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We had a great webinar with Marnie and Alex from LifeCycle Insights and talk mostly about the QBR (Oops, I mean SBR) process, but if you’d like to see a bit more of their data collection and presentation tools for the SBR process, here is a 7 minute overview and walkthrough of Lifecycle Insights.

There was also some discussions that SBRs have to mature WITH you and your clients. You can’t just adopt what looks like the best if you aren’t ready for it. See their blog post on the evolution of MSPS and how SBRs can play a role.

Lastly from our special guests, if you’d like a copy of their sample agenda and how-to guide, shoot your request over to them at info@lifecycleinsights.io and let them know you want them and registered for the ITDUG webinar.

Video Transcript

Allen Edwards
Welcome everybody to it Doug’s December webinar series. We were a bit absent in October and November. As we had a lot of clients gone Hey Marnie Hello.

Unknown Speaker
great having you. You can serve as our chief question asker

Unknown Speaker
as our chief question asker

Unknown Speaker
perfect I’ll I’ll make sure and have tons of questions and I’ll try to do my best.

Unknown Speaker
Sounds great No pressure.

Unknown Speaker
Alright, so I’m going to share my screen to it our quick little usual it dog intro. Before we jump into the conversation, as I was mentioning, this is our our December webinar we were aiming for monthly. We get to done in September, a little absence October November as we were busy growing our clients and our employee count hopefully To the teams and to help us administer it even better and get these webinars more frequent and continue to give you guys some value. For those of us watching the recording who may not be from the earth it got put some other way. This group was founded in May of last year by Tracy harden. She has her own IP firm in Kentucky. In August of 2018, she was looking to expand the scope to more than this it. It glue where she originally founded it, asked me to come help her grow it. And just over a year later, we hit 1000 members and literally started at zero in May, I think in August, she had 200 folks, so it’s done. Quite a good job. Good job growing. You can also see some phenomenal growth for the year as well. Please do keep inviting and keep participating. My favorite thing about hitting that thousand mark is I no longer had to Other questions you guys have been posting even in my absence answering each other’s questions and helping grow each other’s businesses and documentation practice which I really appreciate. Thank you all for building it an amazing community. A little bit about why I’ve chose to help administer this it group. One you guys are my are my testbed, my sounding board. I serve it services firms and msps. In the processes in virtual teams and tools, administration, I do a lot of it glue management for our clients, as well as some other systems. And I love being able to go to you and ask you guys like my questions or concerns or what you’re seeing, or even just trolling the forums to see what’s up lately, and being able to share it with my clients, the power of mini and today we’re going to talk a little bit about the qbr process QPR stands for quarterly business review. I think when we speak to Alex and Marnie. Here we will see some a different term besides QPR that I like because we all know that quarterly is not always quarterly. It’s certainly a term that has come up. And so without further ado, I’m gonna introduce Alex and Marnie, our special guest here. I met them both at it nation in Orlando back in late October, Brooke and I were cruising the vendors pavilion, and every single one of our clients is working with us right now on trying to improve the qbr process. And we have some templates and some documents and some processes for them. And some of them reference tools and the fact is we use the only tools that were available and they had some benefit. And we ran into life cycle insights, or like QPR and soul. Okay, we talk about Alex morning for a while I love what the product is doing love the thought process and the fact that Alex is also running an MSP where he’s testing and living these theories. So I said hey, why don’t you guys come talk to us about it Doug, let’s talk about the process and see where the conversation goes.

Unknown Speaker
And some of your relatively new business owners that correct

Unknown Speaker
putting you on the spot. Yes, I am. Alright, so I know where to go but up.

Unknown Speaker
All right, so your bad habits to get rid of so right. Let’s look at the positive.

Unknown Speaker
Alright, so for for for our Alex Marni. That’s how we met. Tell us a little bit about you and we’ll start the conversation about the qbr process.

Unknown Speaker
So okay, we’ve known each other goodness for my entire adult life quite a long time. And one day, we bumped into each other in the gym and Marnie asked if I had any great idea For software development, she had some some programmers looking for work and I went, it’s funny, you should ask, because I have a problem I’ve been trying to figure out how to solve. And it basically was that it documentation for quarterly business reviews just takes too darn long. It’s too manual. We have automation tools for everything else. And we didn’t have one for this. So we got some folks together, explored the market, they looked at what was out there. And and we’ve built a tool that we hope in and automate some of that and at the same time, help people fix their data quality and elevate their their discussions in these in this business reviews to a more strategic level instead of a down in the weeds technical conversation.

