As a Managed Services Provider, in order to maximize our value proposition to prospects and clients and bottom-line profitability, we should seek out only two types of clients:
- Technology Strategic
- Technology Dependent
The Technology Strategic client views their technology spend as an investment that provides them a strategic advantage over competitors in their market. These clients are more likely to already have a budget for IT investments, or are willing to create one.
The Technology Dependent client may not view their technology spend in the same way the Technology Strategic client does, but because their organization is so dependent on its existing technology, they are forced to invest to maintain it.
Our job as our clients' Trusted Advisor and business partner is to transform the Technology Dependent client into a Technology Strategic client, and the best way to do this is through our Quarterly Business Review process.
The first step towards this transformation is to build trust and credibility as a Trusted Advisor in our clients' minds. If we are simply focused on technical (closing trouble tickets) and project outcomes, we are providing commoditized services and not reflecting or reinforcing the strategic value of our relationship with our clients. Let's face it – anyone can close trouble tickets and land servers. This is not the value we want to reflect to our clients. In fact, we should come right out and state this during the pre-sales process with prospects, and reinforce the fact that once we quiet the noise in the environment, we will be focused on strategic planning and road-mapping to help the prospect realize their business goals through technology. This means we are focused on Business Outcomes – reflecting the true value of the Trusted Advisor relationship.
We accomplish this through effective Quarterly Business Reviews that gradually shift from focusing on operational reviews to strategic reviews. This is accomplished in the following manner for a new prospect:
- First 90 days after signing your Managed Services Agreement – Monthly Business Reviews covering mostly operational review, user and client satisfaction and needs analysis to uncover pain and potential solutions. The concept of budgeting is introduced.
- 120 days after signing your Managed Services Agreement – Bi-Monthly Business Reviews covering less operational review, equal time spent on user and client satisfaction and needs analysis to uncover pain and potential solutions. Technology road-mapping and budgeting discussions are increased.
- Quarterly Business Reviews are executed moving forward, with minimal time spent on operational reviews, equal time spent on user and client satisfaction and the majority of the meeting spent on Strategic Technology Road-Mapping and budget discussions.
Our goal is to influence our clients to agree to budget for technology improvements on a quarterly basis – even if they only agree to $1,000 for the next quarter, if you had 30 clients agree to that, you would have an additional $30,000 in your pipeline quarter over quarter. If the budget goes unused, it remains in escrow to be added to (not replace) the next quarter's budget. And once you have accustomed your clients to budgeting for technology improvements, you can influence them to increase these budgets as needed.
You have now successfully transformed your Technology Dependent clients into Technology Strategic clients.
Here is a sample QBR Agenda that you can use for your Technology Strategic client meetings:
Quarterly Business Review Agenda
1. Operational review – 10 minutes
A. Quarterly technology report
B. Trending and/or recurring issues
C. Satisfaction level
2. Strategic review – 30 minutes
A. Goals & objectives
- Remainder of this year
– Year 1
– Year 2
– Year 5
B. Business opportunities
C. Business challenges
3. Budget review – 10 minutes
A. Technology investments to date
B. Technology investments last quarter
C. Technology investments next quarter
4. Review of action items and expectations – 10 minutes
If you follow this technique, you will tremendously increase the value of your relationship with your clients, and keep your pipeline full, allowing you to forecast revenue and facilitate growth.
Learn this and other effective techniques to grow your business at our San Francisco, CA Boot Camp on August 17th-19th, 2011. Click here for more information.
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