November 05, 2018
Question: What does your ideal client look like?
Chris Taylor: Really great customers understand the value that technology brings to their business. They don't look at it as a cost. They look at it as a business advantage; they look at spending money on good technology that makes them a better organization and makes their people better and more productive. Those are the organizations that we always are looking for, the ones that really truly understand the value that technology brings to their business. At the end of the day, it makes their people that much more productive.
Brent Morris: We support small and medium sized businesses here in the Twin Cities that range from 20 to 250 people. We support two different types of ideal clients: those that do not have internal IT; and those that have small internal IT teams - both of them have similar but different needs. So those without internal it: most of the organizations that come to work with us are looking for something more. I believe that there are a lot of talented technical companies out there that can solve problems. I don't believe that there are a lot of companies out there that know how to address all of their needs the way that we do by way of education or technology leadership or defining what good looks like and helping them get there. That's what a lot of our ideal clients look like - the ones that are looking for more, not just somebody to solve a problem or to fix a word issue or to reset a password. They're looking for how to take their organization to the next level and they know that technology can help them get there.
Fred Alonzi: The size is important to us because if they don't have IT staff then we know for sure that we're going to have a very, very close relationship. We are going to be their IT department. So generally speaking, when they call us and they're looking for information: if they tell me they have no IT on staff or maybe somebody does it kind of on the side - that certainly tells me that this is a prospective client that really needs our help and we can really assist them. We appreciate it out of a client is just a willingness to work with us to trust us a bit because we are going to come out them with solutions. Again, we're not resellers so we don't push products. We try and provide some options for them. So as long as they're willing to listen to those options and we can provide them some good value for their dollars, I think that's just the perfect, perfect mix for us.
Question: How do you think about client fit?
Chris Taylor: Finding those ideal customers is something that we're continuing to learn even after 26 years. It's always hard to turn down customer business, but we really need to understand what's the right business, and what's not maybe the right business. A lot of our traditional MSP competitors are managed competitors focused on vertical industries or vertical size, and they only take those. And I think that's a great focus, but when you come with the history of where we came from, it's hard to say, “Okay, well we're no longer going to do business with you, you're not the right fit.” So, I think we continually evolve how we select those right and perfect customers. It will continue to evolve along the way. But I think we're getting much better at finding those right customers.
Brent Morris: Well I'll share with you a little bit historical perspective:. so, when we first started we would take anything, and boy did that cause a lot of chaos. It caused a lot of problems. We were throwing stuff over the wall to the operations team and we were asking them to deliver on things that they didn't know how to deliver on. And we were lucky enough to have a team that was talented enough to do it. But it took time and I think it caused a lot of challenges. Now we don't do that. Now, we're very specific about what we go after. And one of the things I'm most proud of with our sales organization is that they've learned how to say “No.” In the face of opportunity, they know how to qualify something and determine whether or not it makes sense for them to bring it forward to the business. And, so I know now that my sales team, when they bring an opportunity in the business, it's almost always the right thing to chase. And that's been difficult.
Fred Alonzi: We've had both sides of perspective clients who are way too large for us and had too many demands for us, and clients who are way too small for us. And in general, again, we do like to try and discuss that up front with clients and make sure that we're on the same wavelength, as far as expectations. For smaller clients, we have lots of smaller clients, but again, they've committed to long-term contracts so we can grow that business. But sometimes you get a small client who just wants to go on a month-to-month and we just can't do that. There's just too much upfront cost to onboard a client, so we don't mind the small client as long as they're willing to talk long-term. We have a number of larger clients, but some have just put so many demands on us that it would not be a good decision for us. And so, some of those demands are just the amount of hours they want from us or the price point they want to reach or the guarantees we’ll provide security wise. Some of those things are just not really feasible and maybe they found somebody else to do that, but maybe they've had a change with their expectations a little bit.