Unknown Speaker
Very cool. Um, so Alex, tell me a little bit about your MSP and how that qbr process grew from nothing down. So

Unknown Speaker
um, we were we started just a lot like a lot of the msps out there. We started as a break fix shop. We started doing mostly residential and just a little bit of a Zoomer 2008 came around and put our biggest customer in a real cash crunch. And they were scattered all over our states, we spent a lot of drive time and we had a conversation with them that these fancy at this with new tools like lab tech, could cut down on drive time. And in that way, at least put a fence around some of their expenses and cut some costs for them. They paid for us to implement lab tech. We started rolling it out to all of our other customers after that and kind of adopted the MSP model in 2008 2009. And we’ve been operating as an MSP ever since my background is in sales. Tech was just a hobby. So this entire MSP thing is almost by accident. But, you know, as I’ve gone, I see myself really as a problem solver. And one of the problems I was trying to solve was how to get in front of your customers more often. And how to get these qbrs delivered faster and with better data and use them to escalate the conversation into a really consultative selling Opportunity instead of a forceful selling opportunity.

Unknown Speaker
Very cool. And you and I have had a couple of pregame meetings just discussing the whole qbr process. So we actually have a qbr process up on our website at Eureka process calm. And Alex is like, I don’t necessarily agree with all the steps and we started talking about it. And I definitely saw the point. I feel like, I feel like qbr is in our industry have evolved. But I also feel like there’s the right qbr process for where people are at in their maturity level.

Unknown Speaker
Absolutely. Meaning,

Unknown Speaker
you know, some of the most advanced keyboards you see you look at those and go, Wow, this is amazing. I could never do that. And you’re selling yourself short, never. But the idea is to start somewhere. I mean, if you do print out, you know, any virus prevention reports and how many patches you’ve done, because just because somebody tells you there’s a better option out there. doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do the option you have. Do that one, I get the customer used to it because frankly, the next time they see it, hopefully they’ve already digested that type of information, they can digest it faster the second time. And you can add more content as you go. But as you said, earlier, Alex, the issue becomes, there’s all these reports, all this data, who’s gonna read it, it takes you six to eight hours to collect it. I think you’ve heard some estimates of longer maybe? Yeah. How do you deal with all that data times the number of clients you have?

Unknown Speaker
Well, you know, to your point, number one, don’t let good be the enemy of great or great be the enemy of good, right. Let’s get a qbr out there. And let’s get started. Because in your first one, your clients going to want to see all the nitty gritty details. It’s stuff they’ve probably not been exposed to in the past. It’s stuff that is all new. That being said, the third time you show them a user list or a patch report, they’re much less impressed by it. So those are things That evolve as you work with that client as much as as you build your process. So it’s okay for your first one not to be perfect, and for it to be less strategic and a little bit more technical, but you want to quickly get away from that, because if everyone is technical, your clients won’t want to schedule them, they won’t see the value. They won’t want their CEO, their CFO, their, you know, all their department heads and your point of contact all tied up in a room that cost that client 500 or $600 an hour, just in wages, to go over technical reports they don’t care about. So, you know, the real trick is to have the first one continue to improve the process. And just make it one of these things that is an ever evolving, better everyday type process. All the data lives in your tools. Now you have it in Connect by as you have it in automate or ninja or one of these other tools. It’s just a matter of extracting it. There’s tools out there like ours that do it. You can do it all manually. We’ve got it pretty dialed in so that I can spend less than a half hour building all my reports and that includes finding them and printing them and we put them all In a cutesy, little booklet that, you know, is bound and covers and unbound and black back covers, some people use folders, but you should be able to build that in 30 minutes.

Unknown Speaker
Right? Who got it all out? And a lot of people talked about, do you give less or more, and I believe that the client should dictate. But I also believe that if the content is easy to create, and if you’re presenting it by hand, there’s no reason not to give them more if you can give the conversation and I call it dazzle them by the pound, how heavy does the content weigh? Well, you have been busy.

Unknown Speaker
We bury some of the details in the back and generally pulled to the front, the more the short report short form reports. So you know, we might show them a you know, full asset list or a full user list, but we’re going to pull to the front, the list of users who may be our primary points of contact and just the things that we care about, so that we can go over what needs to be done. reviewed and give them a little bit of homework to dig into the details and the supporting data.

Unknown Speaker
Alright, so the question that I hear most often when I talk to the Kvr, folks is, what does what does the process look like step by step? Sure. When people ask me, I give them a very, very general guideline, which is that when the process starts way before meeting day, yeah, we recommend about three weeks. Okay, so describe your process to us.

