing’, break-even time spans, target market, length of contract, assessment cost, ‘Hosted Virtual Desktop’, the concept of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), security etc.

While the advantages of incorporating an IT Solution offering into your business are well known from a revenue perspective, much thought has to be given to exactly how you are going to do this. ‘Buy it’, ‘Build it’ and Outsource it’ all have pros and cons and the challenge is working out what will be most successful for your business.

My third session today gave an overview of the MPS market and current trends. Seat Based Billing (SBB) was again a talking point, and is yet to be fully embraced by the industry, with the main challenge around pricing the offering but then also selling the concept to clients. What defines a ‘seat’ – is it number of work stations or ‘employee head count’; and what happens if suddenly the business reduces its workforce by 20%; how do we sell the offering to our clients. No doubt there is more discussion to come in this space.

Cheers,
David McQueen
Senior VIC Account Manager, S.E. Rentals
Contact David

You're invited to follow S.E. Rentals @SE_Rentals on Twitter and join the discussion in our LinkedIn Group.


S.E. Rentals are the finance as a service specialists that will help you grow your business by providing finance solutions in an 'all things technology' future. We provide you with the flexibility, scalability and agility to help you achieve your Managed Service objectives, and our unique in-house software platform automates the process for you with a One Bill Solution - your bill - your document - your branding.

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