In our latest updates we’ve introduced the new questionnaire and report called Regular Technology Assessment. Now we’re ready with the processes and documentation.
It has been one of the fastest adopted tools so far in our enterprise. We designed a questionnaire reflecting your infrastructure services and looking outward to application management and vCIO services from the MSP perspective. There’s nothing too complicated, and the questionnaire/report is fully customizable. That makes it super easy to implement and offers a great deal of ROI in terms of client engagement, time savings and additional projects and services.
This process is ideal for Technical Account Managers or Account Managers. We involve three stakeholders in the conversation: the client's main decision maker, the 'internal champion' responsible for the IT and the MSP's tech team. We’re going to focus on the client's current business goals, technology issues, the IT operational metrics, infrastructure opportunities and the application opportunities.
We’ll go into the different use cases and facilitation of the Quarterly Business Review in next week’s Bi Weekly webinar. Sign up here.
Thanks for reading, and see you in the webinar next week!
Quick note: Let’s meet during IT Nation
We are going to be at the IT Nation event. If you are too, let us know. We’ve been preparing some specials for clients we meet there! Just send me an email and we’ll keep you in the loop.
vCIO Best Practices
We had an awesome hints-and-tips based session last week in the member only webinar about vCIO best practices. We didn’t go through big ideas, but provided 10 quick and dirty tips for making vCIO services more efficient.
Ideas from practitioners
Chad Thomas from Proactis put together an awesome 10 point exercise Google Sheet and explains how he’s using it. I was honestly pumped to see what he’s done: solution selection, business issue management and all sorts of 10 point exercises.
Jaycen Kuhn from SNS Technologists shared a bunch of wisdom on virtual CIO services but I was impressed by two major items: one was landing a vCIO-only offering managing the current MSP (wow), and the other was to build vCIO services the from ground up as a scalable, productized service.
The last couple of weeks we broke a record in the amount of emails describing the closing of serious vCIO opportunities. The incomes range from $28k projects to $1500 - $4500 MRR contracts. Most of these are net new clients where the MSP program was secondary. Stand-alone Virtual CIO deals are gaining traction within the business community, which is a good sign.
Just a reminder - all vCIO related packages are in the Service Bundle section in one place now with all the links to required education, powerpoint sales slides, lucidchart processes and deliverables. I also want to point out that based on your feedback, we’ve put up some 10 minute overview videos for each package to show the elements and how they work together.
Another thing getting more traction is the unbundling and rebundling initiative with the personalized ITCqs. Many of you have been putting together your own packages within the tool, and I’ve noticed it’s a trending topic in nearly every MSP 2.0 Peer Group lately. The idea is to break down the current complex offering into discrete value definitions and build up an alternative version of the offering with those value propositions in mind, such as IT Security, Client Advisory, Application Management and the traditional Managed Infrastructure Services.
Just as a reminder, we went through these points in the last few biweekly webinars which you can see here:
Our next official release is scheduled for the 15th of November and will be presented during the Q4 Town Hall meeting. Here’s some hints of what to expect:
The first major item will be the rethought of onboarding and continuous learning programs. We’ve cleared out the onboarding goals and milestones and designed metrics around them, so we can help new users learn the system while working, and help them with onscreen communication and tailored messages to hit their milestones sooner. It also gives us online access to the people in the process with the experience to pursue their goals faster.
The second major item will be the final revamp of the Services - Questionnaire section. This will give us the flexibility to manage your service catalog separately from the templates, plus copy questionnaires related to your service catalog. This is the ideal way to build a robust service portfolio and service bundles flexible enough to work with your ITCq questionnaires.
The third priority is to fix around 50-60 smaller user interface issues and known bugs in one round.
So let’s keep on track, people...see you next week in the BiWeekly Webinar!
The main idea behind the ITCq process is to create great service bundles and make them and the services behind them more understandable to the client, through the use of questions and statements that clearly demonstrate the value of the services.
As the product has matured the point has come now that we can make the service bundles custom for all MSP services and are able to generate a questionnaire around it.
Why it is a big deal?
These were not previously possible with standard questionnaire not custom-related to your service offering.
How to leverage the new functions?
If you have any questions about the opportunity just ping us any time!
We sent out the Summer Release online last week. I wanted to make sure everybody is updated.