Unknown Speaker
So three weeks out, we reach out to the client, we send them an agenda, and we tell them these are the things we would like to discuss with you in our quarterly business review. We tell them about their first quarterly business review when we sell them. We try and have the first one about 90 days after we bring them on board. So they’re pretty used to it and send them that request and we say here’s the agenda. Here’s what we’d like to cover. Please add anything to it that you think is valuable so that we can come prepared to discuss it. The real trick to that is that we are killing off the need to discuss the A poorly executed service ticket at the meeting, because what they’re going to respond with is well, I want to know about this windows seven thing that’s coming up and little Johnny was mean to Sally on the phone, we need to talk about this ticket. And our response to that is easy. We circle the wagons, we get our service coordinator and our Director of Operations. And sometimes myself on the phone, we call the client and say, Mr. client, this service tickets too important for it to wait. I don’t want this to wait two and a half weeks with you upset. Let’s deal with this right now. And we can do deal with the rest of it at our quarterly business review. We kick out that, that performance issue, get it killed off, and by the time we get to our QPR, they feel like we’ve been reactive to them and we’ve taken care of them. Now we can go talk about things like budget and finance and placement lifecycle, and not about service tickets and patch quality and all the technical stuff that we don’t care about. Once we get that agenda hammered out, we start to put together what we think is important to that client. On that agenda will have a scorecard which is a quick variable Very high level view of some of the things that these folks like to talk about this, this is where you throw in your patch stats or your backup stats, or your spam stats, or your cset data. These are where you just literally take and print screen a report off of one of those tools and stick it on a page that you’re going to whip through real quick and go, hey, look, we got excellent cset ratings, your your, your staff loves us, or we only got two responses. And we did 411 tickets with your with your folks. We don’t know if your folks like us or not, could you please please nudge them and ask them to give us a little bit more feedback because we can’t improve if you don’t talk to us. But we throw that stuff in there. It’s a quick gloss over of the technical stuff, so that we can get into things like holdover action items from the last QPR where we sit on their projects, and then really start to dig into the client themselves. what’s changing in the next 18 months? What is their industry look like? Is it being commoditized? Or are they growing a ton? Or are they looking to add people, you know, what are things really looking like?

Unknown Speaker
So how do you find all that in industry information

Unknown Speaker
Um, in my experience, the best way that we do it is just talking to our clients. We literally sit in those DVRs and everyone and you know, how are things going in your industry? Like you’re in a good place? Is technology helping you get where you need to need to go? Or is it keeping? Are you behind? And is it keeping you from performing? We do a little bit sometimes, especially with some of the core industries, we do a lot in education. So we get on, we’re involved in webinars and in the industry groups on Facebook and LinkedIn and things like that. And sometimes we just, you know, we live in a small town too, so we can stop our clients at social events and in the news, but mostly, it’s just a matter of going where your customers go so that you know what they did. So, you know, once we know what their industry is really doing and where they live in the industry, we can help to guide them. We use some some of the reports that come out of our platform to review a budget forecast based on the asset list and based on some service contracts that we know that they have And we’ll sit down with them and show them what their IP expenses really look like for the next six months for the next six years. And really what adding a piece of technology would do to them long term, and what’s replacing their existing technology is going to cost them say, three years from now when their main servers go up for replacement, and they have instead of a $40,000, annual expense, maybe a 70 or $80,000. So there’s no surprises. We’re talking about it two, three years ahead. We generally follow that piece up with simple quotes. You know, look, we’ve we’ve already shown you the data we can show you proof that these computers are seven years old and need to go in the garbage. Here’s the quote to replace please, if you’d like to sign here today, or would you like me to send me an electronic copy so you can eat? It’s not an if they know they have to replace it now. So our sales are now consultative and we’re not begging them to buy stuff.

Unknown Speaker
Because the topic of money comes up in a request to spend money Do you ever get resistance like no please don’t come out of here because I don’t wanna spend More money right now.

Unknown Speaker
You know, I get it less now than I used to. I used to have clients tell me, I don’t want you to walk in my door because I know every time you do, it’s going to cost me money and you’re going to come tell me I need to buy new servers, I need to buy new this or new that. Now I tell him about five years ahead of time, and we’re planning and we’re talking about at the end of the year, this time of the year, we’re having a conversation with our clients. If you had a good year, next year is going to be an expensive one for you. Do you want to focus on those expenses forward? You know, we’re operating not as the CFO but in line with the CFO, having high level strategic talks about is this the year to spend more money based on their business and where they are. And if you’re if you’ve presented them with a budget, if you’ve aligned yourself with their strategy, they’re more likely to open up with you in those conversations and tell you that.

Unknown Speaker
But is there a vast difference in how this looks if you’re working with

Unknown Speaker
20 user network clients versus 200 user network clients, only in the amount of time that you spend in the room and the number of people In the room, because if you wind up with a 200 user client, they have seven departments in the organization. And each of them has a slightly different strategy or a slightly different delivery goal. So they’re going to need different technology in each one and each one might be a little bit customized. And for one of my clients who’s so big, we actually do about about three of these meetings with different pieces of the department or of the organization department at a time that we can talk specific department budgets. Wow.

Unknown Speaker
Shelby, where are you at in this QPR journey?

