Friday, September 14, 2007

Managed Services in a Month - Part Seven

[ KP Note: The entire "Managed Services in a Month" series has been collected, collated, and indexed. Still free. You may access it now at ]

Topic Eight: After the Sale
Status Check:

You've just inked a deal.



Immediately send an email to [email protected] and say "I did it!"

Log on to the Managed Services Yahoo Group and proclaim your victory.

Sub Topic One: Practical Little Stuff

Now we have to take care of some very practical stuff.

The client sit-down isn't over until you take care of the long list of piddly little stuff that needs to be done.

How does Karl handle this? Here's a surprise: we have a checklist!

First, make a coverpage that includes the following data:
  • Client Name
  • Date
  • Deal (circle one) Silver - Gold - Platinum
  • # of Servers / Cost for Servers
  • # of Workstations / Cost for workstation
  • Monthly Total
  • Setup Fees
  • Setup to be paid by (circle one) Check / Credit Card
  • Monthly to be paid by (circle one) Check / Credit Card
  • Correct Billing Information

On the next page you'll start a list with actions that need to take place, who is responsible for each, and date completed. You might even use this document as a "routing" slip to make sure each person or department does what they need to do.

If you're the only one, you still need to make this list and you still need to take care of all these things.

Of course this is just a fictional example and does not in any way represent exactly what we do in our company.

Your List:
  • Check to see that the names match how they want to be billed for services (Autotask, QuickBooks, Mailing List)
  • Create Invoices for Setup / monthly
  • Calculate first month fees + setup
  • Collect Money:
    • If Credit Card
      • Collect Credit Card form
      • Charge Credit card: initial setup fees/first month
      • Apply payments in QB
      • Set up Autopay & Monthly recurring

    • If Check
      • Collect check from client (3 months + setup)
      • Apply payments in QB
      • Make sure check is deposited

  • File all paperwork (e.g., service agreement)
  • Update list of clients on MSA
  • Create credits as needed for Exchange Defender and other services that are now included in MSA
  • Expire old service agreements in Autotask
  • Create new service agreements in Autotask
  • Create Kaseya Executive Summary Report
  • Create Service Request to set up client in Zenith & Kaseya
  • Set up Monitoring, Schedule Patches, Fixes
  • Set up Exchange Defender, if appropriate
  • Train Client on Exchange Defender
  • Install Kaseya agent on client PCs (create SR)
  • Install Zenith agent on server (create SR)
  • Set LAN watch to run initially on server and then scheduled daily after that
  • Add server to Kaseya and Zenith daily monitoring
  • Add server to Kaseya patch management group
  • Set up back up jobs to email to KPE monitor
  • Update daily monitoring sheet to include new client requirements
  • Tutor client contact re: Autotask client service portal
  • Tutor client contact re: KPE SR process
  • Send intro letter to client


Edited for public consumption. :-)

You'll edit again for your tools/procedures.


[ Sidebar rant: ]

Do you see all the crap you have to do in order to provide spectacular support? And this list doesn't include maintaining your PSA system and setting things up with Zenith, managing portals and passwords, creating documentation flyers and powerpoints.

You're not a trunk-slamming fly-by-night interloper. You're a trained technical professional, running a business to provide top-shelf technical support to people who are willing to outsource their I.T. department.

So, no. You don't have time to deal with break/fix junk on six-year old servers. Those aren't your clients.

[ /rant ]


Sub Topic Two: Revisiting Weeding Your Garden

There's always trepidation over the topic of saying goodbye to "good" clients.

That's why we structured the meetings as we did. After you meet with three or four Suspected Silver clients, you'll have two or three signed agreements. You'll have immediately increased your recurring revenue. And you'll have money in the bank: Monthly prepays, first months, and setup fees.

Now you see the value of this business model. Now you see that clients who you thought would drop have signed up for Platinum! Who knew? These clients have not just drunk the kool-aid: They have told you with financial commitment that they believe in your new model.

The future is a brighter place because of you.

I'm not kidding.

This is the way technical support should be bought and sold and delivered. This is the future. And you and your clients are going to go there together.

So if you've heard a client say that they don't value preventive maintenance, and they just want break/fix, you're not going to be very sympathetic.

You're going to realize, after about three service agreements, that you have clients who have literally placed their business in your hands. They trust you and rely on you. And when their servers go down, or their email stops, you're going to take care of it. You have accepted a higher level of liability in exchange for money.

Meanwhile, Cousin Larry wants to do his own tech support and call you in when he's broken something so bad he can't fix it. When you've got two or three service agreements under your belt, you'll understand that you can't provide Cousin Larry with ad hoc support when you've got clients who've stepped up to the next level.

You can't leave a contract client waiting while you go work on some snakepit of a server that you don't maintain, don't manage, don't monitor, and don't know what's been done to it.

You will come to believe that your future is with clients who value your services.

And that will make it easier to be committed to walking away from clients who just want break/fix.

If you don't believe me yet, wait until you've signed some agreements. This really is your future.

So now you can go into meetings with a much higher level air of confidence. When someone says they don't want to sign, you won't be offended and you won't be upset. And you won't retreat to a mentality of poverty. You'll simply, casually, say "That's no problem. We work with the local I.T. Pro group. We can help you find a Small Business Specialist who is still providing break/fix work.

When you're willing to walk away, you don't have to give in.

And when you honestly believe in your heart that you don't need every dollar that walks in the door, your business will move to the next level.


Next we'll cover Topic Nine: The tools you need to provide managed services.


  1. I've really enjoyed following this series of posts, thank you. During the course of these you've mentioned several tools that I was able to track down for additional information. This post contains a reference to "LAN watch" that's just a little to generic for me to find. Is this a particular product or inhouse process you've created.

  2. LAN watch is a Kaseya tool that keeps track of any machines that are on the network.

    It allows us to keep real time inventory and to add the K agent on those machines.

    I'm sure other providers also have a similar function.

  3. Thanks for the quick response, it's appreciated. In a future article could go more in depth on the various tools you use and why? At least from my initial reading of some of the vendor websites, there appears to be quite a bit of overlap between some of them. For example, Zenith and Kaseya seem to have similar offerings.

  4. Anonymous9:21 AM

    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. There 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.


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