The key to the success of TekLinks' managed services is simple, said David Powell, vice president of managed services for the Birmingham, Ala.-based solution provider: It's teamwork.
TekLinks' total revenue grew to $66 million last year, up from $56 million in 2010, and managed services led the way, Powell said. Managed services is now 20 percent of total revenue and has more than doubled during the last two years. That's helped propel TekLinks from No. 268 in 2011 to this year's No. 228.
Managed services has permeated every part of this 12-year-old solution provider's business, thanks to an internal strategy to train every employee on how to sell and deliver managed services to clients. The company built its own data center (later expanding that to three centers) and invested in training and internal messaging to employees.
In addition, the solution provider reconstructed its incentive programs to drive managed services opportunities, Powell said. "In the past, our field engineers just sold on field work. But now, from top to bottom, we've really focused [compensation] around recurring revenue and managed services, and cloud," he said.
TekLinks pays commissions on managed services deals up front rather than over the life of the deal. That encouraged behavior to change, and staff didn't fight the transition to managed services, Powell said. But TekLinks had some initial challenges, he added.
"Salespeople are great at math: 'How is this going to impact my paycheck?'" he explained. "[Now] there's an immediate gratification around selling managed services. The company was willing to put its money where its mouth is. This is where we wanted to drive growth, so that's where we put our incentives."