Unknown Speaker
Oh, wow. Now you’re putting me on the spot. Okay, under the bus.

Unknown Speaker
I know you’re new. So.

Unknown Speaker
Uh, so? Well, I was trying to formulate a question around QPR and so I am a one man shop and I started my MSP here in February of this year. And so I am I have, I have two main clients. And one of them I’m struggling with. Just because it’s a, it’s a situation where the, the leader, the director of the company, or the director of the organization, on doesn’t like how things are working and once you know, puppies and rainbows and unicorns and and so trying to deliver,

Unknown Speaker
like realistic expectations, and

Unknown Speaker
I think balancing, I guess, trying to figure out balancing the, I’m going to fix these issues that you have. And but I’m also going I’m also here to help you, like forecast for the future and not have something’s broken. So now I gotta start. money to fix it. attitude. And I’m in the Midwest. I’m kind of out in the boonies a little bit. And so I don’t have a whole lot of what I would call big MSP competition. We have like a couple breadstick shops in town. And that’s about it. And so everybody here in this area, a lot of the people that I run into and stuff, they have no idea about what msps do or the value that I can give them. And so I, I would say I’m fighting the fixing stuff versus planning part. So you know, well, I guess one of my questions would be so if you have a quarterly business review with your clients, is that is that something that you just do for them? That’s not I mean, you you don’t build Then for coming out and spending an hour and a half or two hours within strategizing what they’re going to do, that’s part of your, this should be baked into your to your cost of your contract. And if you haven’t baked that in, then you need to have the real gut check of, is this client profitable enough that I can just do it for free? Or do I need to go address rates with this client? But what I’ll tell you is, very rarely do qbrs end

Unknown Speaker
up not being a moneymaker for you. If they’re done. Right, right. You’ll they’ll be your opportunity to go sit in front of the customer and say, Mr. Customer, do you see this computer here that you’re complaining is always broke? Well, it’s 6.7 years old, and it still runs Windows seven, and that’s why you’re having a problem with it. And if we go ahead and replace it, we can fix that problem. Here’s your quote. You know, we walk out of qbr with five figure checks all the time, because of how we present it because we’ve gotten past the belief that we’re going to come in there and flood them with needless junk. Because now we can show them why it costs so much to do what it does. And even with the cost of waiting is right. Because if you’re just having this conversation with the client that this computer is broken, you’re not having a conversation about and the computer next to it is only six months newer. And the one behind it is only three minutes newer. Yeah. And there’s a there’s a cascading problem here, right. So now they’re gonna catch up. If I gave you a color coded report that showed that showed all your all of their computers in red, yellow and green, so that your customer doesn’t have to be technology savvy, and said, Hey, in red, yellow, and green, let’s start replacing red First, let’s get to yellow, and green. Okay, green will meet us in the middle. As it gets older, we can meet we can fix that problem. And the customer doesn’t have to be tech savvy. He doesn’t have to know about gigabytes and teraflops and flux capacitors to speak the same language that we do

Unknown Speaker
want at the same time then it’s about their data about you as the MSP trying to make a sale, right because you’re looking This is insane. Their data is not about you coming in and saying you want to sell them a device, it’s just the fact of the device.

Unknown Speaker
Now Shelby, if you have some not all you can eat managed services or their break fix, and you’re still curious how the QPR can play. I feel like I would count the QPR is a sales cost. Now that it could be or should be salesy, but by positioning yourself in this informational analysis almost and strategic planning, you can recoup that money. Plus, if you can, if you can work with a client to start treating it is an asset versus a liability. I also think that that softens the sale for managed services.

Unknown Speaker
So let’s talk about sales just in general because I my life experience was in sales. I just happened to be technology savvy. Number one, you need to early on learn what your customer acquisition cost is in my MSP. It’s something around 12,000 dollars are what it costs us just to find an onboard a new customer. It’s a big number. So it is way cheaper to spend a six hour QPR with an existing customer than it is to go find a new one. Do what it takes to deliver the right service to that customer so you can keep them because losing a customer is one of the most expensive things you can do to your MSP. That said, MSP owners are generally much more technical than me and much less. You know, salespeople are people people, which is why I recommend a consultative consultative sales approach because very few of them can deliver the used car salesman approach and walk out in a good place right? You have copier salesman coming to your customers all the time. He couldn’t sell that way if you’re the typical MSP copier salesman, you know, wham bam, Thank you, ma’am. On to the next. As an MSP owner needs to be a strategic consultant. And through that do that and sales will follow. It just happens. It doesn’t have to be a pushy sales conversation.

Unknown Speaker
And I guess, yeah, it’s our pleasure. Actually, we were probably expecting a different audience. But I love the fact that we have somebody newer, and doing the entrepreneur thing in this market. I think it presents a unique approach to this content when glad you’re here, Shelby. And my question for you, so I’ll be sorry to pick on you since you’re you’re the guy. You have a ticketing system. PSA. Yeah. And what did you choose?

