This series draws back the curtain to see what makes technology services organizations successful. We’re spotlighting our clients for their take on how to drive growth. Get insights on everything from tracking wins to streamlining workflow. Let’s dive in!
Alt-Tech CEO Daniel Mitchell doesn’t do hobbies. That’s because whenever he picks up a new hobby, it transforms into a business. Today Daniel runs five companies across various interests, including whisky tastings, events, MSP software development, consulting, and IT services.
It’s a lot to keep straight. As a retired civilian member of the RCMP and with over twenty years of experience in cybersecurity, Daniel has built a few strategies for meeting objectives.
It starts with Fridays.
Alt-Tech has a “very open-door policy,” so it’s easy to get derailed while in office. Daniel’s twenty staff know that Friday is the one day of the week he’s unavailable.
“The rest of the week I spend in meetings and talking with people, working on new business and new projects, and if I can’t execute on sending quotes and info, then there’s no benefit to that time spent.”
And send quotes he does. Last year, Alt-Tech sent out $1.1 million in quotes using Quoter and won $643,000 of those quotes. Friday rocks.
Daniel manages the weightier scope of work quoting and contracts, while others on the team, including Alt-Tech’s Client Services Manager, handle device quotes.
“We use Quoter a lot,” Daniel says. “The fact that it integrates into Autotask means that I don’t have to reenter client and contact information, which is a big deal.”
In Daniel’s experience, streamlined data reduces human error. When you’re moving things manually from system to system, “that’s where things fall apart,” he says.
“You lose revenue because you forgot something, or something didn’t move across properly, or let’s say the client complains because the price of the quote wasn’t the same as the price in the invoice they got, or whatever. Quoter removes all of that hassle.”
Daniel replaces hassle with hustle. As a mentor to eleven MSPs and a keynote speaker on everything from cybersecurity to channel, he’s got a lot going on. He also travels for Alt-Tech upwards of twenty-five times a year, attending conferences and events.
For Daniel, travel is time exceptionally well spent. Having been on both sides of the trade show booth, he’s seen how valuable face-to-face time is for improving workflows, product offerings, and, ultimately, the bottom line.
“From the very first ACL event we went to, we came back home, and the following year, we increased our revenue by $375,000, based on changes we implemented from what we learned,” says Daniel.
COVID-19 may have changed how we make B2B sales, but Daniel predicts a return to relationship-based selling. There’s something to be said for cultivating a relationship over a couple of beers. Or a dram of whisky.
Here’s more on how Daniel drives business growth for Alt-Tech.
Don’t undervalue your service
“I see MSPs constantly undercutting their value. They don’t charge enough. They’re worried about a client running if they suggest some large dollar-value project.
Don’t undervalue your service. It’s hard to make up later.”
Stand by your people
“The philosophy we share with our team on resolving conflict is, ‘If it’s good for the client, and it’s OK for Alt-Tech, do it.’
If I, as an owner, would have liked to see something different, we’ll coach it afterward. We’ll educate. We don’t throw our employees under the bus because they made a wrong decision. We give them the freedom by saying, ‘As long as it was in the customer’s best interest, and it was OK for Alt-Tech, do whatever is required to improve the situation.’ And we’re always going to stand by whatever that decision was.”
Strive for heart/head balance
“There’s two conflicting pieces of great advice I’ve received.
First: define your values and live by them. That’s a big one. If you get attracted to things outside your values, it will cause you problems later. They’re going to cause you moral dilemmas and business dilemmas.
A good example is, in our core values, we have family. Family is not an inexpensive value to have. It’s extremely expensive to have family in your corporate core values. When a team member’s kid is sick or there’s a family emergency, family comes first. Do whatever you need to do, but that costs money. Those people not being available costs the corporation money. There are pros and cons. You may be able to retain great employees because they love that ability and freedom, so that’s a big one.
The other piece of advice is to make data-based decisions. So those two are in conflict: lead with the heart and lead with the head.
Data-based decisions allow you to gather and garner information from all sorts of things, whether a system or your employees’ feedback, for example, and then you make decisions based on those. Don’t play off hunches.
It’s very conflictory, and it’s challenging.”
“Everything [Alt-Tech does] is partner-based. We won’t bring on clients that aren’t partners. If they don’t align in value or see our value, and they’re saying, ‘Oh, the price is OK, and I do need help, I guess it’s fine,’ that’s not a great start for us. We want to hear, ‘I’ve got a problem, and I really need your assistance. I love what you said about what you do and your values.’ That’s more in alignment with us.
We also don’t have a lot of arms-length vendors where they’re just there to provide a core service. There are some you can’t get away from because they’re enterprise-level or too big, but we have relationships with most of our vendors and client partners. Even a few we have are billion-dollar companies; there’s the CEO asking us to borrow Cards Against Humanity on a Saturday night. We have that kind of relationship, and we sponsor their golf tournaments and that sort of thing. That’s what we like. That’s what we thrive off of. That level of relationship.”
Editor’s note: Jessica Day at Dialpad echoes Daniel’s advice to seek partnerships with clients. Read her guest post: 8 Steps to Building Better Relationships with B2B Clients
MSPs: Compliance is the future
“MSPs are going to have a reckoning. We have a lot of MSPs in the channel that have no certifications. All they’ve done is walked into a vendor room and say, ‘You, you, you, and you,’ and started offering services but don’t understand the framework. As the maturity of the market expands and compliance becomes a big thing, those MSPs are going to have a boomerang effect where they’re going to have to train up and get into it quickly, or else they’ll be left behind.”
New to whisky? Try Irish
“If I were going to introduce somebody to whisky at large, I’d suggest something Irish, like a Jamison. It’s going to be so smooth and simple because it’s triple-distilled. It’s not going to be harsh.”
This interview has been edited for clarity & length.