Having the right resources to turn to is essential for you to succeed as a business. However, sometimes these resources just aren't enough. Maybe you've hit a wall - you're not sure what you can do to continue your business's success and growth. Have you thought of joining a peer group? Continuum partner and HTG member, Scott Spiro, President & CEO of Computer Solutions Group, joins us in the Boston studio to reaffirm that being a part of a peer group like HTG can significantly affect your business, and your well being, in a positive way. Tune in!
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Shannon Mayer: Hello. My name is Shannon Mayer and I'm from Continuum and joining me today is Scott Spiro from the Computer Solutions Group or CSG. Welcome Scott. How are you doing?
Scott Spiro: I'm doing great. Thanks for having me.
Shannon: Yeah, absolutely. So today we're here to talk a little bit about peer groups, HTG, and Scott Spiro's success. So we'll start off with a real easy question. Scott, when did you join HTG and what was the catalyst?
Scott: Well, it's been a few years. I think it's been at least three years I think since I've joined. And the catalyst for joining was just really wanting to improve my business, and I had a few buddies that were in HTG and they were telling me how great it was so that was really what instigated it.
Shannon: Now you told me that you recently made a switch of groups to HTG 20 which is the fast growth group so what was the decision behind that and how is it going in the new group?
Scott: So the decision was really based upon just the growth of CSG. We had a powerful year. We had great growth over the last three years. I was looking for a group that was made up of like minded entrepreneurs and IT business owners that were experiencing the fast growth and also some of the challenges that go along with that. And so we just had our first meeting and it was awesome. The guys in the group are great, guys and girls I should say which was really good.
Shannon: That's really great. Congratulations on the rapid growth. Could you explain to some of the HTG members exactly how Continuum has helped play into that great growth you've been having?
Scott: Absolutely. Continuum shares my vision of leveraging an outsource model to help facilitate fast growth in the same way that our clients use CSG to really handle all of their ITs so that they can focus on their core competencies. Where we have really recently used Continuum to the best of our abilities is probably the service desk. We've already been using NOC and we had some really great success with it. So the Help Desk was really where we needed the help. No pun intended. It was just that I can't hire people as quickly as Continuum can, and Continuum has a much larger pool of individuals, and so I don't have to worry about that. All I have to worry about is bringing on new business.
Shannon: So that's great news that you've been using our Help Desk. I know that there's a lot of MSPs out there that actually think that it's a mistake to outsource your Help Desk that that needs to be something that happens internally. What would you say to those MSPs that are a little bit nervous about that concept?
Scott: I would agree. I mean the Help Desk is one of your primary touch points with your clients. They represent your brand. They represent your values. And so in my case I really wanted to vet that out a little bit so I traveled to Pittsburgh to visit the Continuum Help Desk team. I spent the entire day there. I was able to actually go from Help Desk engineer to Help Desk engineer and plug into their calls and listen to how they handle their calls, because I really wanted to understand what this would mean for our clients. And at the end of the day, I mean for us, I'm looking to find what's the most important thing that our clients value from my company.
Is it the Help Desk? Is it other things? And when I kind of looked at that, I determined that the Help Desk was super important to what we did. It wasn't necessarily at the top of the list for our clients, but it was super important. If we're not executing properly on regular Help Desk calls, then we've got a big problem on our hand. So my message and my experience has been that the Continuum Help Desk has done a good job at conveying our brand and conveying our message and allowing us to continue to grow without having to continually hire and manage new Help Desk engineers. I've got other senior staff that I can focus on.
Shannon: Exactly. One of the biggest challenges I hear a lot of the MSPs coming to me with is I have trouble hiring and retaining good talent. So leveraging our Help Desk to help alleviate some of that pain of finding people can really be beneficial to your business. So how does your internal team feel about interacting with the Help Desk so far? Has everything been going smoothly?
Scott: Yeah. We interact with the Help Desk team regularly. We review our ticket report so we understand how many tickets are coming in and we're looking for specific metric as far as how many tickets they need to be closing and what sort of tickets should be escalated up to my team. As far as I'm concerned my Level 1 engineers are now Level 2 engineers, and they can be focusing on other things including going onsite and doing things like that.
Shannon: Great. Now I also know that you are a bit of a sales and marketing expert as well. So for the other members in HTG, what kinds of things are you focusing on right now for those efforts?
Scott: Well, we have a series of marketing activities that are going on all of the time and then we measure those. And in addition to those marketing activities that are just ongoing, we've got specific campaigns that we might be doing for a specific month. So for example, we all know that server 2003 is expiring. Everyone should be taking advantage of that opportunity and so that's a campaign that we're executing now that will go on for the next few months or at least through July and that would be in addition to the other activities.
Shannon: Are you noticing that a lot of the companies and members of HTG are starting to really put more of a focus on sales and marketing or do you still think there's a ways to go?
Scott: I think some of them are starting. I think that there's a ways to go, too. The guys in my group, the folks that I've met, they're very sophisticated in what they do business wise, and they're really good at it. They've grown based on really just organic. They've grown organically. They've had referrals. They've gotten lucky, luckier than me, and so they didn't have to really focus on the marketing piece maybe like I did. But now they're looking at it and I'm talking with them and saying think about how much further you could go if you implemented some more strategic marketing plans so I think they're starting to do that now.
Shannon: Good. All right. Time for a fun question. What is your favorite HTG memory? Do you have one?
Scott: Yeah I do. We had and HTG 14 in my last group. We did an amazing trip to Mackinac Island where we had our meeting, and it was a lot of fun. I'm from California, so I didn't know too much about Mackinac Island. But to be able to go and experience it, it's all horse-drawn carriages, but we were able to have some amazing dinners, hang out with some great people, have some great drinks, and it was overall a good experience. And I didn't even know there was a movie called Back in Time with Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour and that was a big deal on Mackinac Island.
Shannon: So I'm going to wrap this up with one last question. Why would you recommend Continuum to other HTG members?
Scott: Continuum has been a great partner for CSG in a number of ways. It's not just the technology, it's the people. We have a number of great partners we work with at CSG. We've also had the experience of working with some that weren't so great. And when you find a company that really cares about your success and actually does what they say they're going to do, that's a keeper, and I would recommend Continuum to any of my HTG colleagues. In addition, being able to leverage Continuum for growing your business is huge.
Shannon: Great. If any of HTG members have questions, would it be okay for them to reach out to you?
Scott: Absolutely. Feel free to contact me. We'll make my email address and phone number available and just give me a call and shoot me an email or tweet me or Facebook me, Instagram.
Shannon: There we go. We'll put up all those things scrolling. Great. Well, thank you again for joining us today Scott. I appreciate you taking the time out. To all HTG members out there, please feel free to reach out to us as well if you have any questions. I'm happy to get on the phone and talk through anything with you and I hope everyone has a great day.
By Gretchen Hoffman