Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Desktops and Managed Service

In response to "Managed Services in a Month - Part Seven"
(now part of Managed Services in a Month):

VinceT said . . .
    This has been a great series. Can you talk more about the value of desktop monitoring? I've had trouble selling customers on moving from hourly desktop support to unlimited remote support that includes monitoring. I'll show them that for a few bucks more per month per pc on average from what they are paying now, they'll get destkop patching, AV montioring, and system monitoring. Their answer is "We are getting what we need right now, why would we pay more?" It's just a few bucks per workstation. I have a feeling I'm not selling the value of it properly! Thanks.

Let's take this apart.

Here are the pieces I see:

- The value of desktop monitoring (plus patch management and remote support).

- Difficult sale to move from break/fix to unlimited managed service on desktop.

- The killer objection - "We're getting what we need right now."


As for value, you need to start with your own calculations. You need to convince yourself that the value is correct.

Consider, what do you charge for the desktop component? Let's start with a base of one hour's consulting service. Is your monthly desktop support equal to one hour? Half an hour? A quarter hour?

Think in terms of time. Talk to yourself in hours. How many hours of labor does it take support a desktop for a year? For a month?

We figure it takes about 1/2 hour per month to "manually" manage a desktop. That's six hours a year. If you charge $100/hr it's $600. If you charge $120, it's $720. For that you get all the fixes for Outlook, word, windows, adobe acrobat. You also get all the virus updates, virus scanner re-installs, miscellaneous updates, patches, fixes, and whatevertheheck.

You don't get automated patch management. We need to come in and do it. Nor automated fixes. We gotta do those. Same with service packs.

And there's no remote support. We gotta come in.

We charge [$720 a year / $60 a month] to cover everything, patch everything, monitor everything, and provide all remote support. You get a lot more, in a more timely manner, for nothing extra. After all, you get unlimited remote support!

If there's one "incident" on a desktop, the client sees the value.

Once you get excited about this perspective, and you believe it yourself, then you can sell it.


It is a difficult sale to move from break/fix to managed service.

To be honest, most very small businesses have a lot of trouble with this. They somehow think they're saving money by deferring an expenditure. And, to be honest, ROI (return on investment) arguments are lost on most small businesses. SMB owners tend to believe that discussions of ROI are just smoke and mirrors to take more of their money.

It actually takes a sophistocated buyer to start looking at the total cost of ownership (TCO) over a three year period.

The only advice I have here is to plan for a marathon instead of a sprint. Tell these clients at every opportunity that 3/4 of the cost of owning a computer is in maintenance. Tell them at every opportunity that "this would be covered if you had a Platinum managed service plan." Beat it into them. Be a broken record. Again and again.

And be patient.

Someday disaster will strike. Tell them "It sucks to be you. If you'd had a managed service agreement . . .." :-)

Just keep repeating the mantra. Eventually they'll get it.

My favorite client is a guy named Hank. Hank never believed in the whole "managed" crap. He wasn't sure about licenses. He wasn't ready to just turn over his whole operation to us and back off. After years -- after NINE years -- he finally backed off, signed the deal, and let us take over.

We predicted a hard drive crash, moved him to a new server, and saved his business. He was 99.99999999999999999% sold.

Eight months later his server and all his other computers were stolen. We rebuilt it all in short order, and saved him THOUSANDS on software because he'd bought licenses! Yeah! Now he's 100% sold.

Mantra. Mantra. Mantra.

Managed Service. Managed Service. Managed Service.

Break/fix is always more expensive for the client and less profitable for you.


As for the The Killer Objection - "We're getting what we need right now" -

We'll deal with that next time.

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