Ask Intronis: What should I keep in mind when choosing a CRM tool?

Posted by Lauren Beliveau on Jan 2, 2017 8:21:00 AM

Q: As my team continues to grow, we’re looking into CRM tools to help organize our sales efforts. What are some things I should consider when choosing a CRM tool?

You’re certainly on the right track. A good CRM tool can keep your team organized as you start to grow. As you accumulate more clients and foster more relationships, a CRM tool can help you pull all sorts of information together, such as phone numbers, addresses, contacts, and even notes, allowing your entire staff to be on the same page.

When you start searching for a CRM tool, there are a number of factors you need to consider. Most importantly, you want to find a solution that can grow with your business. To give you pointers on how to find a solution that is the best fit for your MSP, we spoke to Ellen Krupp. Ellen is the in-house CRM expert at Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda, and she works tirelessly with the sales and marketing teams to integrate new functionalities and ensure that everything continues to run smoothly. Here are her tips on what your MSP should consider when looking for a CRM tool.

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Ask Intronis: How can I price my managed services appropriately?

Posted by Lauren Beliveau on Dec 26, 2016 7:50:00 AM

Q: At the moment, we’re using pricing tiers at my MSP to standardize our services and make it easier to price out new clients. While this seems to help sales go more smoothly, we’re second guessing ourselves when it comes to service. Some of our clients are high maintenance and require a lot of support, so it seems like we might be losing money. Going into the New Year, how can I price appropriately to fit the needs of my clients without wrecking my margins? 

Pricing appropriately can be a challenge for MSPs, especially when you have standardized pricing for all of your customers. Some customers may be larger than others and some simply might need more support, so finding the right balance can tricky. While you may not be looking forward to evaluating and adjusting your pricing structure, now is the time to make sure you’re positioned to be profitable in the coming year.

To get advice on how to price appropriately as an MSP, we spoke to Chris Johnson, the director of business development and strategy at Wheelhouse IT. With more than 15 years of experience in the IT channel, he’s seen numerous approaches to MSP pricing. Here are his tips on how to price appropriately in the upcoming year: 

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Ask Intronis: How should I handle a disgruntled employee?

Posted by Lauren Beliveau on Dec 19, 2016 7:14:00 AM

Q: My MSP has a few large accounts, so our technicians are responsible for protecting a lot of sensitive data. My worst nightmare is having a disgruntled employee do something to deliberately compromise these relationships or undermine our security measures. We do our due diligence to protect the data, but there’s always that human aspect that worries me. How should I handle an unhappy employee if the problem does come up?

Dealing with disgruntled employees isn’t easy, and if it’s handled incorrectly it can be detrimental to your MSP business. So we can certainly see why that’s your worst nightmare. Thankfully, there are symptoms you can watch for so you can catch a problem early on and diffuse it before there are serious consequences.

Dealing with disgruntled employees can affect multiple parts of an organization, so we sought advice from Quiana Roy, our human resources coordinator, and Mark Conway, our IT system administrator. While an IT department tends to have a reactive role in this type of situation, an HR department usually takes a more proactive approach. But, both departments need to collaborate to effectively handle the situation and protect the business.

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Ask Intronis: What trends should my MSP take advantage of in 2017?

Posted by Lauren Beliveau on Dec 12, 2016 7:11:00 AM

Q: This year was a big year for my MSP, and I’m really hoping to continue to move my MSP forward in the coming year. What IT trends do you think my MSP should be ready to take advantage of in 2017?

Congratulations on your growth! 2016 was a huge year for many service providers, and we hope 2017 will bring you additional success. With so many ups and downs in the past 12 months—a 300-percent increase in ransomware attacks, TeslaCrypt handing over the keys, NASA moving to the cloud, and even Delta’s outage—this was certainly an eventful year for the IT channel.

To give you a jump start on what trends you should capitalize in the upcoming year, we spoke to Neal Bradbury, the senior director of business development at Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda, about his 2017 predictions. He shared advice on not only up-and-coming security trends, but also marketing and sales trends that are starting to emerge in the channel.

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Ask Intronis: What are some pros and cons of virtual environments?

Posted by Lauren Beliveau on Dec 5, 2016 7:37:00 AM

 Q: My MSP is growing fast, and we’re constantly adding new clients to our managed services. We have a lot invested in maintaining customers’ infrastructures, but we’re looking for additional ways to support our customers so we can continue to expand our practice. One thing we want to do is focus more on virtual environments. What are some pros and cons of virtualization?

Virtual environments can help growing SMBs by providing flexibility. Instead of having to replace backup appliances as they grow, a virtual environment can give them quick and easy scalability. Before you deploy them for customers, though, there are a few things to keep in mind.

To help you weigh out all of the pros and cons of having virtualized environments for your customers, we spoke to our Product Management team. They outlined the benefits and challenges associated with virtual environments and what steps you need to take in the planning process.

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Ask Intronis: How can I become a stronger leader?

