Consulting – ExchangeDefender Blog

July 17, 2013

The Price Is Right–Maybe

Filed under: Consulting — vlad @ 10:22 am

priceisrightBefore joining ExchangeDefender and Shockey Monkey full time in September 2012, I was a business owner of two I.T. VAR/MSP businesses spanning over a decade. That said, I am fully empathetic of the decisions that have to be made by all who hold that position. Being one of two Partner Communication Managers working for OwnWebNow Corp. (Anastasia Wiggins being my colleague), I speak with our partners on a daily basis. Inevitably, one of the subjects that come up doing a partner conversation is how much they are charging for services rendered–whether we are discussing our services or labor costs in general. Ultimately the conversation starts by the partner asking me what the going rate is for other partners reselling our services. My answer is always the same: It depends…

The reason for such a vague answer is because the answer primarily involves taking into account two major considerations:

1. The location the service is being rendered, i.e. city/State, and/or region; and

2. The time/complexity it takes to render said service, e.g. setup time, monitoring time, complexity of the technology, etc.

Let’s delve further into these two considerations and come to a more defined answer for your particular business.

The Location of Render Services.

As Partner Communication Manager, one of my jobs responsibilities is to attend I.T. events that ExchangeDefender and Shockey Monkey sponsor. These events are held all over North America. The summer months have definitely tested my love of travel. However, by visiting these different cities and regions of the United States; I have come to understand that Midtown New York can charge $3.50 for a 20 ounce Coke Zero that costs me $1.50 in Schaumburg, IL. The same is true with virtually every product or service between the two aforementioned locations. Similar to the real estate market, the location (location, location) will greatly dictate your pricing. Densely, fast moving cities tend to price higher than more rural, spread out towns. The reasoning is maddening to understand because most times it simply boils down to the fact that people are willing to pay more for services rendered in cities that never sleep. Even stranger, this can be totally independent concerning the amount of competition available to the customer. By that, I mean even if there are numerous competitors in the area, people will still pay an inflated price in bigger cities. This is due to something called involuntary competitive pricing. This is where a price for a particular service was set by a business and the competition set their pricing +/- 10% to show an added value or discounted price while maintaining close proximity to similar business offering like services.

The Time/Complexity to Render Services.

The old adage still applies: Time is money. And when the complexity of the service rendered increases, ultimately the time it takes to implement and/or monitor said service increases as well. As a result, you could be looking at a nice pay day. However, the inverse is also true. If your service can be seen as less a specialty and more a commodity, you may have to supplement your income to make ends meet. How can your services be seen as commodities? Increased competition, for one. The lack of complexity is another. If end-users are willing to take on the additional pain of implementation and monitoring services to reduce their operating budget, there isn’t much you can do to win that business except provide additional value added services they may not get by taking on the responsibility themselves. Be careful of this, however. If you give away too much, you will end up working twice as hard for less money. Never, ever, ever work for free. Assuming you are a for profit business, never forget that one of the primary reasons you started a business was to make a profit!

The Sales Pitch (You can skip this part if we ever spoke on the phone about ExchangeDefender services.)

ExchangeDefender is a partner-driven company–meaning without our partners, we might as well close shop and sell empanadas. We price our services to you with the idea that you can make as little or as much as these two considerations allow. I have seen markets where partner can make as much as a 33% profit margin on our products and services. Other partners literally give our products away as value added services in order to balance out their labor costs. The latter is normally performed to illustrate good form in giving something to the customer at no charge to you. In other words, they simply pass on the cost of the product to the customer or carry the cost themselves in order to sign an annuity contract. Point being, if you need assistance in reselling any of our products, pick up the phone and give me a call. You have 99 problems as a business owner, but making money off our services shouldn’t be one of them.

Michael D. Alligood,

Partner Communications Manager

ExchangeDefender | Shockey Monkey

877-546-0316 x707

michael@ownwebnow.com


July 16, 2013

How do I get more referrals?

