TruMethods, MSPs Ready To Talk Cloud, More At Schnizzfest

Everyone is talking about the cloud. But the best MSPs are looking to do more than talk, said Gary Pica, CEO of TruMethods, a channel consulting organization that specializes in helping solution providers increase their services revenue.

"Everyone is trying to see how they approach the cloud and what it means to their business," Pica said. "What changes? What doesn't change? How does it impact margins? How do you keep competitive margins as everyone starts to have access to the same tools and resources?"

Those questions -- with some answers -- will be a hot topic at TruMethods' Schnizzfest conference in Philadelphia later this week.

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Many service providers understand the technology behind the cloud but not necessarily how it integrates into their current offerings, Pica said.

Bringing together more than 200 MSP executives can help those companies stay ahead of the competition, Pica said.

"Everybody is trying to figure it out, the risks of buying it or building it and how it impacts customers. If we give them business principles around how to look at this, they can make the best decisions for themselves," Pica said.

The Schnizzfest conference was launched several years ago to bring together successful MSPs to share best practices and learn how to sell new services. Subjects at this year's event include how to improve your sales process, generating more profits and a look at hot trends in the MSP space.

The show has become a must-attend show for many channel executives. Shael Risman, CEO of PACE Technical Services, a Richmond Hill, Ont.-based MSP, said his monthly recurring revenue has increased from $50,000 to more than $130,000 in two years since joining TruMethods and attending Schnizzfest. The company was recently honored as one of the fastest-growing companies in Canada.

"The method itself has been a game changer for us, and the show is all like-minded individuals, not guys just doing managed services," Risman said. "They're actively engaged in providing the best and most profitable managed services they can. That's a very small percentage of [all] IT providers. At the end of the day, [TruMethods] is the most valuable resource we have for delivering managed services."

TruMethods aims to provide real-world examples to help MSPs improve their business, Pica said. At Schnizzfest, he is enlisting some members for a role-playing session to teach how to better sell to clients.

"It's all about perspective and expectations. We look to raise their expectations and believe that something better is possible," Pica said.

NEXT: Peer-to-Peer Success

But, Schnizzfest's strength is in its member-to-member networking, Pica admits. In a field crowded with peer-to-peer organizations, TruMethods knows it must deliver value to win the hearts -- and time and money -- of solution providers, TruMethods’ Pica said.

"We think peer-to-peer is an important part of the success process. We love [Heartland Tech Groups] and True Profit Group. We provide a framework for success, knowledge and accountability around sales operations, leadership. Can you hold yourself accountable? We have guidelines for success," Pica said. "If they get through another peer group, that's OK. We can be fans of this other great organization when you're in another peer group. But, [MSPs] feel like they need to go further, faster and combine it with accountability. We ensure they are accountable to the right things."

Meanwhile, TruMethods plans to launch a new service for inside salespeople within managed service provider companies at the organization's 2012 Schnizzfest conference later this week, an event that brings together more than 250 MSPs to network and share best practices.

The inside sales service aims to teach salespeople "a model of inside-out sales," Pica said.

"We give you a clean database so you can make phone calls and set appointments. Inside sales people want to be better but, they don't know enough," Pica said.

Terry Rossi, co-founder and CIO, PICS ITech, a Mount Holly, N.J.-based MSP, helped TruMethods develop the inside sales process, which he said has helped his staff think differently.

"We came out of the enterprise software space and started in the MSP business a few years ago with really no background in local IT calls. We took the industry-documented [way to cold call], but Gary showed us how to go in with the goal of having a conversation with a person, and if you get an appointment, that's an added bonus," Rossi said. "You need to build a level of rapport. MSP is a trust game. You're selling a widget. You need rapport and then you can get an appointment or a sale."

TruMethods also plans to detail another project code-named Supernova that "gets to the core of helping people do their job," Pica said. "It's the most important and aggressive project that we've had in terms of impacting members."