Unknown Speaker
Zoho,

Unknown Speaker
Zoho is that I’m less familiar. Zoho definitely heard the name before. And do you track what type of assets your clients have?

Unknown Speaker
Yes. Is that through Zoho or an RMM?

Unknown Speaker
Uh, so I’m Zoho ninja shop. So I have ninja for my patching and antivirus and then and then I use so hope for my ticket and car and all that.

Unknown Speaker
And in the Do you have other questions about the qbr process?

Unknown Speaker
I think I think where I’m at specifically is like, I don’t have any qbr process in place. So how do you go from? I mean, like, for me, you know, like, I have a forecast of where I want to be and where I’m at for my business and where, like where I want to be next year. And even Next, you know, in the next three months, six months, I have that kind of forecasted out for myself. And I guess my thing is, how do I help get get? How do I help, I guess create that process for my clients.

Unknown Speaker
I’m going to recommend two things. one’s a little hard one hit me up afterwards. So we could process that column. We have a membership site that has some some templates on at the start as well. Now what I wanted to switch is where Maroni comes into the decoding. To help Alex that now you’ve developed a software application to do the QPR, but what that includes agendas and data collection, but I’m curious, where do you get the data from? I know Connect wise is a big piece of that. Are there other products as well?

Unknown Speaker
So we integrate with, pull from Connect wise manage, and then we pull warranty lookups from Dell, Lenovo, HP, etc. We’re always looking to expand that. But that is where we pull from right now.

Unknown Speaker
And I’m curious in Shelby’s case, I felt like I’ve seen a demo of lifecycle insights.io before and while the data collection was huge piece from from Connect, wise manage, I still felt like the templates, the agenda, the stuff that you guys had organized that data in a logical fashion and it showed the process This shall be whether you’re worthwhile to walk through that, even though you don’t use Connect wise manages to kind of see how it’s laid out. But it’s not about the Manage piece. There’s some pieces that wouldn’t be as automated for you, but it would kind of show you the types of stuff that you can get started with preparing for your client. qbrs.

Unknown Speaker
Yeah, I mean, I think that would be extremely valuable.

Unknown Speaker
All right, um, Alex, are you able to do a quick demo for us? It’s kind of shows the basics of how QPR should work and softer organizes it.

Unknown Speaker
Let me share a screen here. And Shelby, I’ll tell you my answer to your question on you know how to get started. Don’t reinvent the wheel steal it. You know, there are plenty of resources out there. What belongs in a good qbr Our website is one of them. We’ve got some, some blog posts out there that are free will will send out some one of our follow ups to this meeting will be an email template. So we’ll send you a little freebie as well. Allen’s got a bunch of resources that will help you get aligned with some of this. This is lifecycle insights. Can everybody see my screen? Okay? Yes, yes, you’re good. So this is the dashboard, we have a client picker at the top. So you literally just pick the client that you want to work with. You snag a client, you get to see some basic info about the client. We collect asset list data. So this is what pulls over from Connect wise manage, just will show our desktop PCs, workstations, what brand they are all that kind of stuff, we can dig into each one and get a little bit more detail, warranty information, etc. But if you see this, we color code the report. So windows 10 has a healthy operating system, we like it. If we get down here, of course, I pick the only client that doesn’t have a Windows seven machine left. We go to a different client, you see that we’re color coding. Windows seven is yellow now because it’s not end of life, but it’s about to be we do the same with warranties and with end of life dates. So we can pick and say hey, for this particular customer, a machine that’s over five years old, we’re going to market end of life And then they start to change read in this end of life column. So when I sit down and have that conversation with my client, we don’t talk about whose computer runs like crap, because if they bought what I told him to buy the first time, their computers are all going to run, okay? For five years, we talked about the computers that are nearing end of life, we deliver them a nice pretty Word document that you can Mangle and edit, if there’s a device on there that say you provide to your customer and you don’t want them to see it, you can literally just highlight it and delete it off before you send the report. But this will tell the customer Hey, you haven’t you’ve had this machine sitting around here, and this is the one that we own. We don’t show them. So we delete that one off of there. But you say this machine’s 6.3 This one’s six, this one, six, these machines need to be replaced. You get down here and the things that are all green, those are good, they’re happy, they’re healthy. You can change and edit the replacement costs. So I was doing a demo with somebody and marked all those CAD machines that were really expensive to replace. We do the same for their network equipment, anything basically that we have in our documentation platform. So if we’ve got it in Connect wise as an asset, we’re reporting on it here. We do the same with a user list and we pull data from Connect wise and office 365. And we can show them the customer who has an office 365 license, and that shows up in our PSA tool for you that would be Zoho. But we want to just true up office 365 in Zoho and make sure they’re using the same number of licenses that they’re buying. We keep some really basic contract info, which rolls into their budget forecast. And the beauty of the budget forecast is that I can give it to them in any frame that they want it. I can give them a six year budget with without detail or I can give them one with asset detail included. Asset detail just shows which workstations they need to replace it and without period.

