According to the latest research from CompTIA, the U.S. IT channel is made up of 125,502 companies. To stand out from the masses, Internet & Telephone believes there are a few key decisions channel companies must make, beginning with selling managed services. “This decision puts a channel firm in a class of about 50,000 other companies,” says Pete Peterson, VP of sales at Internet & Telephone. “To further distinguish one’s business, you need to use a business automation tool [also known as a professional services automation or PSA tool], which includes CRM. Those who use these tools put themselves in the top 15,000 category of MSPs.”
To further distinguish itself from competitors, Peterson says that the next step is to become actively involved in an IT channel peer group. “Of the 15,000 MSPs mentioned earlier, there are only about 1,000 that spend money and are actively involved in a peer group,” he says. “It’s within the context of a peer group that an MSP learns how to make business decisions based on KPIs [key performance indicators].” A couple of the KPIs Internet & Telephone focuses on are the average response time per ticket and the number of tickets responded to per month per technician. “Obtaining this information, comparing it against our peers’ performance metrics, and making ourselves accountable to improving areas of weakness is where real business growth takes place,” says Peterson.
Internet & Telephone has been affiliated with a few peer groups over the years, including Service Leadership (i.e. Paul Dippell) and HTG Peer Groups. In more recent years, however, it’s worked more closely with the Taylor Business Group, an MSP user group based out of Saint Charles, IL. “One of the key differentiators with this group is that it does a better job of matching various people within our company to peers in similar roles,” says Peterson. “For example, our CEO is part of a business owner’s group, our CTO is in a group with MSP [managed services provider] owners and other CTOs, and our help desk manager is in a manager’s group and so on. We believe this practice helps our executives and management team more efficiently uncover and apply best practices to their positions at our company. It’s all about constant improvement.”
Check out two additional secrets to Internet & Telephone’s success by reading my full interview with Pete Peterson: 3 Pillars Of Managed Services Success, which is also available in the May issue of Business Solutions magazine.