From VAR to MSP

By: Shelley Thompson, UK Sales Manager

The role of IT Provider is changing.

When I first started at PCS over 13 years ago my role as an account manager was very different to the role of the account managers I look after today.
The days of sourcing hardware, software and pretty much everything in between are still there but over the years our customers have come to expect more from us.
They still want us to be their primary supplier for all things IT related but they also want us now to be their partner of choice when it comes to being able to offer IT services.

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Over the last 2 -3  years I have been working with my sales team to assist them in the transition from PCS being a VAR to becoming an full blown MSP.  I’m not going to lie, it’s not been an easy task by any stretch of the imagination and changing the mindset of people, who have traditionally sold hardware and software, has been tough.

PCS in previous years had a split sales team which comprised of external and internal sales teams, the external guys were the ones who primarily focused on selling managed services and utilized the in house technical department to be able to offer IT support services to their customers, whereas the internal sales team were the “box shifters” who never sold any of the PCS services that we had to offer. The plan was to merge both the sales teams, creating a larger, more productive environment, a busier sales floor and ultimately generate more business by offering our services to customers that were unaware we even had our own established in house IT services.

So going back a couple of years we decided that we would put both teams on the same sales floor, rather than being split across the 3 buildings at PCS; this was a great move, and it meant that the “box shifters” were getting to hear first hand the work that the external sales guys were doing, this ultimately gave exposure to the products and services we had to offer. Coupled with regular marketing campaigns to customers, managed service promotions for the account managers and internal services training meant that customers who had only ever brought hardware and software from us, were getting to hear about our managed services offering.

The learning curve for the box shifters was steep but one I feel that they have all embraced. Selling hardware and software to a customer is one thing but selling a customer a full managed service agreement requires months of planning and the attention to detail needs to be second to none, long gone were the days of shipping a server to a customer and moving on to the next sale, the focus was now on finding out more about what that customer was doing with that server, did they require installation of it, remote monitoring, hardware support, onsite support and the list went on.

So, where are we today?

The sales team at PCS is more productive than ever, all of our account managers have a good understanding of their customers infrastructure and are able to offer services that PCS have to suit, our customer base is now aware of what we do and are now contacting us to ask for services which is great.
I’m not going to say the move from VAR to MSP was seamless, because it wasn’t, it came with a lot of new ways of working for many of the sales team, but looking back it was one of the best moves that we have made as a company in years.

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