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Making The Switch To Managed IT Services

When the time comes to make the switch to Managed IT Services, it is important to know what you are looking for from a provider. As most business owners have or are beginning to realize, there are plenty of benefits that can be realized by bringing on a managed services provider to address IT and other needs. In order to get the most from your managed services contract you must carefully compare all potential providers to ensure they are willing and able to provide the services you need to keep your business moving forward in the future. If your managed services provider cannot supply the following three things (at minimum) keep looking until you find a company that addresses these issues.

  • Security – The managed services provider that you choose should work with vendors that guarantee security. This is imperative when trusting an outside party to handle and maintain private and confidential data that is crucial to the running of your business. Service providers should provide detailed proof of security procedures as well as how they intend to keep abreast of changes in the industry.
  • Recovery – Managed IT Services providers are not only contracted to help keep the day-to-day running of your business going smoothly. They are also an important part of any recovery situation that follows a natural or man made disaster. It is important to discuss with potential providers what procedures they have in place to guarantee your downtown will be minimal and that you will be up and running as soon as possible after an emergency. These precious minutes and hours can make or break the recovery of your business.
  • Customer Service – As with any other business, if there is no customer support backing up the products or services, there isn’t much of a commitment from the provider.

Why are these three things important? To understand you must consider the Managed IT Services model. Managed IT Services providers are hired by a company to provide any or all of the following services:

  • Website hosting
  • Network monitoring
  • Network security
  • Remote data backup
  • Recovery services

Originally these services were provided to large corporations while small to medium size companies struggled to maintain an IT budget that was often more expensive then beneficial. Managed services providers charge a flat, or monthly fee, making it possible for smaller businesses to reap the benefits offered at a much lower price than in-house IT staff or outsourcing on an as needed basis.

The Managed IT Services platform continues to grow as many businesses look for ways to reduce costs in this tough economy. By offering technological services that might otherwise be beyond the reach of a small business budget, managed services make it possible for smaller businesses to remain competitive with others in their industry. Small business owners must take the time to carefully review and research each provider before signing on the bottom line. A good managed services provider can change the way you do business- in a positive direction, whereas the wrong choice could be a costly mistake that does more harm than good to your business.

Click here to learn how Virtual IT Managers, Inc. can help you improve business productivity while reducing technology costs with our Managed IT Services for your business in Miami, FL and surrounding cities.

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“The 10 Disaster Planning Essentials For A Small Business Network”

If your data is important to your business and you cannot afford to have your operations halted for days – even weeks – due to data loss or corruption, then you need to read this report and act on the information shared. A disaster can happen at any time on any day and is likely to occur at the most inconvenient time. If you aren’t already prepared, you run the risk of having the disaster coming before you have in place a plan to handle it. This report will outline 10 things you should have in place to make sure your business could be back up and running again in the event of a disaster.

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1. Have a written plan. As simple as it may sound, just thinking through in ADVANCE what needs to happen if your server has a meltdown or a natural disaster wipes out your office, will go a long way in getting it back fast. At a minimum, the plan should contain details on what disaster could happen and a step-by-step process of what to do, who should do it and how. Also include contact information for various providers and username and password information for various key web sites. Writing this plan will also allow you to think about what you need to budget for backup, maintenance and disaster recovery. If you can’t afford to have your network down for more than a few hours, then you need a plan that can get you back up and running within that time frame. You may want the ability to virtualize your server, allowing the office to run off of the virtualized server while the real server is repaired. If you can afford to be down for a couple of days, there are cheaper solutions. Once written, print out a copy and store it in a fireproof safe, an offsite copy (at your home) and a copy with your IT consultant.

2. Hire a trusted professional to help you. Trying to recover your data after a disaster without professional help is business suicide; one misstep during the recovery process can result in forever losing your data or result in weeks of downtime. Make sure you work with someone who has experience in both setting up business contingency plans (so you have a good framework from which you CAN restore your network) and experience in data recovery.

3. Have a communications plan. If something should happen where employees couldn’t access your office, e-mail or use the phones, how should they communicate with you? Make sure your plan includes this information including MULTIPLE communications methods.

4. Automate your backups. If backing up your data depends on a human being doing something, it’s flawed. The #1 cause of data loss is human error (people not swapping out tapes properly, someone not setting up the backup to run properly, etc.). ALWAYS automate your backups so they run like clockwork.

