Managed Services: Training for Your Team vs. Training for Your Clients

Posted by Mark Rickner  /  November 2, 2016  /  MSP   —   3 Comments ↓

photo of computer trainingAs a Managed Services Provider you know the importance of keeping your team up-to-date on the latest technology. Your customers expect you to be their CIO, IT Director and in many cases their Help Desk for any and all issues (formally covered or not).

The knowledge your account managers, engineers and support desk staff bring to your clients is the reason they trust you with the management of their critical IT infrastructure and applications. If ongoing managed services training is not currently part of your strategy, then it should be.

The cool thing is that you can now simultaneously provide software training for your own office staff and resell a training package to your clients for a profit. Two birds, one stone.

The good old days 

For many years providing Managed Services was a pretty straightforward business model. Complete an assessment of the client’s current environment and create a set of recommendations for immediate resolution. Upgrade out-of-date technology and applications, come up with a model for pricing the services (maybe by workstations or number of servers) and settle into a three- to five-year upgrade cycle with scheduled maintenance.

You might do a server upgrade occasionally, or upgrade to the newest anti-virus or backup software, but for the most part, things were fairly stable until the next big refresh.

With the advent of cloud-based infrastructure, Software as a Service (SaaS), and mobile computing, this older model of Managed Services is as relevant as a 3.5" floppy drive. 

Your clients are hearing about new ways to deal with their business technology: Office 365, OneDrive online storage, Group collaboration, hosted Exchange and email, SharePoint, Skype for Business and all the different variations of cloud-based application solutions. 

It they are not hearing it from your team that might be a problem. 

Take a look around your own office

Is your staff still running Office 2010 and connecting to an Exchange 2008 Server in your "Computer Room"? Do you still swap out backup tapes and hopefully remember to take one off-site for disaster recovery? Does your staff think remote access and computing means opening a VPN session to get to their files on the Server? 

Do you as a company and your team members individually lead by example? 

The old phrase is "the cobbler's children have no shoes."  For many, the modern version could be "the IT company's staff have the oldest technology."
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If you do not see the need for staying current and taking advantage of the newest applications and technology, why should your clients? 

For most organizations inertia is a very strong force. How things have always been done becomes the norm, and productivity suffers. 

One of the biggest reasons for this stagnation is a lack of training. 

Without proper training your team will not be in a position to recommend, implement or support the best solutions for your clients. 

If your team is not collaborating on proposals, sharing documents online, or accessing their critical applications and data from the cloud why should your clients? 

You know where to go to get vendor training for your consulting team, and IT Technical training for your core engineers.   

Do you have a resource that your staff, and your clients, can turn to for productivity training on Office 365, Office 2016, SharePoint, Skype for Business, OneDrive or Adobe DC Pro? 

It is these end user productivity applications that your clients use every day that your staff, and your clients, need to better understand to be more productive and to create a business reason for upgrading. 

Can your staff state a clear business reason to move to Office 365, hosted Exchange, SharePoint, or Skype for Business?  

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Drive upgrades & reduce support calls 

Make access to managed services training available for your staff and your clients if you want to drive upgrades and reduce support calls.

Left to their own, your team members, and your clients, will continue to do things the way they always have and will see little reason to move quickly on your recommendations for change. 

Access to training that promotes an awareness of what is new, what is exciting, and builds a business reason for change will create an environment where your clients will be requesting to upgrade, as opposed to being told that they should. 

Training should be short, focused and accessible and not require staff or clients to sit through a day of lectures and labs. Attention spans have changed, how your training is offered has to change to meet this new reality. 

Monthly online webinars are a great way to promote learning and awareness of new applications and technologies.   

Access to more in-depth self-directed online training, within a secure learning site, is also a great way to offer training for your staff and clients. 

Today people want to learn at their own pace, on their own schedule, not when the next "class" is being offered. 

At KnowledgeWave we offer six 30-minute webinars every month focused on hot topics related to new product features, tricks & tips, and how to leverage your current MS Office and Adobe applications to improve productivity.   

Our online KnowledgeWave Learning Site provides thousands of training videos and documents that will allow your staff, and your clients, to learn what they want, when they want within a secure learning environment. 

Our webinars and online training are available through MSP Reseller agreements to allow you to offer professional training to your staff and clients while at the same time building an ongoing recurring revenue stream. 

As a Managed Services Provider your clients look to you as a trusted partner and advisor. Give your staff, and your clients, the training they require to understand the business reasons behind your recommendations. 

If you do you will find your upgrade recommendations will be better received, your staff will be better informed, and your help-desk and support call volumes will be reduced.

It also doesn’t hurt that if you partner with KnowledgeWave, providing this benefit to your staff and clients will also benefit your own bottom line.

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Topics: MSP