Flipping The World of SMB Marketing

IT Business, IT Culture, SMB
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Disclosure: This is a massive pitch. Please don’t misunderstand though, it is not meant to sell you or convince you – it’s a direction that I’m going in and if you’d like to hop onboard with me, you’re quite welcome. Enjoy.

We have just come out of a massive VAR extinction level event. Somewhere between automation, consumerization and overall technology just getting remarkably better and easier to use a large segment of the “IT business” population either got jobs or found a place in other industries. It used to be easy to make money, even if you didn’t like to market, sell, promote, manage people or even if you were not that great with technology and keeping up your skills. The easy money is gone.

With the easy money gone, companies that want to grow rapidly are finding it harder and harder to find qualified partners in a crowded field and reaching that next new partner is both expensive and logistically complex – they don’t attend shows and they aren’t just going to buy stuff for the sake of small incremental revenue: It has to fit the strategy and it has to impact the core business significantly to get promoted, sold, deployed and delivered over time. Without the ability to address a massive performance annoyance (spam, viruses, downtime) or critical business component (backups, failover, continuity) the solution sale and resistance (and effectively the cost) are more prolonged.

I knew this was coming. It’s why I wrote Shockey Monkey. It’s why I gave it away for free. It’s why we currently enjoy a rapid increase in the number of resellers and the level of activity across those resellers. Not just by showing the blueprint but by executing it ourselves. And you ought to listen to the folks that are actually making money and copy them. Wanna know why? Because the alternative sucks.

Just about everything else hasn’t worked. “You mean to tell me that the VARs that failed at the game are NOT the best people to tell me how to run my business? But they sold their business for nearly 3 times their monthly reoccurring revenue a month before barely making their payroll! I should ignore that?”

Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.

The traditional “from the trenches” expert panel of successful MSPs/VARs/Cloud managers is arguably less valuable to you in terms of advice because their model is being challenged by consumerization of the industry. Why should you sit around and listen to a conversation about desktop PC expertise when the tablets are taking over?

Really successful IT Solution Providers are at a junction point: Minimize spending and consider a sale or invest in expansion/transformation to a more consumer-oriented technology business. Considering the premiums that the market is dictating on the MSP businesses that have been acquired so far, most of your sub-$10,000,000 shops are going to transform.

Of course, my sales figures support that thesis Smile What we are doing is not a coincidence or an experiment.

Where Shockey Monkey Fits In

When I launched Shockey Monkey I told everyone that it’s not a PSA. I still maintain that it’s an extension to a PSA model and it’s inherent design isn’t management of your business but the service delivery to your customer – portals, chat, remote access, invoicing and accounting, reporting – in the face of changing demand your customer service is more important to your business than the tech solutions.

Yes, you need a tool to manage the tech solutions. And I’ll give it to you for free.

You also need a system and partners – today we will be inviting many of them to the platform.

You see, the way software and hardware vendors currently market their solutions is by throwing messages out and hoping that they stick. When you walk by my booth at a trade show, I have a few seconds to get your attention. If you enter a drawing or a contest, it’s another opportunity. But it’s only an opportunity to pique your interest about what I can do for your business. I do not get to take you through the whole benefit of my solution. And quite frankly, for some solutions the business decision maker or sales guy or even the support manager may be the wrong person to talk to.

This is where Shockey Monkey, and advertising you will see in it, are fundamentally different. It’s not a game of impressions and hoping someone will click. It’s an annual campaign that can be updated daily. Shockey Monkey users will be working in the portal and seeing vendor messages – almost constantly – and have a clear idea of the value and benefits that are offered. This includes everyone from the lowest paid helpdesk admin to the highest-compensated partner who is only in there to see the quarterly sales figures.

This is a marketing approach that is both new and mutually beneficial for all of us. IT Solution Providers get a free portal experience that ties into virtually all the systems from the PSA (if you have one) to the accounting package to quoting package to the RMM and even your own web site. All brought to you by the vendors who want you to make them a part of your business. But do they get your business just because you clicked on their ad? In a way that we’ve implemented the marketing in Shockey Monkey, they win when you win – and it’s on them to show you how to grow and do so in an assisted, supported and illustrated way. We have a common goal here.

Over the next few blog posts I will go into details on how this will happen. Vendors, hardware and software, have very deep pockets but also very talented people and lots of insight into the industry. IT Solution Providers have the customer service, connections and willingness to do the implementation process.

It makes everyone more accountable. You can no longer overpromise, underdeliver and move on to the next sale – the dynamics of IT business have been flipped from large deals to smaller deals that are earned every month. In order for vendors to stay in partners toolbox they have to deliver every day of every month. In order for the IT Solution Providers not to be removed, they have to deliver far more value. Which means the cost of business is higher, margins are lower, and we’re racing to gain a larger market share.

Shockey Monkey is less of a tool and more of a platform to make this possible. Not only will we make those connections but we’ll turn them into a relationship that is connected at the service delivery.

The synergy of the two potentially turns every single one of us into IBM.