Sitima Fowler Sits with ChannelPro Network to Dish on Recipes to Fuel Business Growth
Colleen Frye, managing editor for ChannelPro Network, recently sat down with Sitima Fowler, VP and Co-Founder of Iconic IT, an industry leading MSP serving multiple locations throughout the US, and asked Sitima to follow up on her recent ChannelPro feature story. In July, Sitima was featured on the cover of ChannelPro Magazine where she revealed three tips on how MSPs can fuel business growth.
Here are the three tips to fuel business growth that Sitima shared with Colleen Frye, and a lesson in cooking a tasty recipe for success.
1. The Importance of Marketing in Fueling Business Growth
Too often, MSPs place a high focus on technology, and not enough on marketing. In the Iconic IT journey, Sitima came to realize that nothing fuels new growth like new revenue. She began to focus efforts on two main opportunities to bring in fresh revenue.
Fuel Business Growth by Ensuring Current Clients are Satisfied
One of Sitima’s favorite quotes regarding customer satisfaction is, “No one knows how good you are until you show them.” The opportunity to market to existing clients is an important way to stream new revenue, but you can’t market to them until you have achieved client satisfaction.
The way Sitima keeps her client base loyal is by touching them in a variety of ways, such as:
- Amazing service (Iconic IT follows the DiJulius Customer Service model)
- Quarterly business reviews
- Reassessing the clients’ business needs often
Loyal clients will be far more open to new strategy roadmaps and new products and services. Don’t forget that satisfied customers will be far more likely to provide referrals and testimonials for your MSP.
Fuel Business Growth by Reaching Out to the Prospects
Sitima adds an important note about reaching prospects when she quotes, “No one knows how good you are until you tell them.” But how do you let your prospects know about your business and what sets your MSP apart from the rest?
1. Create Smaller, Highly Specific Lists
It’s time to segment and target your lists. Identify your ideal customer base, your target industry, and the best size range for your prospect list. You’ll find that your list will be a finite list that, while much smaller than a generic “big list,” will allow you to focus on one target audience and come up with creative ways to touch them.
2. Be Everywhere the Prospect Is
Webinars, email campaigns, and direct mailings are great ways to touch your prospects, but being omnipresent gives you the authority and name recognition you really need. Find out where your target audience “hangs out,” such as associations and publications, and make those areas a living part of your campaigns. You should be where the prospects are, always. Seeing where they “live” helps you identify pain points and create marketing messages that really resonate with the targeted audience.
3. Track Your Results
After you launch a campaign, it’s vitally important to track the results of your efforts. Don’t be ready to write off a campaign that yields no results. If you send a direct mailing but no one is responding, for instance, go back and re-check your message. Lessons learned will result in positive “tweaking” of your message for the future, and possibly resurrect a failing campaign strategy.
4. The Importance of a Personal Touch
It’s vitally important follow up with a phone call. Nothing beats a personal touch, especially in a world where decision makers are so busy. You don’t know what you don’t know; they may have been meaning to call you because they are unsatisfied with their current IT services, but have been far too busy putting out daily fires in their businesses to follow through. Your phone call could be the nudge you need to bring them across the finish line.
A Special Note about Standardization and Automation
There really is no such thing as a master of all trades. You can’t offer unlimited solutions, like multiple back-up products, and expect to be an expert in all of them. Choose a stack and make it universal for all your strategies. Standardization means your staff will become truly proficient in your solutions, and your prospects will be investing in the confidence of your teams in the products they sell.
While Iconic IT found out that sticking with standardization meant excluding some businesses with other solutions in mind, we more than made up for it by bringing on clients who were “the right fit” for our MSP. Standardization isn’t the only strategy to fuel business growth, but we found that using this business model helped us create a loyal, satisfied customer base.
2. Fuel Business Growth Through Acquisitions
Iconic IT was initially formed by merging four smaller, highly reputable MSPs under one name. The result is a wider geographical reach, including Texas, Colorado, Kansas, and New York. We are fueling our growth with more acquisitions, recently expanding our reach into Florida as well.
When looking to acquire new companies, we have a standard set of qualities we look for in the prospective MSP. The company must be healthy and doing well financially, of course, but we also need to make sure the oncoming MSP is a good fit with our company culture. This is a way of ensuring that the prospective MSP’s client base will come with them.
We also look for a great fit as far as the current customer-base itself, the plans offered by the MSP, and the pricing of products and services. Obviously, we will step in and help align the newly acquired MSP with our marketing strategies to attract new customers, but it’s important that the existing clients fit our own requirements.
We consider a chain of command, too. Is the owner going to stay, or is s/he planning to leave? If s/he leaves, who will run the company? For an MSP like Iconic IT it’s important to understand the future leadership of the newly acquired company, especially when your reach is expanded across multiple geographies.
3. The Recipe to Fuel Business Growth
In her spare time Sitima not only loves to cook, she teaches others to cook as well. Sitima specializes in Indian-style one-pot cooking and sees a correlation between her cooking and ways to fuel business growth.
“The key,” Sitima explains, “is that you take ordinary ingredients, like ordinary meats, spices, and vegetables, put them in a pot, and let them simmer for a long time. These ingredients are ordinary on their own, but when blended, they become something extraordinary. It’s magical.”
Sitima feels this is the perfect description of fueling business growth. No one part is extraordinary on its own; it’s only when you put all the ingredients together that you reach success.
About Sitima Fowler
Sitima Fowler holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and a master’s degree from RIT in Management and Leadership. Prior to her current position, Sitima was the co-CEO of Capstone IT, one of four MSPs that merged in 2019 to form Iconic IT. Her passion has been securing and improving small and medium organizations with proper technology solutions with an emphasis on customer service. She is a professional speaker on a wide variety of topics including cybersecurity, sales and marketing, and business strategies. The recipient of the Rochester, New York 2015 Small Businessperson of the Year and a finalist for the 2018 Athena Award, Sitima is the founder of the #GetCyberChic initiative, whose goal is to inform female business leaders about online safety.