TruMethods' Pica also said to remember that everyone offers patch, spy and spam, anti-virus, monitoring, data backups, help desk, and other similar services. What is unique to a particular MSP are its people, resources and processes.
"If you are selling [what everybody else has], you are on the way to commoditization," he said.
The third step is to become sales-focused, which is not the same as being sales-interested, Pica said.
Being sales-focused when developing business that brings monthly recurring revenue requires a process and someone who is accountable inside the company to ensure it gets done, he said.
Being sales-focused also requires a focus on warm lead sources, not on cold calling or marketing, as well as on being realistic in setting goals.
Pica said MSPs should have a weekly sales meeting to ensure their personnel are sales-focused.
"I've had a weekly sales meeting from the beginning," he said. "In the first few years, I was the only one in the meeting. And, sometimes it got ugly."
The fourth step is to be process-driven.
Pica said this requires establishing a culture of process that involves the entire team, as well as one that allows for continual improvement. He also said successful MSPs should create a system for measuring their personnel against the company's goal, and to do so in real time if possible.
MSPs must also be accountable for their processes, Pica said.
"Who on your team is accountable for your processes?" he said. "Are you documenting your processes?"
The fifth step is to gain command over one's own business by having a 360-degree view of that business, Pica said.
This includes having a macro view, or matching roles within the company to the monthly recurring revenue, and a micro view, or understanding the gross margin per seat.
Once those different views are easily available, MSPs can develop smart numbers, Pica said.
"If you're selling recurring revenue with unlimited support, and you don't know how many service tickets that generates, you can't measure success," he said.
Prevare's Haight said Pica's differentiation between being sales-focused and sales-interested is important.
"By his definition, we are probably more sales-interested," he said. "We probably don't have all the dedicated resources we need. We fill the pipeline, work the pipeline, then refill the pipeline. We need processes in place to keep the pipeline full."
PUBLISHED OCT. 30, 2013