How to be a True MSP Consultant

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Being a true MSP consultant is the only way to stand out in a crowded, hyper-competitive IT services market.

I’ve been in the MSP world since 2003, and it’s very rare to encounter salespeople that aren’t overzealous about closing a managed IT service deal. They’re under a lot of pressure. It’s also commonplace for IT reps to overpromise business outcomes and lead on price.

At Integris, we’re repairing this stereotype by hiring, training, and developing employees who put prospects first. Even if doing so means we don’t land a new client.

Jay Brackman, Senior Account Executive with Integris Atlanta, embodies our highest aspirations. We’ll recount Jay’s latest MSP agreement and celebrate best-in-class consulting activities that reflect each of our four corporate values.

 

#1 – True MSP Consultants “Do the Right Thing”

Jay is great with people and has a wide network of friends. Like many native Georgians, he’s deeply embedded in UGA Football. Go Dawgs!

Jay’s social ties through UGA games, tailgating, and fantasy football leagues in Atlanta created a bond with a friend of a friend, who became a trusted friend. Two years later, this “new” colleague was hired by an Integris competitor.

As fate would have it, this friendly competitor interviewed a prospect who was not a fit. So his first move was calling Jay to offer the prospect an alternative. Jay got the call because he has integrity and his professional associates trust his judgment, wise counsel, and expertise.

 

#2 – True MSP Consultants “Get it Done Right”

The prospect needed a true MSP consultant because their situation was unique.

Jay’s friend at the competitive MSP made the introduction to Integris in the fall of 2022 for three reasons:

  • The prospect is headquartered in Canada, and our competitor doesn’t serve clients outside the United States.
  • The prospect has fewer than 50 employees, and the referring MSP doesn’t partner with clients unless they have more than 50 people.
  • The prospect needed help transitioning to Sage from an AS400 Server, an aging technology most MSPs won’t touch.

The Value of Listening

Jay didn’t hear anything about the prospect’s need for managed IT services. This plot point would have scared most MSP reps away because recurring revenue from managed IT services is their bread and butter.

Instead, it sounded like this company was looking for a fixed-fee project to transition from an antiquated technology into a state of the art datacenter solution. Jay was curious and anxious to help and set up a brief discovery call.

 

#3 – True MSP Consultants “Own it”

Consultants own their commitments and focus on fixing problems, even if the best solutions don’t instantly put money in their pockets.

On the discovery call, Jay listened closely and determined the prospect’s primary pain points.

Ancient Technology

The prospect, a fragrance manufacturer, was recently purchased by a private equity firm that required detailed financial reports every month. This data was difficult to extract from the prospect’s AS400, initially installed in 1989.

Investors Love Financial Details

The investors in the private equity firm also wanted detailed monthly reports on every company in their portfolio. And getting the data into different file formats and juggling pivot tables was increasingly tedious and inefficient.

Elevated Cybersecurity Risk

While the prospect had three in-house IT employees with advanced software expertise, they lacked AS400 hardware skills. As a result, they struggled to keep up with system vulnerabilities and glaring security gaps.

Identifying the Immediate Need

After delivering a brief overview of Empower Managed IT Services, the Integris process, and rough order of magnitude pricing (for future reference), Jay agreed to find a third-party AS400 resource to help them with the project.

 

#4 – True MSP Consultants put “People First”

Putting people first means investing in relationships, doing thoughtful legwork, and building trust.

Jay researched AS400 consultants across the country and found Briteskies in Cleveland, Ohio. He then worked his social network in Cleveland, beginning with an old friend, a physician who knows everyone in town. Score! The doctor knew people, who knew people that would vouch for the credibility of Briteskies.

So he fully vetted Briteskies before setting up an interview that led to handing off a sizable IT migration project. All this due diligence happened with no guarantee the exercise would lead to a signed managed services agreement.

Collaboration and Accountability

Briteskies was grateful for the introduction and copied Jay and the private equity firm on every email related to the AS400 migration to a Sage-certified data center in New York.

This arrangement created rapport, peace of mind, and the disclosure of new details that deepened the relationship.

Personnel Changes

When Jay initially contacted the prospect in the fall, there was some talk about considering managed services later in 2023. However, this topic was not front and center. Then everything changed. In early December 2022, the client announced their three in-house IT employees were retiring in late January 2023.

This sudden announcement led to a decision to immediately evaluate, select, and implement a managed services agreement. Integris sprang into action and conducted a technical assessment of the client’s environment, working closely with in-house IT to document and transition everything in their IT stack.

Since the departing IT staff was retiring versus being laid off, there was a lot of cooperation and hand-holding.

Aging IT Systems

A few surprises occurred when the Integris engineer running the assessment arrived onsite. He quickly discovered the IT environment was twenty years behind.

As the backstory goes, the previous owner was okay with aging IT systems as long as the company made its margins. On a technical note, they had a mixture of Office 97, no instances of Windows 10, and every firewall was in out-of-support status.

Situations like this are not unique to in-house IT. When three people work in one environment for twenty years, they can’t keep up with new technology, much less duplicate the systems, services, processes, and scale economies of an MSP.

Learn More: Hardware and Software Management

 

Everybody Wins

Since Jay provided value from day one, the assessment findings and the managed service proposal were warmly received. And the deal closed immediately.

The client was particularly impressed with strategic vCIO services and Vendor Management, an epic time saver that offloads ISP, printer, and copier machine troubleshooting, and more, to Integris engineers. (They chase down technical problems, so you don’t have to. Just open a ticket.)

As Jay puts it, “This deal was ours to lose.”

Integris is now monitoring, managing, supporting, and securing their IT systems and users for a fixed monthly fee.

There are a few other bright spots. Briteskies will continue working with the client as a Sage consultant.

And one of the new client’s departing team members may have an employment opportunity with Briteskies.

Jay facilitated this discussion and vouched for the candidate’s expertise. How’s that for putting people first?

Schedule a free consultation if you need help from a true MSP consultant.

 

Jed is a Solution Advisor at Integris who has specialized in MSP solution development, sales, and marketing communications since 2003.

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