As you grow you may need consider scaling teams, and my guest Cindy Perks is here to talk about that. She’s the COO of GMS, an outsourced help desk and NOC for MSPs. Cindy has helped scale the GMS team of technicians from 30 to 130 in the last five years. And she has some recruiting, training, and motivational techniques to share about how she did that.
That’s later in the show but first we turn to What’s Going On, where we take a look at recent news and events through an MSP lens. This week, we’ve got some special guest hosts, namely Gary Pica and Bob Penland of TruMethods. Gary Pica, of course, is the founder and CEO of TruMethods, which is an MSP coaching and consulting firm. And Bob Penland is the TruMethods CTO.
What’s Going On
[02:14] MSPs and vendors have been scrambling to deal with security.
[02:35] ConnectWise recently invested in Perch Security. Other big companies have also acquired security companies.
[04:20] MSPs keep buying more tools and their monthly costs are going up as result. They need a framework to evaluate these tools.
[04:47] When you add new cost, you need to raise prices to cover those costs and make sure you maintain a profit.
[05:23] The question to ask is, Does this tool or feature set provide enough value to cover the increased cost?
[05:35] If it’s valuable to some customers but not all, you can set sell it outside your core customer offering.
[05:55] As MSPs, we need to decide what’s the minimum level of security we need to offer our customers and what tool set will provide that.
[06:40] SolarWinds just announced their IPO. They are one of the five companies dominating the MSP channel: Datto, ConnectWise, Continuum, Kaseya, and SolarWinds.
[07:04] Every one of these big software companies is building their own stack. They have an RMM, a PSA, and some form of security stack.
[07:29] We don’t know if more choice is going to be good or bad for the MSP market.
[08:23] We are seeing software solutions that are solving the MSP’s customer’s problem.
[09:11] We need to make decisions today based on what the future value of MSPs will be when all of these new software solutions are available.
[09:37] Focus on building customer relationships. Even with access to a wide variety of tools, your customers will still need high-value relationships and consulting.
Interview with Cindy Perks: Scaling Your Technical Team
[12:54] Cindy is the COO at GMS, which is an outsourced help desk.
[13:17] They were operationally secure before they became MSPs and they never deviated from their standard hiring practice.
[14:03] They’re hiring protocol was well-established, secure and scalable allowing them to meet the growth they experienced.
[14:16] In terms of basic skills, they have a high bar to entry. They want experience and certifications. They provide a technology test right away.
[14:55] They profile for specific roles, which when they first started was unique in the industry.
[15:58] The Kolbe profile is rooted in brain science, and it profiles how you innately go about completing tasks.
[16:38] Cindy knew how important it was to match the profile of the learner with the profile of the instructor.
[16:57] They wanted people who would go the extra mile and shock the user with how far they would take the journey.
[17:58] The initial training process immerses the new hiree into the GMS tools. Then they have a 90-day training, job shadowing, and coaching process.
[19:12] They have a system that allows them to have primary subject matter experts. They use pods as opposed to teams and silos.
[20:43] The workforce is 100% virtual. Because they are geographically diverse, they’re able to do things that people concentrated in one area may not be able to do.
[22:21] They have home-based offices and small offices close to where the agents are working. There are rules that an office is required (no dining room tables allowed) and the office must lock.
[23:03] The GMS team can be anywhere in the world and log into their dashboards and see what’s happening.
[24:04] Everyone has metrics to hit and the supervisory staff is bonused based on metrics. They’re also a family-driven business that invests in its people. They have established honesty and openness.
[25:30] The perk of working from home is a fantastic motivation for their team. Combined with their intensive hiring and onboarding process to find the right people off the bat, turnover is not a big issue.
[27:31] Advice to smaller MSPs looking to grow: Establish a hiring plan and process, then stick to it.
Links from this episode
What’s Going On
- ConnectWise Invests in Perch Security: Inside the Deal
- SolarWinds IPO Plans: 10 Financial, Business Facts for MSPs
- The Tiny Number That Can Make a Huge Difference in Your MSP – FMSP 007
- 8 Step MSP Technical Hiring, Training and Retention Plan
- GMS (Global Mentoring Solutions)
- GMS Live Expert – Twitter
- Global Mentoring Solutions – LinkedIn
- Cindy Perks (LinkedIn)
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