8 essential tips to grow a technology services SMB in challenging times

Thanks to the global effects of the pandemic, growth numbers aren’t as strong as in years past. This year, the technology sector is projected to grow 4.2 percent, according to CompTIA’s IT Industry Outlook. Global spending was estimated to hit $4.8 trillion in 2020, down from a projected 5.2 trillion before the world stood still. As an MSP or managed technology business leader looking to grow in a challenging market, you need to be one step ahead of your competitors.

You don’t have to do this alone. Team Tigerpaw has compiled a list of the top processes and tools utilized by our most successful clients into eight essential tips to grow your technology services SMB, no matter what the economic climate:

1. Connect with your customers often

  • Customer service needs to be in your corporate DNA. If it doesn’t come from the top down, you are in a tough spot. It has to permeate your culture.
  • Take advantage of a variety of opportunities, such as quote expiration, invoice alerts, support requests, contracts expiring, and other events to reach out to your customers.
  • Don’t depend on your techs to write their messages regarding service order follow-up. Instead, create personalized, professional, consistent messages that can be used over and over. Automate the delivery using a workflow engine, like a professional services automation (PSA) software, and increase your productivity exponentially.

2. Establish and meet Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

  • SLAs establish expectations for you, the customer, and your technicians. SLAs also provide a framework for your support processes and offer benchmarks on which you can measure your effectiveness.
  • Keep in mind, however, that you have to live up to the obligations you set with your customers, so have a solid support offering in place before you begin publicly using service level agreements.

3. Accurately track time and get invoices out quickly

  • Capture all of your technician time — both billable and non-billable. Consider offering additional compensation to techs that exceed their weekly threshold of billable hours— and turn their success into your success! If you need help understanding how to calculate utilization rates for your service techs, check out this handy calculator we built just for you.
  • Enforce rounding and minimums. These small changes to time logs, made automatically by your software, can add up to thousands of dollars in additional revenue every year.
  • Send invoices daily using business automation software, which can shorten your billing cycle by up to 90% and get you paid faster.

4. Utilize web portals and mobile apps

  • Give your customers the tools they need so they can manage their account 24/7. Whether it is opening a service ticket, requesting a quote, or paying an invoice at midnight, make it possible.
  • Likewise, keep all of your employees in the loop whether they’re in the office or on the go. With an employee portal and mobile app, your team can instantly access account information, receive real-time alerts for new orders, and even process payments while in the field.

5. Manage sales opportunities with the same diligence as a service ticket

  • Keep sales opportunities current and accurate, schedule against them, and work them diligently from start to close.
  • Garbage in, garbage out. Instead of using a variety of spreadsheets, get to a place where you can look at a dashboard or run a quick report that offers you accurate numbers you can use to manage your sales pipeline and empower your sales team.

6. Use real-time dashboards to make decisions

  • Dashboards help you to visualize issues and opportunities, but data only gets you so far. As a CEO or company leader, you need to be able to act on that data.
  • Be sure that your dashboard tool gives you access to the metrics that matter to you plus the ability to sort, filter, and analyze the data. Even more important than filters is the ability to drill down into specifics. You need to be able to click through to the source of the data and make the course corrections you need to be successful.

7. Implement a recurring revenue model

  • Don’t start at zero every month. Implement a recurring revenue model and grow your business through predictable cash flow that allows for more detailed forecasting and better planning.
  • Provide predictable spending for your customers that lets them budget around your services, and, in turn, generates predictable cash flow for you. You can commit to good opportunities that cost money, knowing you have revenue coming in the door.

8. Leverage integrations and relationships

  • Incorporate key integrations that connect your software platforms in order to streamline processes.
  • Participate in peer groups and communities and learn to leverage the knowledge of others. Why reinvent the wheel when so many companies have experienced the same issues?
  • Get involved, hear what has made other companies successful and make those best practices your own — make them work for you.

The time to grow your business is NOW

At Tigerpaw, our business is helping people run and grow their businesses, no matter the economic climate. Tigerpaw’s end-to-end business management platform can help you implement all these tips for success.

By automating time-consuming processes, Tigerpaw empowers leadership to focus more time on developing strategies to grow and improve the business. Meanwhile, team members with more hands-on responsibilities are able to work more efficiently, effectively, and customer-service minded.

Watch how Tigerpaw can streamline your evolving technology services SMB.

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Whether you’re a long-time customer or partner, a newbie or a future Tiger, the Tigerpaw Blog is here to help you navigate the world of business automation. From how-to guides, best practices, software news, industry trends and more — find it right here on the Tigerpaw Blog.

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