5. Have an offsite backup of your data. Always, always, always maintain a recent copy of your data off site, on a different server, or on a storage device. Onsite backups are good, but they won’t help you if they get stolen, flooded, burned or hacked along with your server.

6. Have remote access and management of your network. Not only will this allow you and your staff to keep working if you can’t go into your office, but you’ll love the convenience it offers. Plus, your IT staff or an IT consultant should be able to access your network remotely in the event of an emergency or for routine maintenance. Make sure they can.

7. Image your server. Having a copy of your data offsite is good, but keep in mind that all that information has to be RESTORED someplace to be of any use. If you don’t have all the software disks and licenses, it could take days to reinstate your applications (like Microsoft Office, your database, accounting software, etc.) even though your data may be readily available. Imaging your server is similar to making an exact replica; that replica can then be directly copied to another server saving an enormous amount of time and money in getting your network back. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about losing your preferences, configurations or favorites. To find out more about this type of backup, ask your IT professional.

8. Network documentation. Network documentation is simply a blueprint of the software, data, systems and hardware you have in your company’s network. Your IT manager or IT consultant should put this together for you. This will make the job of restoring your network faster, easier AND cheaper. It also speeds up the process of everyday repairs on your network since the technicians don’t have to spend time figuring out where things are located and how they are configured. And finally, should disaster strike, you have documentation for insurance claims of exactly what you lost. Again, have your IT professional document this and keep a printed copy with your disaster recovery plan.

9. Maintain Your System. One of the most important ways to avoid disaster is by maintaining the security of your network. While fires, floods, theft and natural disasters are certainly a threat, you are much more likely to experience downtime and data loss due to a virus, worm or hacker attack. That’s why it’s critical to keep your network patched, secure and up-to-date. Additionally, monitor hardware for deterioration and software for corruption. This is another overlooked threat that can wipe you out. Make sure you replace or repair aging software or hardware to avoid this problem.

10. Test, test, test! A study conducted in October 2007 by Forrester Research and the Disaster Recovery Journal found that 50 percent of companies test their disaster recovery plan just once a year, while 14 percent never test. If you are going to go through the trouble of setting up a plan, then at least hire an IT pro to run a test once a month to make sure your backups are working and your system is secure. After all, the worst time to test your parachute is AFTER you’ve jumped out of the plane.

Want Help In Implementing These 10 Essentials? Call us at 305-600-5459 or E-mail us at info@virtualitmanagers.com to schedule your Disaster Recovery Audit.

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Contracting With A Managed IT Services Provider

When the time is right for your business to bring on a Managed IT Services provider there are several things to consider before signing a contract. Businesses both large and small have certain needs that are better managed by professionals. Contracting with a managed service provider allows owners and upper level management to focus their attention on growing and managing the business. Teaming up with a managed service provider has several benefits if you choose the right partner. Conversely bringing on a managed service provider that doesn’t understand your needs or one that is unable to provide the level of service required can be an expensive mistake. Here we look at the things you should consider before signing on the dotted line.

Does the Managed IT Services contract support the goals of both parties?

When it comes right down to it, every business is in existence to turn a profit. When you select a Managed IT Services provider you want to find one that will work with you to help your company achieve its goals. A Managed IT Services Provider that is interested in selling services or products that don’t match the needs of your company, just for the sake of making money is one that should be avoided. You are contracting with a provider that will maintain vital company systems, therefore you want someone on your side who is able and willing to create a package and price that reflects your needs and not their bottom line.

Will Managed IT Services be cost effective?

When you enter an agreement with a Managed IT Services Provider, you are agreeing to pay a predetermined amount of money for their support and services. This can be very cost effective versus paying an hourly rate for IT support. In most cases hiring a Managed IT Services Provider is the best way to go if you have sufficient need for the services provided. Traditionally companies who pay hourly rates tend to spend less money on IT support which may improve profit but decrease services or support that are needed. When you have a Managed IT Services Provider in your corner, you can feel confident all vital areas are being covered regardless of the number of hours needed to do so.

Compare several Managed IT Services companies before making your final decision.

It is easy to get lost in the mumble jumble of the IT world when you don’t understand the language being spoken. While this can be discerning, don’t let a language barrier lead to a poor business decision. You are hiring a Managed IT Services Provider to cover technological areas outside of your expertise, however you don’t want to be completely unaware of what is going on within your company. Research several companies and look beyond savvy marketing to find a company that is the right partner to help grow your business. This includes carefully reviewing services included in the contract as well as customer service, availability and the capacity to handle changes within the industry. If you don’t understand something, ask questions or you might find yourself paying for services you don’t really need.