Filed under: Consulting — vlad @ 9:19 am

referralsYou’ve all seen the commercials; it starts something like, “refer a friend and get $50 off your next bill” or something of that nature. In traditional consumer-based businesses, this type of targeted marketing may have its place, but in SMB and B2B businesses it just comes off as desperate. Of course, this is not to say that it may not have worked for your IT business, but hoping to bribe a customer to give up a referral is not good practice.

 

Another common but bad business practice is asking for referrals upon closing a sale. Whether a salesman hands you a paper and asks you to write down some friends who might also be interested in their product, or one that simply asks for a referral at the signing, this practice is not only useless, but makes for a bad first impression. The problem is that the salesperson, and more so the company has not yet proven their service, so asking for a referral at this point in the game is bad practice.

There are a few ways of getting referrals without the used car approach:

1. Refer Business to Your Customers – Referrals are a two-way street, start by sending business to your customers. Set up meetings and soft introductions to introduce people to your loyal customers. Not only is this a good business practice, but also your customers will reciprocate.

2. Ask When Receiving Good Survey Results – Surveys are a great way to gauge how you are performing for your customers. When receiving good reviews simply ask customers if they know anyone that might also be interested in getting excellent service as well.

3. Face-to-Face QBR’s – A good time to ask for referrals are at face-to-face QBR’s, or quarterly business reviews. Make it a part of your QBR to ask for referrals at the end of every QBR. It may seem like much to do it every time, but getting a hot referral can be all about timing.

The majority of MSP’s would tell you they get the majority of their business from referrals. This makes practicing good referral gathering techniques an important aspect of your business. Be sure to only ask for referrals once you have established a relationship with a customer, and create a documented process for your salespeople to follow.


October 29, 2012

Setting Up Your ExchangeDefender Admin Portal

Filed under: Consulting,ExchangeDefender,General — Anastasia @ 8:03 am

Recently I have been receiving calls from new and existing partners in regards to the process of setting up their ExchangeDefender Admin portals, specifically ExchangeDefender Essentials. It has been a long time since most of you have had to create your Service Provider portal, but with the addition of ExchangeDefender Essentials there has been an influx in the creation of Service Provider portals. So consider this a refresher course!

AdminAs many of you know, ExchangeDefender is a very robust product; therefore we provide an entirely separate portal to manage anything ExchangeDefender related. When you sign up to become a partner with ExchangeDefender you are immediately sent credentials to our support portal. The support portal is where you order all of your services, including the initiation of your Service Provider portal.

There are two separate admin portals for ExchangeDefender, one for the full version and one for the Essentials version. If you have not already created each portal, I encourage you to go ahead and create the remaining one or both; the process is simple and takes just a few minutes.

To create the Essentials portal

· Login to your Support Portal

· Click on the Service Manager Tab

· At the very bottom of the page there is an option for ExchangeDefender Essentials, click subscribe.

· Then click the plus sign.

· Next, the Second page of the order form will ask you for a MSP ID; this will be your username, so we suggest using your company name. You will also be asked for a product name, you may choose anything you’d like, some examples include ownwebnow filtering service, ownwebnow email security service, and ownwebnow cloud security solution.

· The next screen will finalize your order and the credentials for https://admin.exchangedefender.com will be sent to you.

· If you haven’t already created a portal for the full version of ExchangeDefender, go back to the support portal, click on the service manager, and on the right hand side there is a box with a list of services, click on New ExchangeDefender SP. You will be asked for the same information, but your MSP IP will have to be a variation of your previous MSP ID. So if you used your company name, you will need to add something additional to it, if you are incorporated I suggest using ownwebnowinc, or ownwebnowcorp, whatever works best for you.

If you have not created your admin portals and you’re looking to sign up for Hosted Exchange, there is no need to create an admin portal, the portal will automatically provision for you once you have ordered your Hosted Exchange accounts.

I hope this clears up any ambiguity, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly at: Anastasia@ownwebnow.com or by phone , 877-546-0316 x739.

