Customer Infrastructure Upgrades Help Your Bottom Line
As a Managed IT Provider, you want your customers to have a seamless infrastructure. While most customers would agree with this notion, they don’t always open up their checkbook to prove it. When they do decide to pony up however, this revenue tends to trickle down directly to your bottom line and make for some very enticing financials. If you want to see for yourself, just pull up a month over month P&L, filter by non-recurring services (T&M), and look at your Gross Profit respectively. These figures are sure to correlate.
So why not just sell more projects? This is easier said than done. To help steer your in the right direction, we compiled some of the best ways we found to drive profit through the sale of IT Projects.
Documenting Best Practices
It can be difficult to hold your customers to a high infrastructure standard if that standard is not documented. Taking a few hours to put together an easy to understand “best practice” document or video is the first step in getting customer’s to commit to more projects.
One of the challenges of creating such documentation is that not every customer’s business is created equal. This is why our MSP business put together four tiers in the form of checklists (bronze, silver, gold, platinum). As customer’s made upgrades, we checked them off on their best practice tier. When they completed an entire tier, they would advance to the next one. This helped them understand how their business technology stacked up against others and kept customer’s more engaged in the process.
Incentivizing Customers to complete more projects can work in your favor. In going back to our best practice tier example, we offered the customer discounted service based on the tier they were in. Now there was a tangible cost saving for them for each project they committed to, thus making them more eager to schedule work.
You could also reward customer’s on a monthly basis without the use of a tier system. This could work in the form of discounting a customer’s recurring services by a percentage every month that they are billed for project work. If you want to get even more creative, you could create discount thresholds based on the amount billed, rewarding the customers that take on larger projects.
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Quarterly Customer Meetings
Having a regularly scheduled meeting with customers is the perfect sales opportunity to pitch projects and ensure both parties are holding up their end of the relationship. Using your best practices as talking points, you can guide the conversation in the direction you want which is likely toward high level projects and away from the Level 1 “issue of the week.”
After doing this regularly, your customers will be accustomed to your routine and will be fully prepared to discuss these topics and engage in the conversation. If you hold up your end of the deal and execute projects as planned, they will be more willing to schedule work the following meeting.
Striking when the “iron is hot” as it relates to IT Projects requires a lot of collaboration. Most infrastructure issues tend to reveal themselves on the front-line and having a Level 1 team capable of identifying them can be a gateway to selling more projects.
This can be optimized through education and incentives. It is easy for your Help Desk team to just burn through tickets, making problems go away without concern for long-term implications. Teaching your team to identify trends and then offering them a commission on projects scheduled as a result of their escalation will create more opportunities.
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Customers are creatures of habit and tend to commit to projects when it is most convenient or beneficial for them. A perfect example of this notion is the project rush at the end of the year, as companies look to spend their surplus budget or rack up more tax saving expenses. This type of surge makes scheduling during these times a nightmare.
Using marketing automation, you can send emails to existing customers to remind them to schedule these projects much further in advance. You may even want to analyze your financials to find the slowest months for projects and then deploy email campaigns to generate more project sales during these times. This keeps your project team fully optimized throughout the year and keeps the profit churning.
Deploying one or all of these strategies is certain to help you sell more IT projects and increase your gross margin. If you have any additional ideas on how to sell infrastructure upgrades, or if you have questions on how to do so, feel free leave them in the comments below.