Signing a contract with a Managed IT Services Provider ties you to that provider according to the terms of the contract. Once you have taken this step it is important to remain in the loop regarding services provided. Review progress on a regular basis to ensure the needs of your business are being met. If you have done your homework and signed on with the right Managed IT Services Provider, you will have one less thing to worry about when it comes to managing your business.

Click here to learn how Virtual IT Managers, Inc. can help you increase business productivity, eliminate pain and reduce costs with our Managed IT Services for your business in Miami, FL and surrounding cities.

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Should You Hire Or Outsource to an External IT Service Provider?

Most small business owners handle all aspects of their businesses, including acting as the Information Technology department. This will work for as long as you remain a small business without employees. When you grow and start hiring staff, will it make more sense to use your business-building time on handling IT issues or outsource to an external IT Service Provider?

Unless you are an Information Technology Service Provider yourself, chances are your time will be much better spent marketing your products and/or services, establishing relationships with your clients, providing exceptional customer service and just otherwise growing your business – so why not outsource to an external IT Service Provider?

How do you know when it’s time to get IT help? If the information technology demands are affecting your day and negatively impacting your actual business related activities – it’s definitely time to consider finding an IT resource. If you start adding new employees and computers, it’s probably a good time to look into adding IT help, as well.

Should You Hire Internal IT Staff or Outsource to an External IT Service Provider?

When you make the decision to find an IT resource, your first decision will be whether you need to hire one or more staff to fulfill the role, or if you’re going to outsource IT services. Having dedicated IT staff means they are 100% committed to your business. They’re not splitting their time among numerous clients the way a contracted company might. One of the benefits of having an IT department is that the staff develops a strong understanding of your unique business needs and should be in a good position to manage your short and long term IT requirements. With your own IT staff on payroll, you know you’ve always got someone available (unless they’re out sick or on vacation!) should an emergency or urgent situation present itself.

The primary disadvantage of hiring IT staff is that you’ll be paying for their benefits, their training, and a variety of other costs associated with hiring a new employee. Not to mention, you have to pay them the agreed upon salary regardless of how much IT work you end up having, which means you may be overpaying based on workload!

There are a variety of advantages of outsourcing to an external IT service provider over hiring staff. You can choose to outsource your information technology needs to a flat rate IT service provider and reduce your monthly and overall costs. Having a virtual IT department lets you focus more on running your business rather than the technology that supports it. You aren’t stuck paying employee benefits or other employee costs, and you aren’t responsible for making sure the IT team remains up to date with their training and knowledge.

The Bottom Line

Finding the right information technology help for a growing business needs is challenging. When you think strategically about your business’ unique IT requirements, you can make sound decisions that further promote its growth and profitability.

Click here to learn how Virtual IT Managers, Inc. can help you with your IT outsourcing needs. The first step is to schedule a meeting to go over our Technology Consulting Services for your business in Miami, FL and surrounding cities with you.

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Not “Feeling The Love” From Your Current IT Support Company?

Do They Act Like They Could Care Less About Keeping You As A Customer?

Not Responding To Your Calls Quickly, Nickel-And-Diming You For Everything, Leaving Problems Unresolved For Days And Forcing You To Manage Them?

Getting your computer network, phones and software applications to work shouldn’t be a monumental project, yet we constantly hear the above frustrations (and worse!) from local business owners who call us when they’ve finally had enough of the poor services and excuses from their current IT support firm.

Our Sweet Valentine’s Day Gift For You

If you’re finding that your current IT company just isn’t “showing you the love” anymore, we’d like to offer you a “sweet” Valentine’s Day gift of $250 in FREE IT support and services as a no-risk way of introducing our services to you and to entice you to “break up” with your current unresponsive, uncaring IT company and give us a try.

… And even if you don’t have an immediate problem to solve, you can use your $250 in free services to have us conduct our proprietary Multi-Point IT Systems Security And Performance Assessment on your office network.

During this Assessment, we’ll look for hidden problems developing under the surface that could turn into bigger, more disastrous events that could cost you thousands in lost productivity, downtime and computer repair bills. If nothing else, you’ll get a 3rd-party review of your computer network’s security, backups and performance; it never hurts to get a second opinion.