Anastasia Wiggins
Partner Communications Manager, ExchangeDefender
(877) 546-0316 x739
Anastasia@ownwebnow.com


March 1, 2012

ExchangeDefender–Making IT Simple

Filed under: Consulting — vlad @ 10:53 am

This is my last week with ExchangeDefender. I’m very sad to be leaving, but excited to move on to new opportunities. As I reflect on my experience working with our partners to resell ExchangeDefender solutions, one singular idea prevails, and is worthy of this final installment in my weekly business development blog:

ExchangeDefender solutions are all about making it simple for you and your clients to succeed.

Hosted email can be very simple – pay one flat price per month per mailbox for a set of great services that meets all the client’s needs. Yet some providers choose to make it very complicated – just determining what the per-mailbox cost will be can seem like solving an algebra problem. Hidden add-ons and fees abound, and add up very quickly to costs much higher than anticipated. When anything changes, like storage needs or mailboxes or additional services, account changes can be complicated, may affect the price dramatically (which wreaks havoc on your profitability), and can be difficult to manage.

At ExchangeDefender, our Hosted Exchange 2010 + SharePoint 2010 service makes it very simple. For one flat, all-inclusive rate per mailbox per month, you can offer your clients a hosted messaging solution that is flexible enough for their varying needs today and tomorrow, and robust enough to enable you to turn a profit on every mailbox every month.

“Under promise and over deliver”

Let’s say your client, like so many small businesses, indicates in the sales conversations that they “just need a basic email solution” that will work and keep them safe and secure. Well what if you could offer that to them, at a great price, with all the features that they could ever want to “add on” later built right in and ready to go when that time comes?

ExchangeDefender Hosted Exchange 2010 + SharePoint 2010 solution comes with full ExchangeDefender protection, an Outlook desktop license, Live Archive service, web filtering, web file sharing, and even more great features built right in. If your clients don’t need or want any of them, you can simply disable them. You can deliver that fully-customized functionality with just the click of a button in your management portal. There’s no migration, no additional provisioning or payments, no updates. It’s just that simple, for you and your clients.

We offer ExchangeDefender Hosted Exchange 2010 + SharePoint 2010 to our partners for $10 per mailbox per month, with additional discounts available based on volume. You get to mark this up and charge your client at your discretion. We typically see the service being resold for $15-20 per mailbox per month, providing a nice healthy margin to the MSP partner. And the price includes everything, with no fine print or hidden catches. $15 a month for a full-scale, customizable Microsoft Exchange email service sounds very appealing.

It’s easy to manage, so you’ll spend a little less time managing each client’s changing email and messaging needs, which adds up to big impact on the bottom line. Remember that when the fee is fixed, the goal is to minimize your internal costs for managing and delivering each service to each account, to be most profitable.

lc (2)Do you find this information useful?

If you’d like a lot more in-depth discussion about the cloud and how it affects you and your clients, visit Looks Cloudy http://www.lookscloudy.com where I blog daily about the adoption of the cloud in SMB, conduct live webcasts and podcasts with industry leaders and more.

Kate Hunt
VP Community Development, ExchangeDefender
kate@ownwebnow.com
(877) 546-0316 x777


February 23, 2012

ExchangeDefender Essentials: The Key Points

Filed under: Consulting,Promotions,Webcast — vlad @ 4:02 pm

We launched the product a couple of weeks ago, and our CEO, Vlad Mazek, conducted a webcast last week describing the product and structure in great detail. We were thrilled to see so many great partners turn out for the live webcast, but realize that many many more just weren’t available last Thursday afternoon.

ExchangeDefender Essentials is a budget-friendly security solution that covers the basic needs of many small businesses.

The nine highlights are as follows:

Essentials 

So here’s a brief recap of how ExchangeDefender Essentials works:

ExchangeDefender Essentials is just fifty cents per user per month, the most competitive price on the market! A one year commitment is required unless you are “grandfathering” in existing accounts from the 1.0 Essentials version. We can handle support & billing, and we promise no catches or gotchas on support. Essentials can not be resold, rebranded or bought directly.

