The First Step: Gary Pica
By Gennifer Biggs, security, storage, and managed services editor
It was a packed house when Gary Pica, president of MSP mentoring business TruMethods, took the stage on the first day of the Ingram Micro Seismic conference held June 8-9 in Dallas. His topic, "Supercharge Your MSP Sales And Profits," was clearly of interest to the hundreds of MSPs at the event, and he quickly launched into his advice by outlining three keys to driving sales and margin: packaging your support offering, pricing, and building a sales engine.
Of those, I found the first point the most compelling. Your support offering is what you sell your customer, and that is the center of your business, explained Pica. A common hurdle, he continued, is not really knowing what you want to sell as your offering. "You must focus on the end result, focus on what it is you want to deliver to every customer you have, and determine exactly what level of support do you want to offer every single customer," says Pica. Once you've determined what you want to sell, then you must determine what resources you need to achieve that outcome – people, technical skills, vendor partners, time, etc. From there you tackle pricing and sales, but don't rush that process.
In fact, Pica says that it is during the "determine your support offering" step that many MSPs stumble – they try to offer too many options to their customers. He recommends limiting your choices and options rather than offering four or five levels of service. So, if you are an MSP with offerings titled something similar to Gold, Silver, Bronze, you need to make a choice. "When I talk to MSPs, I ask them: of all these offerings, which one do you really want to sell, which one do you really want your customers to pick. When they answer, say the gold level, then I tell them to sell that one. Don't leave the choice to your customer; the customer doesn't know what he wants," says Pica.
Another common mistake, Pica says, is the failure by MSPs to define their "edges." "You need to have a clear line – what is included, what is not – when it comes to your offering," says Pica, who also recommends that if you can't explain your offering in an elevator speech – share your business offering, its costs, how it works in one minute – you need to hone that offering before moving on to the next steps on the process.