There’s Only One “Catch”

Because we’re giving away such a generous gift that will require a significant investment of our time and resources, I can extend this offer only to the first 7 potential new clients who respond, or until February 28, 2015, whichever comes first. This offer is valid only for businesses with 10 or more computers and 1 or more servers.

Call Us Today To Activate Your $250 In Free IT Support Services To Diagnose And Work On The Computer Problem Of Your Choice And PROVE We Can Do A Better Job!

Services We Provide:

  • Computer Support
  • IT Consulting
  • IT Network Security
  • Cloud Computing
  • Flat-Fee IT Services
  • IT Help Desk
  • Server Support
  • Server Migration Planning
  • Data Backups, Disaster Recover and Business Continuity
  • And much more…

Claim Your $250 In Free IT Services Now:

  1. Go to: http://virtualitmanagers.com/free-network-analysis-and-security-assessment/
  2. Call: 305-600-5459

Offer Expires February 28, 2015

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EXPIRATION NOTICE – An URGENT Security Warning For Businesses Running Microsoft Windows Server 2003

If your organization is currently running either Microsoft Windows Server 2003 or Exchange 2003 on any servers in your office, you need to know about a dangerous security threat to your organization that must be addressed very soon. Please take a moment to read this important announcement.

As your local Microsoft Partner, we are aggressively reaching out to all local businesses that use Server 2003 to alert you to this serious security risk to your organization and inform you about what you need to do now to protect your company.

Windows Server 2003 and Exchange 2003 Replacements MUST Be Made By July 14, 2015

Microsoft has officially announced that it will retire all support on the Server 2003 operating system on July 14, 2015. That means any business with this operating system still running will be completely exposed to serious hacker attacks aimed at taking control of your network, stealing data, crashing your system and inflicting a host of other business-crippling problems you do NOT want to have to deal with.

This is such a serious threat that the US Department Of Homeland Security has issued an official warning to all companies still running this operating system because firewalls and antivirus software will NOT be sufficient to completely protect your business from malicious attacks or data exfiltration. Running Server 2003 will also put many organizations out of compliance.

Unless you don’t care about cybercriminals running rampant in your company’s computer network, you MUST upgrade any equipment running this software.

FREE Windows Server 2003 Migration Plan Shows You The Easiest, Most Budget-Friendly Way To Upgrade Your Server

At no cost, we’ll come to your office and conduct a full analysis of your network to help you determine what specific servers will be affected by this announcement. Additionally, we will provide a detailed analysis of all upgrade options available to you, along with the pros and cons of each option. While there, we will also assess other security, backup and efficiency factors that could be costing you in productivity and hard dollars. We will then put together a customized Server 2003 Migration Plan specifically for your office.

http://virtualitmanagers.com/free-network-analysis-and-security-assessment/

 

EXPIRATION NOTICE

 

Yes! Please sign me up for a FREE Server 2003 Migration Plan!

I understand that this consultation will not be a “heavy pressure” sales meeting and that it will arm me with the information and facts I need to best address this situation. During this assessment, I will receive:

  • A Customized Migration Plan that will show me how to painlessly upgrade my old systems running Server 2003. If appropriate for my business, I will also receive information on how I can upgrade my old machines while eliminating the need for me to spend a small fortune on new hardware and software.
  • A FREE comprehensive network analysis of my entire office computer network aimed to expose any security risks and issues that I wasn’t aware of and also to find ways to make my business FAR more efficient and productive.

To secure your FREE Windows Server 2003 Migration Plan, call us today at: 305-600-5459. Or go online to:  http://virtualitmanagers.com/free-network-analysis-and-security-assessment/

Important: Due to the intensive one-on-one time required to conduct these Risk Assessments, we can only make them available for free until February 28, 2015, or until we receive 15 requests, whichever comes first. Please contact us today.

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Is Cell-Phone Addiction Ruining Your Organization’s Ability To Function?

Here’s a scary new stat: according to a new Baylor University study published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions, the average female student spends 10 hours a day on her cell phone, with male students only slightly behind at eight hours. You KNOW that means they have to be texting and staring at their cell phone during times when it’s horribly inappropriate, such as while driving, in class, at work, etc. Ten hours! Think about that!

