Like many other IT solutions providers, David Pence, founder of Acumen IT, felt the impact of the recession a few years ago. Looking back, Pence says that the upside of this difficult period was the deep business analyses it led to and the important changes that followed, which are driving Acumen IT’s double-digit growth today. Pence’s business strategy is leading to a lot of yeses nowadays — especially among healthcare and financial services clients, which the MSP is pursuing. The prerequisite to Acumen IT’s yeses came from learning how to say no to less profitable business opportunities.
One of the exercises Acumen IT performed a few years ago was conducting a thorough customer assessment. The MSP evaluated every customer it had billed in the previous 36 months and looked for key performance indicators such as:
- Which customers required the most/least labor support?
- Which customers were the best/worst at paying on time?
- Which customers only called for infrequent IT projects vs. the ones that were on managed services contracts?
“At the end of the evaluation, it was clear that out of the 397 customers on our list, the 150 managed services customers were the ones we wanted to focus our sales, marketing, and technical resources on moving forward,” he says.
Recognizing the importance of both groups of customers, however, Pence started a new company, OfficeTechPro, to address the needs of Acumen IT’s break-fix customers.
“We’ve come to realize that a seven-person law firm that needs IT support twice a year is a better fit for OfficeTechPro, which is like a minute clinic, as opposed to needing a specialized hospital like Acumen IT.”
The move has done wonders for Acumen IT’s managed services engineers, too. According to Pence, when break-fix customers call, it’s almost always an emergency situation that requires several staff resources to be diverted from less-urgent projects, which ultimately causes disruptions and delays to managed services customers. “Plus, unlike our managed services clients that have standardized IT environments, break-fix customers use technologies and network configurations that are all over the board, which often translates to a lengthier troubleshooting process,” he says. “Removing the break-fix burden from our managed services engineers allows them to deepen their expertise in VMware and Cisco remote management and cloud-based applications. Additionally, it has allowed our managed services engineers to develop closer relationships with our customers, which has translated into better customer service and a higher customer retention rate.”
Be sure to check out The 4 “Nos” That Lead To More Profitable Managed Services “Yeses” for more of David Pence’s insights on building a profitable management services practice.