Unknown Speaker
There is a piece here between your contracts and a budget forecast that fascinated me the first time you showed me this, which might be relevant for Shelby and other future listeners as well, is that those contracts are contracts with other it type stuff that’s not you?

Unknown Speaker
Correct? Correct. So the conversation that I have with my customer around that is The first time I deliver it, like I said, this is an evolving process. The first time I deliver my budget, none of these exists on here, or maybe my office 365 if they buy it from me, and their managed services exist on here, maybe their Comcast bill or their their ISP bill, but we sit down with the customer and say, Hey, you know, if you’d like to see more things show up here, you can show me a copy of your copier contract. And I’ll put it in here, you can show me your ringcentral contract and I’ll put it in here. You can show me your contract for that fancy piece of line of business software that you have, and I’ll put it in here. Okay, this is a data collection point and is a huge when you’re doing it under the guise of delivering them with a nice pretty budget that shows them how much they’re going to spend every month, every quarter every year to maintain the infrastructure they have. You’re also collecting data to say Mr. Customer, you have Verizon Voice over IP, and I’m really not a fan. I only sell XYZ Voice over IP product and I support it. So if you switch to my voice over IP product on 515 2021 when your Verizon contract ends You can call me for first line support, you don’t have to call Verizon anymore. What do you think about that, now I have a project sold, I have higher customer alignment. And I’m getting a commission from a voice provider or I’m selling my own white label voice product into a client that was going to call me anyway when it was broke. So we use this tool under the guise of Mr. Customer, let me help you create this pretty budget to collect a ton more info on our client, to encourage customer, you know, client alignment with our tools. But this is what our budget looks like printed out to our customer. And this one has no detail on it, it was detail it would show 40 contracts that would show each one with a line item, it would show two pieces, network equipment, show a switch and a firewall. But I can run it 18 ways to Sunday. This is what their budget looks like. And what we’re looking for is this big outlier year, or this little teeny tiny year that doesn’t seem to measure up to all the rest. And we’re gonna go Mr. Customer, this is a really light year. If you have a great year here. You should pull some expenses forward from here and pull some expenses forward from here so you don’t get stuck in that really bad year. Where you know, where you got a problem where you got some old equipment replaced. If your customers private sector, they can stash money and save it. If your customer is in a public sector or somehow has a budget that they have to give to that they have to spend every last dollar of, they’ll start buying this stuff. They’ll start buying this stuff in these years in here, if they have money, they have to use it or lose it. So you have to know what your customers business model is like, so that you know who, when and how to help them spend their money. And you can’t do that unless you’re helping them strategy.

Unknown Speaker
And the other really cool thing about talking about the overall budget, suddenly it’s not all about you. You’re not here to sell stuff. You’re here to plan the whole IT budget, whether it’s yours or not.

Unknown Speaker
Takes the emphasis off of you’re here to sell me stuff.

Unknown Speaker
Yep. And here’s the title broken. Here’s the broken down budget. When I do my QPR, I delivered two budgets, a six quarter budget, which is what they were doing was left do this quarter, and then it’ll show five quarters going forward, which is every item line by line. So we know when They have to replace a sonicwall it’s it’s 4.2 years old today, it’ll be five years old on this date. So we’re going to replace it. We know now every expense that they have for technology, at least that they’ve made me aware of. And they can go take this and live to I also deliver them that five year budget that I just had up there and I do six years I call it a five year budget because includes what’s left of this year in five years in the future. And what we’re doing with that we call it our wide angle, guest budget if you’re a Jim Collins fan that makes that makes more sense to you. But this is our wide angle, guests budget, we know they’re going to add technology, remove technology change technology over the next five years. But what it really does is gives us an idea of, you know, that that big looming expense down the road, so that as the IT guy, I never have to walk in there again and go surprise, Windows, Windows sevens over, you’ll be $40,000 and I need to replace a bunch of stuff, right? Because that’s a really uncomfortable conversation both for you and for them. They go home and casia that night, and you are walking in the door shaking with this big, big expensive quote, especially as the starting MSP has nothing used to delivering by finger quotes.

Unknown Speaker
Powerful.