The next time you go out to dinner, take a look around. It’s becoming a common scene at restaurants for every single person sitting at the table—Dad, Mom and all the kids—to have their noses buried in a cell phone. A Disney commercial shows a family at one of the parks with repeated scenes of their 14ish-looking daughter paying no mind to anyone, not talking, not interacting, but engrossed in her cell phone. At the end, she texts her dad, who’s standing next to her, “Best vacation ever.” Everyone smiles and the parents are relieved. Seriously? When did texting someone who was standing next to you become acceptable for thanking them? What about looking them in the eye and connecting? I suppose it’s no worse than texting a birthday greeting or e-mailing someone a sympathy card. My grandmother would roll over in her grave.

Of course, it’s a rampant epidemic that you can practically guarantee is leaking into your organization. Not only does this make your employees distracted and therefore horribly unproductive and unfocused, but if you have employees who drive or operate heavy machines, YOU can now be held liable if they are checking company e-mail or doing other work on their phone and crash or harm themselves or someone else because they were distracted. And, of course, it can’t be helpful for employees to constantly be checking Facebook or Pinterest or playing Candy Crush during WORK hours when they’re supposed to be productive, serving your clients.

Since the holidays are about getting together with the ones we love, how about actually being present with them? I wonder how many family dinner tables in America are mostly people sitting at the same table, ignoring each other because they’re too busy texting someone who isn’t there, playing Farmville or doing some other unimportant, unproductive online activity. So many people are NOT where they are. They can’t seem to actually sit and TALK to a person. Engage with them. Be attentive. Listen. I see this more and more with teenagers who don’t know how to introduce themselves or have a polite and meaningful conversation. Many can’t write because they’re so used to communicating in 140-character tweets. Obama caught hell (rightfully so) for having his cell phone out, taking a selfie at Nelson Mandela’s memorial. The Kardashian clan were caught checking their phones and texting at the Music Awards during the moment of silence held for the kid who was killed in Ferguson, MO. Utter disrespect. But where does it end?

I have a strong recommendation: put your cell phone someplace that cannot be accessed when you’re working. Turn off all digital distractions such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., etc., etc., when you’re engaging with your kids. Break out a board game. PLAY. The next time you’re talking to your spouse, look them in the eye and listen. If you’re talking with someone on the phone, get away from your computer. Just turn your chair. They can TELL when you’ve stopped listening because your eyeballs are glued to your e-mail.

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Managed IT Services Providers Help You With Network Monitoring

Many small businesses rely on the networks within their organization. Can you imagine your business without the network which connects you to each of your team? Network monitoring is necessary for ensuring your network remains operational and functioning as it should in order for your business to carry out its daily activities.

What is Network Monitoring?

Network monitoring is a process which alerts business owners and key people to any problems that might occur over the network. It can also be used to keep track of supplies for printers, how much hard drive space is remaining and notify you when you’re running out of space, as well as software installations or uninstalls.

Network monitoring solutions can alert you when changes to the network require action, and assist you with the actions to ensure the problem is resolved quickly. Most problems with networks can be handled pro-actively, which means there is no need for the network to go “down”, or become unusable when the network is being monitored effectively.

You can also use quality network monitoring services to know when your software licenses are going to expire or contracts need renewing, as well as when to update various software programs with bug fixes to ensure everything is up to date and running as it should. Your antivirus software depends on your network to operate effectively.

Additionally, since your network only allows a limited amount of internet bandwidth for your entire staff to use, if one employee is hogging too much of that bandwidth, a traffic jam will form. Everyone trying to use the same network will experience decreased speed and a decrease in productivity but a network monitoring service can help you find bottlenecks as they happen and help to distribute the resources evenly across all users of the network.

Network Monitoring Outsourcing

For the majority of small or medium sized businesses, outsourcing the monitoring of your computer networks makes the most financial sense. If the network is not working, your business loses revenue and can’t operate. Training in-house staff to handle the network isn’t the best use of our time or resources.

Using Managed IT Services providers to handle network monitoring will save you time and money. Your network will have minimal to no down time, and no maintenance required on the part of yourself or staff members. This means you can focus your time on your daily business activities without worrying about the network that’s making it all possible.

Network Monitoring Services

Most small businesses require the following monitoring activities:

  • Monitoring Local Area Network data
  • Ping and trace route
  • Alerts to problems with the network

A Managed IT Services Provider will handle all aspects of monitoring your network, preventing most problems from occurring and providing solutions for any that do happen. For one monthly fee, a business can get all the information and alerts necessary, without having to train anyone in-house to know what to do in the event of every possible situation that can arise involving the network.

