Our Inside the Industry podcast series focuses on the MSP landscape, industry news, and thought-leadership content. With the world and industry changing so quickly, our goal is to present timely topics and share our experiences to help you overcome similar challenges. Recently, I recorded a few episodes with Arlin Sorenson, VP of Brand and Ecosystem Evangelism. Check out what we discussed in the first few episodes of the series.
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In the first episode of the series, Arline and I sat down to discuss how to avoid a false sense of security related to current revenue projections during COVID-19. After speaking to our partner groups, we both realized that many MSPs had not encountered lower monthly recurring revenue—yet.
While the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) may be helping to keep businesses afloat for now, once that funding runs out, and clients start going offline or downsizing, monthly recurring revenue will most likely begin to shrink. As the number of endpoints to support goes down, MSPs will likely see a decreasing support need over the second half of the year. Plus, as businesses do re-open, they won’t be going back to full capacity right away, and it will be a long transition to get back to where we all were and to find a middle ground in the meantime that works.
The main takeaway from this episode is the importance of running your business based on real numbers, not the inflated numbers that might be coming from PPP funding assistance. Also, remember that people’s ability to pay invoices will get tighter and tighter over time, so you can’t assume you’ll get all the money you’re requesting and that accounts receivable won’t always be accurate.
Even though you’re facing unprecedented challenges, there are still opportunities for business owners to be innovative during COVID-19. Consider the shift to remote workforces—this is an opportunity for sales and building your pipeline. From virtual events to webinars and video sales calls, this is the new normal, and it offers a new approach to get back into growth mode.
As a business leader, you have to paint a new vision for your company. This new vision will help guide your clients who are struggling as to how to rebound. They’re looking for someone who can help them see how technology can prepare them for what’s next. With remote work becoming the new norm for now—and the foreseeable future—the rushed accommodations many businesses made aren’t enough. They’ll be looking to you for long-term and sustainable options to help them access the right equipment and get security up to speed.
During these stressful times, MSPs must provide a good experience for their customers. When your customers know they can rely on you in any situation, this strengthens your relationship. The experience that customers are receiving is just as vital as the technology they’re using.
In this episode, Arlin and I are joined by Scott Scrogin, IT Nation Innovation Director, to talk about getting back to work. As the country continues to slowly re-open, there will be differences in how MSPs and end customers approach getting back to work. Health and safety continue to be a significant concern, and smart MSPs have already established safety protocols to keep their employees and their customers safe. It’s also important to recognize that your customers will likely have safety protocols for their team to follow that you will also need to be aware of when you go on-site.
Your customers are still trying to figure out the best tactic of re-entry for their teams. For many, this is a slow and methodological process with a stronger lean towards a work-from-anywhere environment. This movement serves as an opportunity for MSPs to implement the technology to support remote workforces. Overall, the key will be communicating with clients to understand their needs during this time. Your clients don’t want to be told what to do about COVID-19 but rather need your support to find solutions that solve their specific problems and challenges of today.
We also dived into financing opportunities. If you need financial assistance, there are ways businesses are getting more creative by working with banks or by offering flexibility with clients. These opportunities provide more flexibility and use of dollars than what some of the government programs may offer.
We closed out the episode talking about the impact Arlin has had on the industry to mark the 20-year anniversary of HTG, now known as IT Nation Evolve.
While everyone is trying to figure out their new routine, you’ll notice that many of your customers are in a ‘wait-and-see’ mode. You’ll likely see more requests for quotes and estimates, but the amount of your pipeline that’s actually closing is much lower because people aren’t ready to make decisions.
It will be more important now than ever to keep a close eye on your cash flow as your previous revenue prediction models won’t be as accurate. Owner-led sales will likely feel the brunt of this because owners are often preoccupied with maintaining operations and might not be focusing on growth.
This year has been a year of transition on many fronts. We’ve also noticed the demographics of buyers are beginning to shift. There’s a sharper focus on buying and sales experience as well as more millennials moving into purchase-making positions. Innovation will be key as you figure out how to adapt to these changes if you haven’t already when it comes to sales, marketing, and go-to-market launches.
In this episode, Arlin and I focus on how there's no better time to elevate a leadership team than right now. One of the big mistakes Arlin sees is that leaders tend to carry their team on their backs and don’t often communicate their ideas to others when it comes to planning. This not only weighs you down, but your leadership team—and aspiring leaders—need to be involved in the planning process, so it doesn’t all rely on one person and that one person’s point of view.
Now is a great time for people who have the aptitude for leadership to start getting involved in contingency planning. While some leaders thought they wouldn’t have to worry about contingency planning because it won’t apply to them, events like COVID-19 have been eye-opening. The fact is that things can change quickly. Without backups and people to rely on for support, businesses and leaders will find themselves in difficult situations that could have been avoided if they relied on more leaders in their company.
That’s just a preview of what Arlin and I have been able to talk about. There’s even more for you to check out. Be sure to visit the full collection of Inside the Industry and other series that make up the ConnectWise Podcast Network.
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