Please check the updates in these short videos
1. We finished the Connectwise integration and made it live for all customers. It is a huge opportunity for users not to leave CW and still use our functions, and send complete projects and ongoing deliverables to CW Projects, and manage them inside your favourite PSA.
2. We have created an overall placeholder for everything related to your product offering. You can now design services and service bundles, manage marketing and sales collaterals according to your main service categories. This is a game changing feature which enables you to manage your complex services in one place.
3. ITCqs have been inspiring people across the globe and we’ve decided that now it’s time to make this completely yours. We have created 7 questionnaires based on different service portfolios. Now you can create your own service portfolios and generate an ITCq based on them. This gives you the ultimate freedom to measure your clients and prospects precisely against your offering.
4. We’ve closed the gap between the Sales and the Service Delivery modules. Now you can generate Projects or Ongoing Contracts from the ITCq directly. Imagine being able to generate a contract with all the projects in the Development Roadmap and push it to a Basecamp or CW workspace in a second. We had to put more features to the Project based services, so that now you can generate your productized services in the tool and automate most of the sales and delivery processes.
I hope you like where we’re going! As always send us your feedback to enable us to craft an even better product for you!
Have a great week!
I’m very excited to announce the MSP 2.0 Town Hall Meeting happening next week.
As the product and services around ReframeYourClients have matured, we can make the transition to bring updates every quarter instead of every month. These updates aren’t to the application itself but the content, services, education and roadmap as well, so it helps keep everybody on track with what’s going on.
We would like to present the vCIO Toolkit updates in a more official setting - through the bi-weekly member only webinar next Tuesday as our Summer Town Hall meeting. Please sign up to the bi-weekly member only webinars if you have not done so yet. We’ll go through the various topics one by one so you can get a complete picture of all the improvements.
Here’s what these updates are going to be all about:
Let’s meet next Tuesday in the Bi-Weekly webinar and learn where we are and where we are going in the MSP 2.0 community.
Between finalizing the Connectwise integration and releasing tons of new and important features in two weeks we’ve also put a lot of effort into essential new content!
1. Account Management / vCIO onboarding
Our goal at this point is to provide the ability to perform the ITCq process with more people regardless of their seniority, experience or skills. That gives you the ability to scale the sales, AM and vCIO processes.
You can find a complete adoption roadmap in PDF here: 1. Onboarding Process for vCIO/AM Service Delivery
We created a ramp-up process from starting through to mastering the ITCq process. Have a look here (Step 5.) to see what I mean.
Complexity of process based on who completes the questionnaire and how we do the workshop.
2. Brand new Sales Goal: 2. Engaging First Meeting
The First Meeting was the topic in our last member only bi-weekly webinar. We’ve learned from you that making the introduction of the MSP 2.0 model to prospects and clients more comfortable is a big help. The more tools and processes we give you the less stressed you are to conduct a slick and productive first meeting. The more comfortable you become, the faster you’ll grow.
Our participants in the Q3 Sales Group Coaching have been going through this list, and their homework was to actually put together their first meeting event. I was impressed by how easily people adopted the ideas. The practice continues through August, so I’ll keep you posted on the results.
Enjoy, and have great week!
We’ve been working on a totally new way of delivering the ReframeYourClients process in Connectwise. It took a lot of testing and working together closely with early adopters, but now we can show it to the rest of you.
This means certain functions are not just integrated with ConnectWise, but actually running in ConnectWise. We have been using the new iFrame based function of their API.
After the integration you’ll see new tabs:
You no longer have to leave ConnectWise for the whole MSP sales process and the vCIO processes. Yee-ha!
First, ask for a beta access from me, and I’ll set you up right away. Then you can put together the My API integration using the help feature: My API integration screen walkthrough, and get access to the additional tabs.
Go into your ConnectWise to turn on the tabs in the Company and the Today screen. Once you’ve set it up it will be an option for your team members to see it in their ConnectWise. Then it will ask for your ReframeYourClients user/pass, so only ReframeYourClients users will see anything in the tabs thereafter. It might be a question for larger organizations.
These features are related to many system components, so we have to make sure everything works for the hosted and the Onprem version too. There are several different package versions out there that makes the testing more cumbersome.