The new version and price will be available March 1st and existing clients will have the price reduction applied on their March 1st invoice.

The best part of all, though, is that every ExchangeDefender Essentials account includes an amazing “kicker:”

ExchangeDefender Essentials Emergency (E^3) absolutely FREE!

ExchangeDefender Essentials Emergency is a scaled down version of our popular Live Archive product, which we ended up adding into the 2.0 release because we just weren’t comfortable putting our name on a security solution that didn’t include the most critical business continuity functionality.

ExchangeDefender Essentials Emergency is exactly that. It includes five (5) days of inbound mail with compose, reply, and forward functionality. No maintenance is required, ExchangeDefender Essentials Emergency is always on and always enabled. Plus, the initial rollout is even automated. It’s always there and waiting, in case of any challenge or emergency your clients may face. And best of all, it’s free. For every user.

Do you find this information useful?

lcIf you’d like a lot more in-depth discussion about the cloud and how it affects you and your clients, visit Looks Cloudy http://www.lookscloudy.com where I blog daily about the adoption of the cloud in SMB, conduct live webcasts and podcasts with industry leaders, and more.

Kate Hunt
VP Community Development, ExchangeDefender
kate@ownwebnow.com
(877) 546-0316 x777


February 9, 2012

Three Reasons Why the ExchangeDefender Launch Webcast is Going to Be Awesome!

Filed under: Consulting,Marketing — vlad @ 4:39 pm

Untitled-21.) How much time do you and your team spend each month administering your client relationships that can’t be billed back to them? That is a number good business owners are constantly working to drive down. You’ll find out how we have eliminated the most difficult part of managing ExchangeDefender products and services.

2.) Whatever the specific size and scope of your clients’ needs, the ExchangeDefender suite including Essentials can help you deliver just the services that your clients really need at an unbeatable price. You’ll find out how you can make a bigger margin while delivering “right-sized” solutions.

3.) Understand how delivering built-in free business continuity can permanently change your client relationships for the better. What if you could add this value to every client engagement without increasing your costs?

Join us for the ExchangeDefender Essentials launch webcast on Thursday, February 16th at Noon EST.

Register here: http://www.exchangedefender.com/blog/2012/02/essentials-launch/

 

Do you find this information useful?

lc (2)If you’d like a lot more in-depth discussion about the cloud and how it affects you and your clients, visit Looks Cloudy http://www.lookscloudy.com where I blog daily about the adoption of the cloud in SMB, conduct live webcasts and podcasts with industry leaders, and much more.

Kate Hunt
VP Community Development, ExchangeDefender
kate@ownwebnow.com
(877) 546-0316 x777


February 3, 2012

How Buzzwords and Jargon Get in the Way of Selling Compliance Archive

Filed under: Consulting,ExchangeDefender — vlad @ 1:48 pm

ExchangeDefender Compliance Archive is a secure, long term storage, recovery and eDiscovery system that ensures compliance with regulatory requirements established by IRS, HIPAA, SOX and SEC. ExchangeDefender Compliance Archive functionality is provided free – we only charge for the cost of storage. ExchangeDefender Compliance Archive uses the latest Microsoft Windows Server and Microsoft SQL Server technology to archive, index and replicate messages safely and securely. All data is further encrypted and backed up offsite to ensure ultimate resiliency in case of a disaster.

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Makes perfect sense, right? The problem is, when you say something like this to many small business owners, it makes them feel very uncomfortable, even if meeting a compliance requirement is really important to them. And as we all should know, uncomfortable clients tend to keep their wallets closed.

The key to selling Compliance Archive to the small business is very simple: lose the buzzwords and jargon. Think about it this way: those small business owners are experts at some line of business that is NOT technology, and are choosing both to trust in and to pay for someone else’s knowledge and expertise in their chosen line of business, which IS technology.

Certainly, small business clients usually need some education, particularly during the sales process. That’s a part of your job as the technology expert, too. Rather than deliver your message in jargon and acronym-laden tech and compliance speak, though, the better way to win is to highlight the benefits of compliance email archiving beyond just actual compliance itself. It’s as if we are losing something by leaving our clients to “translate” for themselves, and it makes it harder to sell compliance archiving services.