Unknown Speaker
Yeah, I mean right now, like, my biggest client is 25 users. And, you know, they, they paid, they paid. They paid me three months in advance and I you know, they were looking at a from they had another MSP that is quite a ways away from where we’re at. And they were looking at a quota was like, you know, $75,000 a year some plus Well, I was like, 75,000 but that included like upgrading the server and a bunch of networking equipment and stuff. And, you know, I came in and I didn’t you know, lowball them I you know, I straight straight up, explain, like, you know, you know, you’re still gonna have to spend money on this stuff, like you’re still gonna have to buy it. servers are going to buy networking equipment. I mean, your stuff is old, you know, you have, you know, you have a router from staples. And, and and you’re not you’re not protected the way you should be. And, and so I think this would help me to be able to get take the next step where instead of their pre paying for three months, they’re paying for a year or two or three at a time. And I think that would that would definitely help me out. In my business that means.

Unknown Speaker
Well, there’s, there’s there’s two ways if I can just to handle that lack of alignment because what you described to me as a customer who has a firewall that doesn’t match your standard, right? Right early on, there’s no better time than now to set your standard to figure out what alignment looks like what’s the firewall that you feel best protects your customer that you can manage best that you Like working in, that is going to be your gold standard moving forward. then deliver them a report that looks like one of ours that says and by the way your firewall is as best we can guess six years old, it’s end of life. Let’s go ahead and buy the right thing. If you do like a management correctly, you can use it to fix a lot of alignment issues over time without hitting that customer with a huge expense. Now, if you’re if you’re a more mature MSP, and you’re not scrapping for every dollar and taking all the business, whether it’s good business or not, because let’s face it, we all start there. If you’re a more mature MSP, you might resolve some of those issues as part of your pre sales process and say Mr. Customer right order to come do business with us now shall spend $20,000 and replace all this old junk as a start up MSP you might not have that luxury, you might have to take the business with some old stuff. So get Lifecycle Management in place early and use it as a way to weed out and get rid of some of that old stuff by having these new The best advice I think I can give you. And even though you don’t use the same platforms we do, if you’d like to have, you know, consult with us and talk through what we do, we’re happy to circle back. And

Unknown Speaker
Alex has been a wealth of information. In fact, we were talking earlier this week, like, like, Hey, here’s our stuff. If you’d like to use it, do the manual process, go for it, because that’s not what lifecycle insights solves lifecycle insights solves the data collection process. The easy, save yourself time, if you want to do it the hard way, like so many of us are doing and I’m proud of everybody who does it the hard way versus not at all. Yeah. Then more power to you. So Alex, you hadn’t said you could send us a few things after what were you thinking?

Unknown Speaker
Marni has put together a copy of our agenda, the agenda that we use in our MSP that has stripped off anything that’s proprietary to our MSP. So she’s gonna send that out. We’re also gonna send out a coupon code for He was interested, we’ll give them 10% off any paid subscription for 2020. So they’ll get a year off a year at 10% off.

Unknown Speaker
The other piece is just as a little, a little nugget for the future. And Shelby, this might be of interest to you, because this doesn’t require data collection from one of our tools. Our next release will involve a scheduler, which will allow you to start aligning clients to a schedule. So just as a little nugget, I would, I’ll send you the contact information of how you connect, connect with us on Twitter, or get our blog posts so that when that release comes out, you could take a take a look at that. Don’t worry, Alex, I got approval to say that that’s gonna be live in the site. That might also be I’ll send some some literature around what would be coming in that regard, as well as the templates like Alex mentioned, and if I could just add Sorry, I was kind of good. Yep. Just as an aside two piece of the conversation from earlier Where Alan, you said, How do you know what the business direction is going right? If you’re not in their space, there’s a great book about consulting. So I, my my background is in customer success as well. There’s a great book, so excuse the title, but it’s called getting naked by lencioni. I think it’s Peter lencioni. And it is all about how to be consultative, when you don’t have to be an expert in the space, but you really draw. It’s that strategic partner, that trusted advisor relationship. And I think that’s an interesting, it’s sort of what Alex described, like, you can go in there not knowing exactly how the dental office may be purchasing assets, but still work with them to consult. So Alex, I’ll pass that back over to you. Sorry, if I get

Unknown Speaker
no no, that’s perfectly The only thing I was gonna say was, make sure you follow us on social media. Stay in touch. Sign up for our newsletter because we are always adding new data sources. I’ll be very honest, those probably not very high on our list, just because of The short small number of folks who are using it however,

Unknown Speaker
most of those products have an export export to,

Unknown Speaker
to XML format or CSV. And one of the features that we will release will be a CSV export. sometime next year, it’s probably that’s probably going to be later next year feature. Got some bigger stuff for to do, but, but there will be a way to just import raw data from CSV at some point.

Unknown Speaker
Excellent. You can probably see in the chat, I’m sending over some of our social media and ways to contact us. And there’s always info at lifecycle insights.

Unknown Speaker
So one topic I hinted at early on, and we didn’t cover it. So I like have a quick conversation about it is what’s the alternative to calling a qbr a QPR, since it’s not always a quarterly business review.