The product is stable, but when people import 6000 clients to ReframeYourClients, or send emails to 500+ people organizations, or deploy vCIO services with 300+ line items, our tools started to sweat. We still have things to test in the super-duty environment. Other than that it’s chugging along.
MSP 2.0 Business Development in Connectwise:
MSP 2.0 Account Management Process in Connectwise:
MSP 2.0 vCIO Process in Connectwise:
MSP 2.0 Business Building in Connectwise
I hope you like it.
See you soon!
Lot’s of stuff going on in the background...more later, but first a bit of an update on what’s already accessible!
Our main priority has been to improve the usability and the reliability of the vCIO toolkit. I wanted to give you a quick overview of the many enhancements we’ve released lately:
Bug, stability fixes
What is on the plan for Q3
As always summer is great for learning and implementing new stuff due to the slowing client activities, so if you need any help, let me know. If you haven’t signed up for one of the many vCIO or Consultative Sales complementary courses on Q3, let’s check it out.
Thanks for reading, and have a great week.
While every client has a unique reality, there are nevertheless common directions and goals they all have. Sometimes the trouble isn’t any more than deciding “what I should do next”, or just seeing a wider view of their development journey. With this in mind we have created roadmaps for different roles to give a little boost to progress.
The CEO is responsible for the overall direction of the company. Defining the direction requires a general strategy - a roadmap for development - as well as strategies for sales, marketing, research and other segmented concerns. The plan then must be created such that people can execute effectively and work in alignment with each other and the designated company direction. In smaller organizations the CEO may be responsible for several of these tasks, juggling roles and multi-tasking. We don’t do that. Every role is separately defined and we are the purveyors of distinct services spelled out in a contract. The roadmap keeps the roles clear, and helps the CEO control the resources to enable the team to execute the mission.
The sales executive, or whoever performs the sales role in an organization, is responsible of the healthy growth of the company. The role is to present the company's value proposition, exhibit its unique differentiation, qualify prospects and engage them in business with you with some regularity. Even if you’re the CEO who wears the sales hat, it’s important to put together a solid sales process to scale with your company.
The Account Manager/Virtual CIO is responsible for the business engagement of the client. Traditionally small customers have been taken care of by an Account Manager or vCIO Light services included in the MSP package, but now there’s a growing frequency of service providers with a separate vCIO offering for their 50+ seat clients. This separate offering is a true manifestation of the MSP 2.0 model, where the vCIO service surrounds the client and help them to craft and execute a solid IT strategy, and not focus just on infrastructure..
Let’s check them out!
So we’ve been hearing that you’re happy with our content, and impressed with the volume, but stymied when trying to find something specific. We’ve been working on this, and have found that if we streamline the roadmap according to roles and common use cases, then browsing and finding is an easier endeavor. So we’re rebuilding the “Do Project” section (more next week). Also, with a better roadmap we’ll all be able to more easily tweak and focus the information for overviews and companions. Let’s check this out.
1. Quick Explanations - for summaries
We’ve put together some explanatory articles to give you a quick overview about a certain part of the tool.
Based on our feedback, people find it very useful.
2. Refined Training Courses - for companion
We’ve also been working on the Business Building module lately to make the content easier to digest. We cleaned out the complete Training/Courses section. Check it out here
Let’s have a look to the eleven bi-weekly member only webinar recordings.
The role based roadmaps will be ready for next week, so this should solve the education labyrinth. Please tell us what you think!
We’re offering three courses during Q3 in a group coaching format with limited seats, but for no additional charge. Check out what’s great about the new training format, and sign up right now.
1. Two tracks - Sign up today!
As we’ve heard from you, there are two major tracks of our system where you want assistance in skill building:
Consultative Sales skill building - plan the sales funnel and learn the first meeting and workshops, and put instant lead generation in place based on referrals. Please sign up here
Account Management, vCIO skill building - plan the standard vCIO and Account Management services and implement the Light and Basic bundles. Learn IT Concept Creation, Quarterly Business Reviews, Business Issue Management and the Annual Cycles. Please sign up here
2. Training format
We conducted two practical training pilot programs during Q2 and the feedback we got was consistently positive. People referred to it as “skill building”, and “vCIO Toastmasters”, and said that actually doing workshops together and having a chance to practice is a great added value to group coaching. Building on that feedback we are offering “no theory” group coaching sessions in Q3.