It turns out that may be exactly what it is. We’ve learned from our partners that small business clients rarely care about all the regulatory compliance acronyms and regulation language or details – they just want the peace of mind of knowing they meet the requirements. Business decision makers also don’t like the idea of paying for “regulatory compliance,” but they love the idea of being able to find any email they sent or received over the past 10 years without having to buy extra servers, more software or deal with cumbersome MS Outlook. Even better, most everyone understands and is comfortable with a flat per-user storage fee (just $3.99 per month) that isn’t dependent on any measured unit of storage.

When you address the real problems and speak in a language of true benefits that people want, you’ll find there are far fewer objections over price and questions about features they don’t understand, and that deals close more quickly and more smoothly.

Do you find this information useful?

lcIf you’d like a lot more in-depth discussion about the cloud and how it affects you and your clients, visit Looks Cloudy http://www.lookscloudy.com where I blog daily about the adoption of the cloud in SMB, conduct live webcasts and podcasts with industry leaders, and more.

Kate Hunt
VP Community Development, ExchangeDefender
kate@ownwebnow.com
(877) 546-0316 x777


January 12, 2012

Business Continuity and ExchangeDefender

Filed under: Consulting,ExchangeDefender — vlad @ 9:53 am

It’s winter! And winter is a GREAT time to talk about business continuity with your clients. For most of us, in the continental US at least, the winter months bring the highest likelihood of weather-related business disruptions. Where I live, we spend about a quarter of the year under the constant threat of snow storms that will cripple transportation and make it impossible for anyone to travel anywhere safely.

Business continuity is the ability of an organization to continue to function after some kind of event that could hinder its operation. These events need not be those highly unlikely natural disasters, or terrorist attacks, or national emergencies. Events that affect business’ ability to operate can be seen every day—snow storms, simple hardware failure, network security breach, power outage…the things that can get in the way of a business that depends on IT are many and one needn’t far to find them.

Business continuity is all about planning how to keep the business up and running in the face of any of those things that can try to slow or halt operations.

Frankly, business continuity planning can be an intense and complex process, but it’s worth undertaking because there’s no way to short cut the kind of risk assessments and SWOT analysis that you’ll need to make the appropriate decisions for protecting the business. It can also be relatively simple in many cases, particularly for smaller businesses. There’s not enough space in this blog for a full discussion of the business continuity planning process with clients, though it’s important to note that we have a wealth of resources available to our partners that deliver in-depth explanations and step by step instructions, available at www.exchangedefender.com/XDUniversity.php .

In a world where so much communication happens digitally, and our dependence continues to grow, delivering continual access to messaging can be one of the most important elements of business continuity planning. A particularly powerful and unique tool that accomplishes this within the Hosted Exchange 2010 + SharePoint 2010 solution from ExchangeDefender is LiveArchive.

Using ExchangeDefender’s  secure standby servers, up to a year’s worth of inbound and outbound email is available and actionable through Outlook Web Access at all times. Neither you nor your client has to actively manage this service in any way – the LiveArchive service is always on to ensure that no matter what, whether the power goes out in the office or the office team gets snowed in or anything else, users will always be able to access critical email and stay productive.

Do you find this information useful?

If you’d like a lot more in-depth discussion about the cloud and how it affects you and your clients, visit Looks Cloudy http://www.lookscloudy.com where I blog daily about the adoption of the cloud in SMB, conduct live webcasts and podcasts with industry leaders, and more.

Kate Hunt
VP Community Development, ExchangeDefender
kate@ownwebnow.com
(877) 546-0316 x777


January 5, 2012

How to Position Hosted Exchange 2010 + SharePoint 2010 So That Anyone Will Want to Buy it

Filed under: Consulting,Hosted Services — vlad @ 4:48 pm

You may be saying “Wait, this sounds impossible” or “It is too good to be true.” That would be because it really is.

