Are your meetings data driven?

Many MSPs have invested tens of thousands of dollars in software tools, such as professional services automation (PSA) packages. Unfortunately, there is a huge difference between merely deploying the software and really using it to its full potential.

I had the pleasure of attending Autotask's partner conference in May, Autotask Community Live. I really liked their emphasis on data and the need for MSPs to be metric driven. In most of their main stage presentations, the Autotask leadership focused on their new Performance Dashboard functionality and the ways in which metrics can drive superior service and sales performance in an MSP or solution provider.

The right software and metrics are only half the battle however. MSPs need to evolve their culture and habits so that everything becomes metric driven, including meetings. In my experience, this is the big stumbling block in most organizations. There may be good software in place to track all the key metrics, but the data may just be sitting lifeless on the shelf. Is the data reviewed and discussed in key meetings? Are leaders held accountable for the successes or challenges inherent in the data? Meetings are where the magic or the dysfunctions of an organization emerge. Meetings are the building blocks of organizational life. If the meetings are productive, creative, informative, and action oriented, an organization thrives. If they are boring, long, insipid, or mired in corporate politics, then people and the company may languish.

My favorite book on meetings is Death by Meeting, by Patrick Lencioni. One of the best practices from the book is idea of a Weekly Tactical Meeting. This meeting is the un-staff meeting. It is fast, tactical, exciting, and driven by data. The purpose of the meeting is primarily for team mates to update each other on the week's priorities and to review the key performance indicators under the team's control. Data and metrics are one of the pillars of a good weekly tactical meeting. You can see the high level format of the weekly tactical meeting here.

So the question is: are your meetings data driven? If not, I suggest you take just a few steps to get them there. First, settle on five key metrics for the business. Measure them with the tools at your disposal, such as your PSA package and business analytics tool like Qlikview. And then start reviewing the data in your weekly tactical meeting. Don't boil the ocean or fall down the data rabbit hole. Just review the numbers each week. The visibility alone will get people's attention and awaken everyone to the importance of metrics for superior business performance.


Five Ways for MSPs to Build Their House List

A good house list is the foundation of great online marketing. Despite the advancements in social media, email marketing endures as the most effective means of reaching business decision makers. Your email marketing practices must be CAN SPAM compliant; it is the law. And it just makes great sense to give your email recipients the choice to quickly opt-out, if they so choose. You are unlikely to sell anything to a client that is un-engaged with your communications.

So, with opt-outs, your house list will naturally shrink, unless you are actively growing it.

Here are five ways to build your house list.

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Who is your most profitable vendor relationship?

Only a small fraction of the MSPs and VARs I work with actually can answer this question.

Most partners can quickly identify their most "strategic vendor." More often than not, they will name the vendor that contributes the most top line sales.  Next, they can also quickly tell you who they enjoy working with the most.  These are usually companies that have that magic elixir of excellent pre- and post-sales support, with just the right amount of fun and personal relationships amongst key executives.

But few can identify with confidence their most profitable vendor relationship.

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"All I have is time."

We just wrapped up day one of the eFolder Partner Council. eFolder has gathered together twelve of our top channel partners for two days of discussion and sharing. The primary goal is for eFolder to listen and learn from partners: what is working and not; what is valuable or annoying or distracting; what are the barriers to growth; and so on. Partners benefit by learning from each other and getting the inside track from the eFolder management team.

After spending a full day with our valued partners, the thing that resonated with me the most is need for simplicity.

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Let Your Clients Tell Your Story

One of the most effective marketing methods is client testimonials. Experts like Robin Robins and others make big bucks telling IT solution providers and MSPs what they may already know: no one tells your story better than your own clients.

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