Sales and marketing, Channel markets, Channel partners, MSP

Gary Pica’s MSP Sales Tips, Lessons Learned: Eliminate the Bricks


What are TruMethods CEO Gary Pica's lessons learned from his life and managed IT services career? Pica shared some MSP takeaways during Schnizzfest 2017 this morning in Philadelphia, Pa.

Here's a summary of Pica's thoughts. And keep checking the ChannelE2E homepage. We'll have more live coverage from the event today before we pack up and head to next week's ConnectWise Automation Nation 2017 in Orlando, Fla.

PS: I realize I've skimmed over Pica's keynote in some areas. If you need the deeper details check in with him directly. He and TruMethods CTO Bob Penland are very responsive.

Gary Pica's Sales Career: Two Lessons Learned

  1. Quotas are set for average people. The world is designed for average people and average companies with average goals. That was a powerful lesson.
  2. Success in sales is 90 percent self-image, self-discipline and attitude and 10 percent knowledge. "They called me Peter Positive," Pica says about his time outperforming peers early in his sales careers.

Gary Pica's Career Journey

Pica rewound to DDS, an IT services company that dominated his career starting in the late 1990s. Here's a two-phase recap...

DDS - Phase One Lessons Learned: From about 1997 to 2000

  • The entrepreneur's journey: This was Gary's first chapter as an entrepreneur. He ultimately acquired half the company. He kept asking "what's our value?" and "What business are we in?"
  • The unfortunate answer: Customers have bricks all over their business and Pica's business removed them. The initial job was to remove more and more bricks -- IT problems, people problems, etc.
  • It got worse: But moving all those bricks got heavy, challenging and overwhelming. It was sort of like carrying a virtual backpack that weighed down Pica's life at work. Then came service boards to help fix the problem. But the problem bricks also were overwhelming. For instance, a customer who needs an emergency server install before an application deployment team arrives.
  • Inflection warning signs: Pica wanted to create a world-class business but all those bricks weighed him down. From 1997 to 2000, Pica noticed a recurring journal entry as he tracked his business. "I need to run the business but it's running me. I just need to..."
  • The inflection point: Something had to change. It was time to launch the Brick Elimination and Automation Department, he quipped. But it got worse because there were too many bricks and too few people focused on Brick Elimination and Automation. The answer: Check out Gary Pica's thoughts on how MSPs can develop their super powers to eliminate those brick headaches.
  • Know your math: To eliminate more bricks, MSPs need to capture and understand costs, have a framework and align your business accordingly.
  • Takeaways: During this phase, Pica started to understand finance, management and leadership. Takeaway: There's an invisible force. What's the force? I'll ask Pica later.

DDS - Phase Two Lessons Learned: From about 2001 to 2007 or so

  • Gaining momentum: This is when sales become simple because Pica had a framework for success in place. Check in with him about the framework.
  • You control the customer: At this point Pica held sales meetings and flipped the thinking: Within 15 minutes of deciding, he was deciding whether his company wanted to work with a potential customer, rather than wondering if the customer wanted to work with him.
  • Replacing the doubts: "At some points I wondered if I had wasted three or four years of my life. But by this point I didn't feel like these were wasted years."
  • The exit: DDS grew to 7,000 endpoints and only 1,400 tickets per month. At this point mindSHIFT acquired the company.
  • Takeaways: The framework for success was bulletproof. When you put people in leadership positions to succeed, you can really accelerate the business. Again, check in with Pica for the framework.

TruMethods Schnizzfest Phase One: Likely around 2008

  • To understand this stage check out the Big Leap book: Somewhere in our DNA we have a deep-coded limit on what we expect. It can involve money, peace, love or something else.
  • The book says: Something happens in your life -- an illness, a loss, etc. You don't solve your upper limit problem. Instead you dissolve it.
  • Pica thinks of this in terms of Zone of Mediocrity. Phrases like "It's just easier to do myself." If you're honest you don't love doing these time-consuming tasks. They're sucking up all your time.
  • An example: Tiger Woods' zone of mediocrity involves driving a car. When he does it bad things happen. Pica's advice: "Get a driver, dude."
  • Pica polled the audience. Most attendees are spending 75 percent of their time in a Zone of Mediocrity. Why? Pica says it's a choice, and you need to change your choices.
  • "By age 40 many of us have tuned out the call to genius," according to the Big Leap book.

TruMethods Schnizzfest Phase Two

  • Here, Pica began to focus more on his Zone of Genius rather than his Zone of Mediocrity. The things he does great.
  • Too often we're all bogged down in mediocre tasks. Attendees estimated that they're spending about 70 percent of their time of Zones of Mediocrity rather than Zones of Greatness.

That's it for our first blog from TruMethods Schnizzfest today. Keep checking back for more.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.