For 21 years Damien Pepper’s IT services business didn’t grow.
Confessing that “hope” was his business strategy, Damien, the Founder of DSP Electronics, revealed that his “real hope each year” was that he would achieve the same level of revenues as the year before. He had no goals. He had no marketing. His monthly recurring revenue (MRR) was $0. To top things off, he had no real freedom to work on his business because he was the technician in the business 100% of the time.
Deciding he needed a change, Damien got honest with himself. “We had no ambition to grow,” Damien said. “I was comfortable… we didn’t have very lofty goals. The revenue we achieved each year was my security blanket.”
Within 12 months his business took a 180-degree turn. His top-line revenue grew by 30% two years in a row. His MRR increased to $10,141 per month and continues to climb. He made the business less dependent on himself. Damien also made significant inroads to better and more sustainable cash flow to fund his growth, allowing him to make decisions on staffing, assets, and resources before he becomes desperate.
Here’s how Damien did it:
Increase The Odds Of Achieving Your Goals
Damien joined the Technology Marketing Toolkit’s Producer’s Club to get help with implementation and accountability. He traveled all the way from Melbourne, Australia to Nashville, Tennessee to attend Producers Club meetings. It was during his first meeting that he was encouraged to set a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG), something he’d never done before in his life. After careful discussion with his peers, he declared his BHAG and leveraged that into accountability. “Before that moment, I had never thought past 12 months from now, let alone 10 years from now,” Damien said. “I finally put pen to paper and set forth on the path of growing my small little MSP into a $10 million business within the next 10 years. This alone was an incredible step forward for my business… I wasn’t sure HOW I was going to get there, but I was willing to put on paper that this is where I’m headed.”
The MRR Key to Success
After purchasing the Technology Marketing Toolkit, Damien realized that MRR was the most critical metric for him. This allowed him to create predictable income and a plan for growth. “I quickly learned about MRR and how it could make hitting my number even easier every year,” Damien said. “I set about to convert existing customers where we were patching servers for an hourly rate to a full managed service for monthly recurring revenue. On top of that, I began to close a handful of real MRR customers that we had taken from lead to close. I quickly found out that MRR was the key to my success – it’s the revenue that keeps giving.”
Stop being the Technician
To achieve his new business goals, Damien realized his role in the business had to change. “To double our business in a single year, we had to make significant changes to our structure,” Damien explained. “This was not going to happen if I didn’t quickly remove myself from focusing on tech work 100% of the time. I immediately set about to hire a level 3 technician, which allowed my focus to shift to sales, marketing and working “on” the business instead of “in” the business. This one shift alone allowed me to attend two Producers Club meetings in person during the last 12 months – taking considerable days of travel to attend these events, as I’m flying to Nashville all the way from Australia. However, it is these meetings that continue to develop the skills and resources that we need to continue the growth of the business.”
Develop a Consistent Marketing Plan
Previously Damien’s marketing was sporadic with no marketing plan. Now he takes a consistent approach to marketing with a fully documented annual marketing plan that includes a minimum of two new client-generating campaigns per quarter and several monthly touch points. He revamped his website and has tested a variety of campaigns, including a sales letter campaign that generated $71,723. Damien sends emails, print newsletters, e-mail newsletters, monthly articles, LinkedIn articles, blog posts, Christmas gifts and cards, and on-line Shock-and-Awe, to name a few. “We are now frequently outputting content to our leads and customers,” Damien said. “I have found that recognizing our customers with appreciation gifts has been extremely successful, and it has now become the normal routine.”
Referral and Upsell Campaigns Fill the Pipeline FAST
Because Damien was starting from a standstill, when he began marketing, he concentrated his efforts on the customers most likely to purchase from him. “Robin [Robins] was 100% right that our referral and upsell campaigns achieve better and quicker results for us than our direct response marketing efforts,” Damien said. “These are people that know, like and trust us already!” Damien also focused on driving more leads into the business which resulted in more appointments and more customers. This approach took him from a nearly empty sales pipeline to having 26 leads he’s working with at different stages in the sales process. “It’s amazing what the focus of my time and energy toward sales and marketing has done for our business,” Damien said.
Here are a few examples of campaigns that have been extremely successful for Damien:
A Simple Upsell Campaign That Generated $23,073 in New Business
Based on Robin Robin’s advice, Damien’s first campaign was an upsell campaign to existing clients. He sent 24 emails resulting in 12 sales. To further increase his margins, he purchased 12 firewalls all at once from his vendor to get better pricing. In some cases, this doubled the gross profit. “We identified a matrix of possible upsell product opportunities that some or all of our customers did not currently utilize,” Damien said. “These ranged from the latest endpoint protection to Office 365. Based on this analysis, we focused on selling firewalls to all customers who either did not have one or had a significantly outdated device. We sent an e-mail to these customers and then called to follow up on anyone who hadn’t responded via e-mail. In the first run of this campaign, we generated $13,014, and in a second run of the same campaign, we generated $10,059.”
Thousands in New MRR From Sending One Email to Best Clients
Using the referral request campaign from Technology Marketing Toolkit, Damien successfully closed several new MMR clients. Sending an email to his best clients, he netted $4,254 of new MRR and additional project work. (Further proposals were expected to close.)
“I started out by identifying a group of specific customers who I felt had the ability to refer potential target profile customers,” Damien explained. “One by one, I crafted the simple request e-mail and sent it out to each of them. In most instances, the people who referred us called me to advise of the referral and brief me on the specifics of their lead. Based on this information, I would either follow up via a phone call or in one instance the referral called me before we had even had an opportunity to call them.” Damien also provided an appropriate gift to the referral partner irrespective of whether or not the referral purchased.
Review Process Creates over $100K in 6 Months
Within six months of implementing a review strategy, Damien had already secured an additional $124,953 in revenue. This has also allowed him to line up projected revenue (both projects and MRR) well into three years out. “At Robin’s suggestion, we started to formalize the regular review process with existing customers,” Damien said. “In some instances, this includes a complete technology review outlining a one- to three-year plan to upgrade hardware, leverage off cloud infrastructure and provide mobility into their businesses. We have completed this review using the tools provided by Network Detective and resources from the Dashboard to build up a comprehensive report that is presented in a face-to-face presentation with our clients. To engage the customer in the review, we send an e-mail outlining the need/want to hold a review meeting. Within this review request e-mail, there is a link to my calendar for them to select their own appropriate time. Once an annual review is completed, we deliver a gift in the form of a chocolate bouquet in celebration of working with us over the last 12 months.”
Damien revealed that after being stagnant in his business for nearly 21 years, this new significant growth has given him an entirely new outlook. It has provided him with certainty and allows him to be away from the office to attend Producer’s Club meetings, volunteer in the local community, and mentor students. He’s able to make better decisions, bring in new clients and more revenue consistently. “I now firmly believe we are on a path to being able to deliver on this [my BHAG] over time,” Damien said. “We will continue to learn from the Robin Robins program and further develop our marketing approach, ensuring it is consistent and targeted.”
With the new decade starting, it’s the perfect time to set your ten-year goal, get into an accountability group and follow Damien Pepper’s example. When you do, you too will create your own strategic transformation and experience more new clients and more revenue predictably and consistently.