Ask Intronis: How can a PR firm help my MSP grow?

Posted by Lauren Beliveau on Feb 20, 2017 8:01:00 AM

 

Q: We’re trying to increase our marketing activities and visibility in the channel to attract new customers. So, we’re considering hiring a public relations firm to help coordinate relationships with the media and write press releases for us. Is a PR firm really worth the money? Are there additional ways they can help my MSP grow?

Hiring a public relations firm is a big decision. It’s often an investment of both time and money, but they can certainly help you gain visibility in the IT channel, craft your messaging to resonate with SMB clients, and even build a positive brand image. Essentially, a PR firm is an extension of your business—they can offer advice about your latest marketing campaign, alert you to new IT channel or managed service trends, or even help you promote your MSP business. They’re there to give you an extra set of objective eyes on multiple facets of your MSP business.

To give you an inside look at how a PR firm can help shape your MSP business, we spoke to Suzanne Collier from WhiteFox PR & Marketing. With more than 15 years working in the field, Suzanne is a seasoned PR professional, dedicated to helping businesses build and maintain a positive brand image. With her knowledge of the IT channel, Suzanne shared her take on how a PR firm can help grow your MSP.

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Ask Intronis: How can I save a customer relationship?

Posted by Lauren Beliveau on Feb 13, 2017 7:00:00 AM

Q: We recently added new members to the team at my MSP, and we expanded our services. While we’re doing OK revenue wise, it feels like we have a lot of unhappy customers lately. How can we mend the relationships with our customers so they continue to stay with us? 

Creating and maintaining customer relationships can difficult, especially when you’re adding new employees to the mix. However, having exceptional customer service is essential to growing your business and keeping your current customers onboard. Businesses often get sucked into believing there’s always another happy customer around the corner. But that’s not always the case. No one wants to deal with an unhappy customer, but it’s easier to patch a relationship with a good customer then find new ones to fill their shoes. Plus, a recent study found that 62 percent of B2B customers buy more after a good customer experience. So improving your customer service can pay off in a number of ways.

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Ask Intronis: How can I start using videos in my marketing strategy?

Posted by Lauren Beliveau on Feb 6, 2017 7:42:00 AM

Q: Video marketing seems to be getting more popular, so to get ahead of the curve, I want to start using video marketing to highlight my IT service offering. How can I start using video on my website and incorporate it into my marketing strategy?

Video marketing is still considered new in a B2B environment, but many consumer brands have found it to be an effective way to highlight different features their product has to offer. Researchers even found that after watching a video, 73 percent of adults are more likely to make a purchase. When used properly, video creates an easy way to educate customers on the value of your services — without making them feel like they’re just being sold to. 

To help you successfully incorporate video into your website, we talked to Sarah Duffy. Sarah is the senior marketing manager of demand generation at Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda, and she has worked extensively on different aspects of our website to make it successful. She shared her advice on why video marketing is important and how to successfully integrate it into your website.

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Ask Intronis: Should my MSP switch customers to an advanced firewall?

Posted by Lauren Beliveau on Jan 30, 2017 8:30:00 AM

Q: When we bring new customers on board at my MSP, we give them an all-inclusive service, which includes a free basic firewall that we integrate into our offering. Some of my techs have been pushing for us to move to a next-generation firewall instead to help minimize risks. We would probably have to increase the cost of the packages for our current customers if we did this though. Is it really a change we need to make? What are the benefits of switching, and how can I explain the transition to our current customers? 

We’ve talked to quite a few MSPs that have taken a similar approach. They’re offering a basic level of security to their customers, but they’re realizing they need to start offering a more robust solution. While a basic firewall can offer some protection, the reality is advanced threats can still sneak through. We know that conversations with your customers about increasing the price might not be easy, but in the long run a more robust solution could save them from having to pay hefty ransoms down the road or deal with costly downtime that could be caused by a breach.

To help you decide if this is the best option for your MSP, we talked to one of our Systems Engineers, Kyle Marsan. Kyle shared his advice on why MSPs should consider moving their customers to a next-generation firewall and what you should focus on when you’re trying to convince current customers to move to a more advanced solution. 

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Ask Intronis: How can I use severe weather to sell more services?

Posted by Lauren Beliveau on Jan 23, 2017 7:39:00 AM

Q: My MSP is based near Seattle, and we got hit by a major ice storm recently. It got me thinking that the bad weather might be a good sales tool. How can I use the weather forecast, before or after a storm hits, as an opportunity to warm customers up to new services?

Getting customers interested in new services can be difficult, but severe weather gives you an additional reason to take important conversations off the backburner. If you don’t have one in place already, set a standard protocol to reach out to your customers and go over their disaster recovery plans and their recent backup sets before the storm hits. This will also give you the opportunity to look over their current agreement and assess whether or not any additional services need to be put into place. Are they backing up onsite and in the cloud? Will they have access to email in the case of a power outage? Use this as an opportunity to have an engaged conversation with your customer.

To help your conversation go smoothly, we spoke to Scott Bennett and a few of your peers. Scott is the director of North America partner management at Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda, and he focuses on helping MSP partners become more successful by helping them build and sell a portfolio of services. He shared his advice on how you can successfully sell more services to your clients when you’re checking in before or after severe weather hits.  

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Ask Intronis: How to create an effective 12-month marketing plan

Posted by Lauren Beliveau on Jan 9, 2017 7:15:00 AM

Q: Even though we have a small marketing department at my MSP, for the past several years we’ve created a 12-month marketing plan. But, every year we’re too ambitious and end up shelving it a few months in. How can we create an effective marketing plan that we can use consistently throughout the year?

Creating a marketing plan is easy, but following it can be difficult. This is a common struggle that most businesses face for numerous reasons. Maybe the plan is too difficult to execute or too lengthy to look back on, the goals aren’t clearly defined, accountability isn’t assigned, or there’s a lack of resources and unforeseen market changes. While you may not have had luck in the past, creating an effective marketing plan is achievable and can be a great tool to successfully guide your team.

To help you create an effective marketing plan to carry with you through the year, we consulted Raj Khera, the CEO of MailerMailer. Raj works with numerous MSPs to help them excel in their marketing efforts, whether it’s helping them create a newsletter to send to their clients each month or a well-crafted email, Raj helps MSPs generate marketing success. To start your New Year off on the right foot, here are Raj’s tips for creating an effective 12-month marketing plan.

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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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