Q&A | May 12, 2014

Channel Transitions West: Define The Unique Process You Use To Deliver Value

By Bernadette Wilson, associate editor, Business Solutions magazine
Follow Me On Twitter @bernadeditor

Gary Pica, TruMethods

Featured speaker Gary Pica stressed the importance of “defining your company way” at the first of the 2014 Channel Transitions VAR/MSP Executive Conferences, powered by Business Solutions magazine (BSM). Pica is the CEO and owner of TruMethods, a coaching and mentoring company that has helped transform more than 800 IT providers around the world. His company Dynamic Digital Services, which was acquired by mindSHIFT Technologies, generated more than $500,000 of monthly recurring revenue.

Pica told VARs and managed services providers (MSPs) at the April 29 conference in Santa Ana, CA, that one of the most common questions MSPs ask is how he was able to sell at a higher price and able to have margins of 25 to 35 percent. He explains because all MSPs have access to the same technology, you need to find a way to differentiate your business. Pica says each MSP has to define its unique process to deliver value, which he refers to as “your company way.”

Pica points out most MSPs agree their customers would be better off if their MSP had a higher level of technology standardization across their customer base. Pica says this begins with standardizing processes within your company. Of the thousands of details that can impact your customers, you need to find a way to organize them and create a simple process that anyone in the company can follow and get the same results. “I’m a believer in everyone in the company having a defined role that has a process so that we know what success looks like,” he says. To organize categories of issues that impact your clients, Pica suggests a hierarchy based on common tickets, followed by a list of yes or no questions — so all answers will be consistent. “You want your smartest people developing the questions, but anyone can ask them,” he explains. It also allows you to see if the customer is lined up — or misaligned — with the technology standard you have set.

In addition, he stresses that technology consulting also requires a process. This ensures every customer is getting the benefit of your knowledge in the same way — and ensures you are getting paid. “Customers see value in process,” he says. He also says MSPs should limit choices and options. When a business offers different options — such as “with or without antivirus” or “with or without backup” — Pica asks, “Which one is the right one?” He says customers may object to the need for everything you have packaged in the solution and look for a lower price, but Pica says to overcome this, explain you have a process: “Without that process, we can’t do it cost effectively, and we can’t get you the end result and the protection you need. So it’s bundled in — consider it free.” He asks VARs and MSPs, “If you know the right way to do it, why would you let your customer do it a different way?”

Pica comments that when you provide services based on your company way, you will likely charge customers more than what they paid before. He stressed several times in his presentation, however, that investing in the right way pays dividends for you and for you clients. “I care too much about my customers to not charge them enough,” he says.

For more information on upcoming Channel Transitions VAR/MSP Executive Conferences that focus on helping VARs transitioning from break/fix to the as-a-Service business model, visit www.BSMinfo.com/go/ChannelTransitions.

Channel Transitions is sponsored by: Platinum Sponsors GFI MAX and Mercury, Gold Sponsor F-Secure, along with industry association partners CompTIA, The ASCII Group, the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA), and the Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility (AIM).

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