So, a current customer calls you to ask: When do I get my new computers?

posted by Greg VanDeWalker on Tuesday, August 30, 2016 in Unified Communications and IT Blog

No, this isn’t the set-up line to a bad IT joke. I heard it twice today from two different Managed Service providers. So why are their customers calling and asking for the latest and greatest technology? It goes back to something specific these Solution Providers did three years ago; they set the expectation that the technology is supposed to be used, not owned. 

The iPhone Model

If you have kids on your cell phone plan, you are acutely aware of technology refresh cycles. They know the day, the hour, the minute they can get a new phone (OK, so do I). The point is the expectation was set two years ago when I signed the contract that I could get a new one in two years.

The two partners I mentioned above did the same thing with their sales. They provided a solution to their customer that included managed services, software and hardware all for one monthly payment. These Solution Providers were intentional during the sales process about educating their customers on the benefits of a bundled solution.

One of the top benefits to clients is the ability to stay current with technology. The customer knows that their Solution Provider is going to come back in three years and refresh the entire technology stack. The anticipation leaves customers excited for the latest speeds and feeds. 

Solution Provider Benefits

The even better news is there are benefits that extend to the Solution Provider to keeping this refresh cycle including:

  1. When you control the technology stack and have a vehicle to keep it current, your service efficiencies greatly increase.
  2. When you have a contract expiration date your sales rep has an exciting opportunity to go to the customer and explore new technology. This is about building funnel consistency year after year.
  3. Think of the Golden Handcuffs this creates for your top sales reps who are able to refresh effectively and still bring in new customers.

Are Your Customers Asking For New Technology?

How often do customers call you to buy new equipment when they paid cash for something three years ago?

I have been working with MSPs and technology companies for six years. Most initial discussions I have go like this: “our customers don’t lease, they pay cash.” Of course they pay cash because that is the only way they have been sold! Have you considered what they are leasing? Perhaps two days earlier that same customer signed a lease for their copier, or for their fleet of vehicles.

A More Efficient Sales Model

We have numerous MSPs only financing 5% of the deals they sell, and that is because they only look for a leasing partner when the customer asks. When Solution Providers and MSPs strategically use financing to provide a bundled solution, they begin to transform their portfolio where 50% - 80% of their customers are on renewable contracts.

As you can imagine, those Solution Providers’ sales funnels with their existing customers are more predictable, profitable and efficient.

What if your next sales conversation with your customer was more like an iPhone talk track?

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About The Author

Greg VanDeWalker, Senior Vice President, IT Channel and Services, is responsible for strategic vision and performance for the IT and Unified Communication financing business units as well as Collabrance LLC, the GreatAmerica master managed services provider. Prior to joining GreatAmerica in 2003, Greg was General Manager for the transportation division of US Bancorp in Denver, Colorado. He began his leasing career in 1991 with Business Credit Leasing (BCL) in sales and sales management. Prior to BCL, Greg was a tax accountant for Arthur Andersen & Company. Greg has served as Chair of the inaugural Managed Print Services Community of CompTIA, and on various advisory boards in the IT, Telephony and Office Equipment channels. Visit www.greatamerica.com for company information or contact Greg directly at GVanDeWalker@greatamerica.com.

  1. financing
  2. managed services
  3. monthly payment
  4. sales
  5. technology
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