Posted by Lauren Beliveau on Nov 28, 2016 7:38:00 AM

Q: I’m working for a break-fix IT provider right now, but I see a tremendous need for MSPs in our area. To capitalize on this segment of the market, I’m thinking about opening my own business. As a woman in the IT sector, I feel like I’m constantly trying to overcome gender stereotypes within the channel, and I’m wondering how that would affect my business. How can I overcome this and become a strong leader?

Owning your own business can be very rewarding, and you shouldn’t let anyone or anything stop you from pursuing this goal. Unfortunately, gender stereotypes are still a real issue in IT, and women seem to be questioning careers in technology more and more. In 1984, 37 percent of all computer science graduates were women, compared to 18 percent today. The gender gap in technology continues to increase, and by 2020 there will be over 1.4 million jobs in computing-related fields, but women are projected to fill only 3 percent of these roles. More than ever, women need to feel empowered to take on leadership roles in the IT community—and opening your own MSP business can not only empower you, but those around you as well.

To share hands-on experience and advice with you, we talked to Betty Bruce, the director at SYGNVS Integrated Solutions and the past president of a local professional women’s group. Betty has been in the computing industry for almost 30 years. She started out in software consulting and saw the MSP space as an opportunity to grow. Betty has been an inspiration both inside her business and in the local community, helping women feel confident pursuing their careers. Betty shared some words of encouragement, as well as her take on the qualities an effective leader needs to have.

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Ask Intronis: How can my MSP achieve more growth?

Posted by Lauren Beliveau on Nov 21, 2016 7:29:00 AM

Q: A couple years ago we only provided break-fix options for customers, but now we offer full managed technology services. Growth was rapid at first, but it seems to have hit a plateau. While I’m thankful for how far we’ve come, I believe there’s still room for us to grow and better serve our customers. As the year comes to a close, how can I evolve our strategy to achieve more growth in the coming year?

Congratulations on transitioning your business into a managed service provider. Making this crucial step can be difficult, but it will enable you to grow your MSP business tremendously. However, your business expansion aspirations do not need to stop there.  You should always look for ways to add more value to your existing customers and invest in ways to recruit new clients.  These two areas are something that, Brian Babineau, our General Manager, constantly talks about with our own team and encourages constant improvement on. 

By the sound of your questions, you’re thankful for the progress you’ve made but want to do more.  We posed the same scenario to Brian as part of this edition of Ask Intronis. -

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Ask Intronis: How can I get my customers to prioritize email security?

Posted by Lauren Beliveau on Nov 14, 2016 8:02:00 AM

Q: I’m having a hard time getting my customers to invest in email security. So I constantly worry about what threats might be leaking into their inboxes because I’ll be the one stuck cleaning up the mess. How can I avoid this headache and ultimately get my customers to understand the importance of email security?

You certainly aren’t the only one who feels this way. Many MSPs worry about customers who decide to forego extra layers of security because they think they’ll be fine without it. With multiple threats sneaking into inboxes on a daily basis, communicating the value of email security to your customers is essential—and can save them from falling for an attack that could do serious harm to their business.

To get you the best advice on how to communicate the value of email security we talked to Abbey Greene Barr. Abbey works on our partner success team and talks to our MSP partners regularly about how they can communicate the value of their services. Here is Abbey’s advice on how to show your customers how critical email security can be.
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Ask Intronis: Best practices for exhibiting at a tradeshow?

Posted by Lauren Beliveau on Nov 7, 2016 7:29:00 AM

Q: I read one of your recent Ask Intronis posts on how to get the most out of attending tradeshow. I’ll be exhibiting at an upcoming tradeshow this fall, and I was hoping to find some tips on how to maximize my tradeshow sponsorship. Do you have any advice on how to make my sponsorship pay off?

Generating leads and creating opportunities is essential to growing your business, and maximizing your efforts at a tradeshow is a great way to get some new business. Attending tradeshows, is extremely helpful for MSPs—and having a booth at the right show can be even more beneficial to growing your business. 

To help you get the most out your tradeshow sponsorship, we talked to Erin Shaw Crowley who is the event marketing manager at Intronis MSP Solutions. Erin is a tradeshow pro. After planning and attending more than a hundred conferences and events, Erin has it down to a science, from luggage tips to how to make your booth stand out. She shared best advice on how to maximize leads and, more importantly, help your experience go smoothly.

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Ask Intronis: What if my MSP gets hacked?

Posted by Lauren Beliveau on Oct 31, 2016 7:05:00 AM

Q: My MSP focuses on the healthcare field, and with all the data breaches popping up in the news it’s safe to say a breach happening to us is my biggest cyber security nightmare. Do you have any tips in case my MSP gets hacked?

Much like Halloween, data breaches can certainly be haunting, and many other MSPs have the same fear— especially when they’re helping small businesses protect highly regulated information. However, implementing best practices and looking for potential vulnerabilities can help protect your SMB customers —and your MSP — from getting breached.

To help you mitigate the risks and protect your MSP, we spoke to Chris Johnson, the director of business development and strategy at Wheelhouse IT. He has been working hands on with managed IT in the healthcare field since 2008, and he has worked in regulated industries in the IT field for 20 years. Chris shared his insight on both mitigation tactics and steps you need to take if your MSP is compromised.

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