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Secrets of a Successful VAR and MSP Merger

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Nov, 14

Secrets of a Successful VAR and MSP Merger

Imagine merging your small managed services practice with a larger VAR business and being faced with the prospect of having 45 customers who are used to paying for IT solutions and services only when something breaks. That’s the situation Jason Brunt, CEO of e3 Technical Solutions, found himself in after joining forces with Rick Carpenter, owner of break-fix IT service company Beyond Development, last year.

Jason Brunt, CEO, and Rick Carpenter, CTO, e3 Technical Solutions

Jason Brunt (l), CEO, and Rick Carpenter, CTO, e3 Technical Solutions

After investing in a MAXfocus (formerly GFI MAX) managed services platform, e3 Technical Solutions was ready for the challenge. “The biggest reason some service providers get pushback when selling managed services is that they fail to explain the value they can deliver,” says Brunt. “Selling managed services requires a consultative sales approach, including conversations about the costs of downtime and lost productivity.”

For Brunt and Carpenter, having these conversations has been the easy part and they’ve been steadily converting customers to the managed services model each month. “Because this is a big change for so many of our customers, we’ve purposely restricted the number of customers we’re approaching and converting each month, to ensure we can fulfill our SLAs [service level agreements],” says Brunt.

Another move e3 Technical Solutions is making during its managed services ramp-up period is developing its help desk center, which now comprises five engineers. “It takes time to hire the right people, and Rick and I both agree that this process it too important to skimp on,” says Brunt. “For example, during our 20+ years of working in the IT business, we’ve come across a few IT personality types that we avoid. The first is the arrogant IT engineer who thinks he knows everything and always talks down to end users. You can’t have a person like that interacting with your clients, plus that type of person can easily poison your other employees.” The second type of person Brunt and Carpenter stay away from is someone who exhibits a self-entitlement complex. “A typical example of this is a person who completes a six-month IT training course at a community college and expects a $65,000 starting salary,” says Carpenter.

Brunt and Carpenter agree that the best way to find good engineers and technicians is through face-to-face interviews and asking questions that reveal people’s motives. “Our current group of employees have come to us through people we’ve had experience with in the past,” says Carpenter. “We have full confidence that, if any of these techs are on the phone or on location, they’re going to provide good customer service.”

Despite its recent growth, the two business partners believe finding the right partnering opportunities will provide additional benefits. “When we come across other IT service providers in our area that we feel have a culture and work ethic similar to ours, we talk to those companies about potential partnering opportunities,” says Brunt. “The truth is that no MSP possesses every IT skill in-house, and partnering is oftentimes the smarter way to acquire a new skill or service.”

To learn more about what e3 Technical Solutions is doing to achieve 100% sales revenue growth this year, check out “Merging Break-Fix And Managed Services” in the December issue of Business Solutions magazine and available online now at BSMinfo.com.

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