Notebook leftovers from MAX 2014 Orlando

Marc Thaler

The MAX 2014 U.S. Customer Conference in Orlando is history. But there’s no shortage of takeaways that managed service providers (MSPs) can apply moving forward.

How about a few more?

Here’s a little exercise called “emptying the reporter’s notebook.” Consider these items conference leftovers that didn’t appear in previous posts:

Twitter says...

Did you catch this tweet? Legendary baseball manager Sparky Anderson once said, "Success isn't something that just happens - success is learned, success is practiced and then it is shared."

http://twitter.com/marc_thaler

That gem flat out sums up the purpose of the MAX conference series. Don’t you agree?

A question - and the answers

Midway through the “Hear from your peers” panel discussion, New Hampshire-based MSP Schyler Jones stepped to the microphone. A common problem with managing new techs, he said, is entrusting them with existing relationships.

“How do you clone your philosophy into these techs that you’re entrusting your business to?” Jones asked.

Here’s how four panelists replied:

Steve Rutkovitz, CEO of Choice Technologies:

“They’re not going to be able to read your mind. If you have values that have made you successful, you have to communicate that. You can walk through my company and ask any of the 40 people. Customer, great service, they’re all going to know that. And don’t micromanage. Give them empowerment.”

Mike Gallogly, president and CEO of Mi-Tec Computer Solutions:

“I take my (new) employees on all customer calls with me. They would see how I interact with the client. … I would do that a number of times. That seems to work.”

Seth Rosenberg, president of Syncretic Software:

“We don’t drag them out right away with customers. We get them familiar with our customer base. We start them out doing internal work.”

David Alger, CTO of Mobius Works:

“Make a checklist. If you can document what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, it makes it easier to bring someone on.”

Top traits

GFI MAX Director of Partner Community Dave Sobel shared three traits of the most successful MSPs during the conference kickoff:

  • Operating with process discipline – “The more disciplined you are, the better your business is. It takes time and practice,” he said.
  • A deep understanding of customer requirements – Beyond what MSPs do with the technology, they need to shift their thinking to understand how customers use it, Sobel said.

Conference-Round-Up

  • Insight into market trends and analysis – Stay up-to-date with new releases and products so you know if they “actually do what they say they will,” Sobel said.

Consider this...

Sales coach Paul Kenny of Ocean Learning asked the conference attendees, point blank, if they ever made a sale purely based on luck.

The show of hands was significant.

“Sometimes,” he said, “you go out there and you were the least-worst option.”

He also offered this powerful pointer: “If you don’t really know why you won the sale, you can’t repeat it.”

Closing remarks

Logicspeak President and CEO Jason Etheridge on teaching customers rather than talking down to them:

“We feel like we are somehow better or smarter than our clients that we service. Ultimately, we start to believe that technological ability equates to value, and then we start to get frustrated with our clients when they don’t know what we know.”

Best-selling author, businessman and keynote speaker John Warrillow on maximizing the value of your company:

“Having a sellable company is the ultimate insurance policy. Life happens, right?”

GFI MAX General Manager Dr. Alistair Forbes, at the end of his conference-closing keynote:

“I think we’re on a journey together toward the future of managed services. And that future starts today.”