It is not possible to honestly position any one email product so that absolutely everyone will see real value in it – there are just too many varying sets of needs and requirements out there. But you can quickly and easily get a few pieces of information that you can use to show your clients how they can take advantage of the wealth of value within Hosted Exchange 2010 + SharePoint 2010 from ExchangeDefender.

Your first task when you begin the sales conversation with any new client or prospect is to find out what Hosted Exchange 2010 + SharePoint 2010 can do for them. How do you do that? By focusing NOT on the hosted exchange product or service, but rather on the client himself (or herself) and asking them the right questions, the right way.

In this questioning process you will find out what email service they are currently using, what issues they have with that service at that time, and how those issues are affecting them. The implications, or how their issues with their email service affect them, are the real meat that you are looking for.

What can Hosted Exchange 2010 + SharePoint 2010 from ExchangeDefender do for them? Chances are good that once you understand the issues and how they are affecting the client’s business, you can very easily illustrate how Hosted Exchange 2010 + SharePoint 2010 will alleviate those affects by eliminating the issues.

For example, if you hear from a small business client running someone else’s web-based email that the limited support is extending downtime and costing the client business, then you know that a brief mention of the quick and effective 24×7 support available through ExchangeDefender might be highly enlightening to them, and may serve to enhance your value proposition significantly.

Remember, positioning any product is all about building value proposition and painting a picture. Our CEO, Vlad Mazek, calls it “Selling the Dream” – help the client see exactly how much better their lives and business will be with Hosted Exchange 2010 + SharePoint 2010 from ExchangeDefender and closing the sale becomes the natural, easy result of the conversation.

Do you find this information useful?

If you would like a lot more in-depth discussion about the cloud and how it affects you and your clients, visit Looks Cloudy http://www.lookscloudy.com where I blog daily about the adoption of the cloud in SMB, conduct live webcasts and podcasts with industry leaders, and more.

Kate Hunt
VP Community Development, ExchangeDefender
kate@ownwebnow.com
(877) 546-0316 x777


December 20, 2011

Exchange 2010 Essentials from ExchangeDefender: Costs & Benefits

Filed under: Consulting — vlad @ 12:45 pm

health_it_costs___benefits_database_5Purchase decisions are all about a cost/benefit comparison, and always will be. What clients seek when making cost/benefit comparisons is very simple: good enough. Most want neither the bottom of the barrel, nor the top of the line, but a solution somewhere in the middle that addresses their core needs at a reasonable price. As your client’s VAR or MSP Trusted Technology Advisors, you get to give that “Goldilocks advice”—what’s too little, what’s too much, and what’s just right.

Often email and messaging are among the most important services to a business, tools they depend on every day. Just the same, in many cases these business clients of ours are willing to trade off a few features or accept a lower service level for the benefit of a lower price, but only to a point. The question becomes: how important is email to the client’s business? How much downtime can they afford? An hour? A day? Can that client justify the cost of guaranteeing that their email will always be available?

Some SMB clients don’t want or need a full-featured messaging and collaboration solution and want to minimize their costs of maintaining basic functionality. While Google Apps for Business offers an attractive price point with “pared down” messaging features, its unfamiliar interface may turn off folks who are comfortable with the Microsoft user experience. Exchange 2010 Essentials delivers the best of both worlds – minimal complexity using Outlook Web Access protected by ExchangeDefender Essentials along with the ever-popular Public Folders and Distribution Groups at a competitive price point, just $6 per month per mailbox. Clients can even integrate with their existing copies of Outlook to get that fat client experience they know and love.

Help to protect your valuable client relationships by offering them the right ExchangeDefender solution to meet their real needs.

Do you find this information useful?

lcIf you’d like a lot more in-depth discussion about the cloud and how it affects you and your clients, visit Looks Cloudy http://www.lookscloudy.com where I blog daily about the adoption of the cloud in SMB, conduct live webcasts and podcasts with industry leaders, and more.

Kate Hunt
VP Community Development, ExchangeDefender
kate@ownwebnow.com
(877) 546-0316 x777


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