3. No additional charges
We are introducing a different pricing and packaging structure during the summer to new clients. To be aligned with the new model we aren’t going to charge “one time fees” for education anymore. Instead these will be part of the subscription, like the application. As always we’ll grandfather you to the new model, with no additional charge.
Hope you find this useful and to see you in one of the groups during Q3!
While we field questions about all kinds of activities, we’ve found some consistent patterns in the services we advise most often. Thus, I want to just highlight three services which are in the vCIO toolkit but seem to be underutilized…
Sometimes we’re able to define the scope of a project, and we can visualize its implementation, but haven’t chosen a product/solution/service specifically. There may be research required, and we know we need to be aligned as a team to choose appropriately.
Why it’s important: we commonly get requests to help clients choose applications, vendors and so forth. This exercise streamlines and structures that process. It’s very easy and very engaging. Check out the special 10 point exercise sheet!
A regular technical audit is a set of tasks we do to make sure that the whole IT environment is consistent and up to date, all necessary proactive work has been done and we have all information required to ensure everything is working well, and to set corrective actions where needed.
Why it’s important: this is an in-demand service that many IT managed services providers are doing without the business context. Having an ITCq ready can create the business context around their devices and IT infrastructure.
The "Virtual IT Department" of the company can consist of fifty or more application providers, service providers, vendors and third party companies. It’s important to categorize different participants and evaluate their performance regularly. With this evaluation we can decide whom we can dismiss, change, or negotiate for a better price or develop a more strategic relationship.
Why it’s important: we need to be able to assess and prioritize which vendors need more attention, which are commodities, and when we should renegotiate the MSP contract. It’s the tool to help focus on those partners and deliver higher value to our clients.
Check out those services and implement them as soon as possible.
If you’re just getting started, or you’d like to include a teammate to the tool, it just got easier to get going and make some real progress.
We are pushing hard to the end of this quarter to make the tools easier to use, faster to adopt and more effective.
I hope you find the update useful. As always we’re open to feedback and suggestions.
The ITCq workshops are cornerstones of the vCIO movement and of the consultative sales role as well. During these workshops, however, you used either the report from the questionnaire, or the 7C Canvas, but didn’t have the guidance software available. That made it harder for us to help you in your first steps. Nobody is born an expert workshop facilitator, so we’re going to include the guidance you need.
The new overview screen and the new questionnaires have allowed us to develop a "Guided Workshop" feature. We’ve been running the beta for a while with some MSPs and in groups and the feedback is very positive. The idea is to use the ITCq new Overview screen during the workshop - not just printed reports - on a notebook screen or projector, to walk through the scores, examine the issues they indicate, and explore possible action items together with our clients/prospects. The guide is a step-by-step click through tutorial we use throughout the system. It gives you the steps, timing, hints, and questions to ask, plus real-time explanations of elements and jargon of the workshop, and finishes up with the next steps and scheduling the next meeting.
We’ll be using three different Guided Workshops:
You can access the feature from the Consultative Sales / Discovery Process / ITCq Overview screen. Just check the dropdown at the top and choose one to start.
As always, let me know what you think!
We reached a point in terms of our product maturity that a separate tool-related knowledge base became a priority. We have literally hundreds of users in the tool and dozens are being onboarded every month. We saw an undeniable value in this reference to make the learning experience much easier and more achievable in a given timeframe.
We’ve now implemented these tool-related references into the knowledge base with a lot of readily accessible information, help and tips.
You can access it from the tool directly. You can browse the articles, use the search feature, or follow our suggestions of contextual articles.
We’re also now able to track search terms and accuracy in the tool. As we observe what our members (you) are searching, we’ll continuously refine the indexing behind the engine to ensure the most relevant results.
Please feel free to give your feedback - this is a high priority item on our list right now!
See you next week!
We decided to follow the same functionality that we had with Basecamp, which means we’re not just doing an export to the Connectwise Project module, we’re going to bring back the projects and put them directly onto the vCIO Workspace screen. It gives the MSP the ability to very quickly glance through all the vCIO (or other service related) duties in one place.
There will be times you use both integrations. For more tech type work you leverage Connectwise, whereas for Account Management work you use Basecamp. Now you’re able to see all the related duties (with various filters) in one screen.
