After the sale – the next steps in a managed services contract

Karl Palachuk

Status Check: You've just inked a deal. 

Yeah! 

Congratulations. 

Log on to your favored Managed Services Chat Group and proclaim your victory. 

But then what?

The practical stuff

Now we have to take care of some very practical stuff. 

The client sit-down isn't over until you take care of the long list of little things that need to be done. How do I handle this? Well, for anyone that’s read my other blogs, it probably won’t come as any surprise that there’s a checklist for that. 

First, make a cover page that includes the following data:

  • Client Name
  • Date
  • Deal (circle one) Silver – Gold – Platinum
  • # of Servers / Cost for Servers
  • # of Workstations / Cost for workstation
  • Monthly Total
  • Setup Fees
  • Setup to be paid by (circle one) Check / Credit Card
  • Monthly to be paid by (circle one) Check / Credit Card
  • Correct Billing Information

On the next page you'll start a list with actions that need to take place, who is responsible for each and the date completed. You might even use this document as a "routing" slip to make sure each person or department does what they need to do.

If you're the only one responsible for the actions, you still need to make this list and you still need to take care of all these things. 

Of course, this is just a fictional example and does not in any way represent exactly what we do in our company. 

Your List:

  • Check to see that the names match how they want to be billed for services (you’ll use this in your RMM tool, your PSA, your financial billing package, your mailing list, etc.). 
  • Create invoices for setup/monthly costs
  • Calculate first month fees + setup  

Collect Money:  

  • If Credit Card / ACH
  • Collect Credit Card / ACH form  
  • Charge Credit card or collect via ACH: initial setup fees/first month  
  • Apply payments in QuickBooks (or whatever accounting tool is your preference)
  • Set up Autopay & Monthly recurring if paid by check  
  • Collect check from client (3 months + setup) 
  • Apply payments in QB  
  • Make sure check is deposited  
  • File all paperwork (eg, service agreement) 
  • Update list of clients on Managed Services Agreements (MSAs)  
  • Create credits as needed for hosted spam filtering and other services that are now included in MSA  
  • Expire old service agreements in the PSA system  
  • Create new service agreements in PSA system 
  • Create RMM Executive Summary Report  
  • Create Service Request (SR) to set up client in PSA and RMM tools  
  • Set up Monitoring, Schedule Patches, Fixes  
  • Set up hosted spam filter, if appropriate  
  • Train client on hosted spam filter 
  • Install RMM agent on client PCs (create SR)  
  • Install RMM agent on server (create SR)  
  • Add server to RMM daily monitoring  
  • Add server to RMM patch management group 
  • Set up back up jobs to email to KPE monitor  
  • Update daily monitoring sheet to include new client requirements  
  • Tutor client contact re: PSA service portal  
  • Tutor client contact re: SR process 
  • Send intro letter to client etc. 

This list has been edited for public consumption. You'll edit again for your tools and procedures. 

A quick rant

Do you see all the stuff you have to do in order to provide spectacular support? And this list doesn't include maintaining your RMM tools, managing portals and passwords, creating documentation flyers and PowerPoints. 

You're not a trunk-slamming fly-by-night interloper. You're a trained technical professional, running a business to provide top-drawer technical support to people who are willing to outsource their IT department. 

So, no, you don't have time to deal with break/fix junk on six-year old servers. Those aren't your clients. 

And yes, you will charge a setup fee and feel good about it.

Weeding your garden 

There's always trepidation over the topic of saying goodbye to "good" clients. 

After you meet with three or four suspected silver clients, you'll have two or three signed agreements. You'll have immediately increased your recurring revenue. And you'll have money in the bank: Monthly prepays, first months and setup fees. 

Now you see the value of this business model. Now you see that clients who you thought would drop off have signed up for Platinum! Who knew? These clients have not just gone along with your program, they have told you with financial commitment that they believe in your new model. 

The future is a brighter place because of you. I'm not kidding. 

This is the way technical support should be bought and sold and delivered. This is the future. And you and your clients are going to go there together. 

So if you've heard a client say that they don't value preventive maintenance, and they just want break/fix, you're not going to be very sympathetic. 

You're going to realize, after about three service agreements, that you have clients who have literally placed their business in your hands. They trust you and rely on you. And when their servers go down, or their email stops, you're going to take care of it. You have accepted a higher level of liability in exchange for money. 

Meanwhile, Cousin Larry wants to do his own tech support and call you in when he's broken something so bad he can't fix it. When you've got two or three service agreements under your belt, you'll understand that you can't provide Cousin Larry with ad hoc support when you've got clients who've stepped up to the next level. 

You can't leave a contract client waiting while you go work on some snake pit of a server that you don't maintain, don't manage, don't monitor and don't know what's been done to it. 

You will come to believe that your future is with clients who value your services. And that will make it easier to be committed to walking away from clients who just want break/fix. 

If you don't believe me yet, wait until you've signed some agreements. This really is your future. 

So now you can go into meetings with a much higher level of confidence. When someone says they don't want to sign, you won't be offended and you won't be upset. And you won't retreat to a mentality of poverty. You'll simply, casually, say "That's no problem. We work with the local IT Pro group. We can help you find a Small Business Specialist who is still providing break/fix work.” 

When you're willing to walk away, you don't have to give in. 

And when you honestly believe in your heart that you don't need every dollar that walks in the door, your business will move to the next level. 

(Used with permission of Karl W. Palachuk, SmallBizThoughts.com)