Unknown Speaker
In my interest in my

Unknown Speaker
MSP we call it a strategic business review. I sat in on a session with Alex Rogers when we were talking workers six or seven years ago. And he’s probably the most politically incorrect, MSP speaker you’ll ever talk to, so I’ll leave all the expletives out. But um, his basic message to the room was he asked everybody to stand up. He says, Who does their qbrs? When they get around to it, and half the room sat down, who does our cube yars once or twice a year and the other half of the room sat down? He says, Then why are you calling them quarterly business reviews. And we left they’re calling them technical business reviews. And we’ve since turned it into a strategic business review. I think that’s really what it ought to be. And I think that’s part of the evolution process. At that point, when I left there, I was still going to my clients and going look, we patched all your stuff. Look at this report. There’s a pound of paper and it’s cool. And we would literally sit there and talk about that and I had trouble getting clients to come back and schedule with me and do these things. Now that we’ve elevated it to the next level, so talk strategy, it’s really become something that is easier to schedule, easier to do and it just makes more sense. And the only other thing I’ll add to that is when you stop calling it a QPR, it opens you up with, with the ability to say, I have this customer who’s in the medical industry who has high technology, high compliance and needs to talk to me every quarter. In fact, they may even need a monthly check in phone call, along with it, their their quarterly review. And then I’ve got this customer here who’s in manufacturing, and they make sprockets and cogs. And they’re in a commoditized industry, and they can barely, you know, invest in technology because it gets them nowhere, because they’re out in the factory somewhere, machining parts. And all they really have to have is a building and lighting system. So they use QuickBooks and nothing else. They only need to talk to me once a year. And in between, we can send them an email with an asset list and help them firm it up. We can send them a user list and let them try it up and send them a quarterly email or something. Maybe we can have a remote, semi annual call. We don’t need to go there every year or every month every quarter to do these. So we have a blog post on our blog, go check out lifecycle insights. Click on the blog, you’ll see a blog post about segmentation. We talked about breaking your clients into those segments of the folks who need it annually, the folks who can get some immediate quarterly. Start that young start that early, because it’s really hard to go back to the customer view wrote in their contract that they will meet with you quarterly and then tell them that they don’t need it, and they don’t deserve it.

Unknown Speaker
All right. So we’ll open it up to this any more questions before we leave? So what some of the takeaways that I had from this was start from where you’re at? Whatever you will do, right? Be flexible, hence getting rid of the word quarterly, and be strategic. And of course, that’s easier said than done. Most of this conversation was about how to be strategic in those ways that I missed some other highlights.

Unknown Speaker
And now I think the last thing to add that we didn’t touch on was make your qbr your own. I’ll give you all the content I use, but it doesn’t mean you can present it with your personality and your MSP who might be an mssp who might just be yourself. MSP who might be mostly very fixed and kind of headed towards MSP, there’s nobody who doesn’t need to do these. But everybody has a little bit of a different niche, a little bit of a different focus. So don’t be afraid to take a tool like ours or any other tool in the market, and use part of it, most of it, all of it and still make it your own. By making it your own, you make it easy to deliver, and it comes naturally, which makes you more believable and more trustworthy and more of that consultant as opposed to some guy who bought a package online and printed a bunch of reports and walked in and has to try and explain.

Unknown Speaker
Well said as one of my clients taught me no matter how good the consultant is still my business. True story. All right. So let me do a quick wrap up here. I will get with Marnie after this. For what content we want to make sure we send

Unknown Speaker
to all of our registered attendees. We had several doesn’t register.

Unknown Speaker
So we’ll get all that content out there before we send that out. So they all get that. This is a quick look at our website, the fact that we do have some QPR related items out there, nowhere near as pretty as Alex’s, and I will probably be taking some notes and taking another pass at our qbr process. Some other upcoming it dog stuff, we’re always looking for what content is next. Maybe I haven’t pulled the group in a while and so it may be time for that. So we’ll definitely look for one of those in January. So stay tuned. You also might be seeing the name ina gabbroic. On the it dog forum as an admin. She’s one of our marketing staff. So she’s a join Skye who we announced a few months ago in helping approve members create polls, just kind of keep an eye on things post these events. So stay tuned to that. Have the usual free resources. If you’re not a member of it, there’s the FB link on our website has some content, you’re always welcome to contact me and I can connect you. But in the follow up email, we’re going to get you how to get ahold of lifecycle insights as well and take advantage of their discounts they offered as well as how to take advantage of their forms and other useful information for running your own qbr.

Unknown Speaker
Any final parting words before we adjourn?

Unknown Speaker
Thanks for having us. Nice talking, everyone.

Unknown Speaker
Thank you. And thank you for being a good sport Shelby and participating with us. Loved it.

Unknown Speaker
Thank you guys very much. Appreciate it. We’ll talk again soon. Bye bye bye.

 

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