Because Connectwise is running in different versions, both in-house and hosted, we have to make a little more effort in testing to make sure everything is wired together right. We’re looking for additional beta testers, who will get access to the function very soon.
If you’re interested, let me know and we’ll put you on the list.
2. Hints and tips for the week
We’ve realized lately that along with the improvements to features, we also have copious amounts of content development behind the tools that also needs explanations and help adopting. Although we send updates regularly, we get requests to put some hints and tips together on popular topics.
Did you know that…
...all the frequently asked questions about the vCIO module and the new questionnaires are answered on the virtual CIO FAQ page?
Have a great Week!
Many of our members are making a habit of attending the bi-weekly member only webinars. These sessions are also evolving with this popular input, getting more interactive with polls, Q&As, guests and our click-through training sections.
Let’s check out the webinar recordings we made during March and April:
A project can fail before we even get started. A planned process for the right start is crucial to be able to set realistic expectations, to develop any plans further and to implement the project with accountability. We go through the steps of a successful project start in this webinar.
The Business Model Canvas is growing in popularity among our members as well. It’s a progressive tool that’s easy to facilitate, and helps us to transition into a role of a business consultant and away from the traditional “IT guy.” Take a look at this discussion with guest interviews on the best practices and processes delivered in this webinar.
There are several distinct roles that deal with client engagement, such as Account Management, Technical Account Management, Customer Success Manager and Client Advisor . Let's see what these roles mean and how they’re each suited for client engagement. In fact, we will be putting together the Account Management as a Service and delivering it within the tool.
The Micro SME (3-15 employees) customer segment is very demanding and sometimes difficult to achieve full satisfaction for the client as well as us. We go through the whys and the hows of creating service bundles for them based on their needed value proposition. It’s all in the tool, so there’s is a short walk-through section at the end to make your job easier.
As you might have seen we’ve created many new questionnaires. You would of course ask why we have that many, which one to use for what reason and, perhaps, how they’re connected to the various services we have available.
1. New Questionnaires
Please check the updated FAQ which gives detailed walkthrough videos for each questionnaire. We act on our feedback and we’ll be fine tuning them over the next couple weeks.
We’ve developed some new ITCq SME questionnaires for different sizes of companies - same questions but with more detail and drilling down as we go toward bigger clients discovering the needs for higher end services. The best part is that these have been crafted to be relevant to the problems your clients have and to your services. This is the tool that’s going to discover the problems of your prospects and show how your services solve them best.
We will be replacing the current ITCq Classic and light versions with those surveys later - questions more relevant to more clearly defined clients, more wired to the services you do and backed by your service bundles.
The ITCq vCIO questionnaire aims to qualify clients for the vCIO service bundles they might need. It delves into the questions on Virtual CIO type services so you can gauge what they want to solve, then present the vCIO offering that best fits the results. It helps you pitch and illustrate the different kinds of values among the choice of vCIO services.
The ITCq Security questionnaire carries out a conversation around IT security - not just covering the traditional MSP packages and Managed BDR or Managed IT Security, it goes beyond to identify IT Security management and compliance issues. We had to create an IT Security Canvas for this one - you can see the dimensions don’t follow the traditional 7C dimensions, but each one is IT Business Continuity related.
2. New service bundles
Go to the vCIO Module and check the service bundles to see our new stuff there. These service bundles match the questionnaires above. Use the questionnaires to spur conversations that help you identify different problems your prospects have, and the values these services deliver in the solution. This is where you can differentiate yourself as an MSP - by presenting these service packages with your expertise in explanation, so your prospects and clients get a clear picture of the values to be delivered in easy to understand service bundles.
Of course every service, service bundle and all the text on the questionnaire is now ready for your unique customization. Check it out and make it your own selling tool.
We’re very excited to reveal the first phase of the ReframeYourClients tool transformation to the platform.
We’ve been developing a solid vCIO and Account Management Service within our tool. It has succeeded in teaching the development of scalable services with processes, blueprints, videos, graders, surveys and tasks and automating it all with an application. The tool and the user interface have inspired many people to use the same platform for classic MSP 1.0 services, Managed IT Security, Application Management or any other service.
Now it’s time to open up these functions for you, for vendors for independent consultants to develop your own services. Bundle services into offerings, create relevant marketing materials like graders, connect those to ITCq modules and deliver the construction through basecamp workspaces. All these tools are yours now.