Click here to learn how Virtual IT Managers, Inc. can help you reduce downtime with our 24x7x365 Network Monitoring Services for your business in Miami, FL and surrounding cities.

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Over 100 Famous Hollywood Actresses’ Secret Naked Smartphone “Selfies” Stolen By Hackers And Brandished All Over The Internet. Could YOU Be Their Next Hacking Victim?

As you probably read, earlier this year over 100 celebrities (including Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence, swimsuit model Kate Upton and many more) recently had naked and explicit photos hacked from their iCloud accounts and published online. The hackers aggressively attempted to blackmail many others, threatening to post their pictures online.

While it’s very easy to dismiss these hacks as a publicity attempt targeting only the rich and famous, it’s scary to think of all the data we have in our businesses that we would never want in the hands of any criminal.

Small Businesses Are Actually A Cybercriminal’s Favorite Target

Why? Because small business owners are not prepared and make it easier on criminals. One of the biggest issues facing small business owners in the fight against cybercrime is the lack of a cybersecurity plan. While 83% lack a formal plan, over 69% lack even an informal one. And over half of small business owners believe that cybercrime will never affect them.

Cyber-attacks cost SMBs an average of $188,242 each incident, and nearly two-thirds of the businesses affected are out of business within 6 months (2011 Symantec/NCSA Study). A separate study by Verizon showed that over 80% of small-business cybercrime victims were vulnerable because of insufficient network security (wireless and password issues ranked highest). With insecure networks and no formal plan to combat them, we make it easy on the criminals.

Fight Back Against Cybercriminals With This Free Report:  “What Every Business Owner MUST Know To Protect Against Online Identity Theft”

This free report outlines in plain, non-technical English common mistakes that many small business owners make with their computer and network security that put their personal information and identity at risk of being stolen.

Download this FREE REPORT today online at www.virtualitmanagers.com/onlinetheft.

 

In this FREE educational report, you’ll discover:

  • The top 3 ploys used by online identity thieves to easily gain access to your business and personal information, and how to avoid them.
  • 10 sneaky e-mails used to steal your identity that you should IMMEDIATELY delete if they land in your in-box.
  • One easy, surefire way to keep your network and computers safe and secure from online thieves.
  • What you need to know about the NEW scams being used to steal personal information via social media sites like Facebook.
  • Best practices to prevent you or your employees from inadvertently giving away passwords and other “keys to the castle” to Internet criminals.

Download this FREE REPORT online today at: http://www.virtualitmanagers.com/onlinetheft

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Be Realistic About Cross-Referrals And Your CRM

As you build your business, you naturally explore different avenues of networking for new opportunities. One such source is the cross-referral. A powerful formula for success in lead generation outcomes and accelerating sales velocity is the proper use of cross-referrals and your CRM solution.

Cross-referrals are strategic agreements, whether formal or informal, between companies serving like markets to trade their clients’ contact information to the other for marketing their complimentary products or services. For instance, web designers may build referral resources from freelance writers, marketing and branding companies or web developers and other businesses that do things that the designers don’t, but offer complimentary services to their end-customers.

Cross-referrals are a great way to use free, word of mouth advertising though referral agreements may not always be free. There will be some arrangements where a commission can be earned based on a prearranged percentage or a flat-rate referral fee; but many startups are happy to give free referrals in return for the same courtesy. While these referral arrangements may seem like promotional gold, you cannot always rely on other companies to sell you to their customers. There may never be more than a passing comment made to the occasional client. If you are relying heavily on referrals from others, you need to make a change in your approach. While paid referral agreements may offer more of an incentive, it is your responsibility to provide your referral sources with adequate materials to help them promote your business.

Some ideas include:

Professional-looking brochures and business cards that contain your website, contact information, and a blurb about your services or products. If the situation warrants, you can regularly provide referral sources with discount offers and coupons they can pass along to their own clients that are exclusive to referral clients or customers

Promotional items such as pens and magnets that can be passed along to others.

Say Thanks

When the referrals do begin to come in, make sure your cross-referring business partners know how much you appreciate them. Courtesy thank you notes are crucial after referrals made bring you business. Keep a stack of personalized thank you cards to drop in the mail after a referral pans out. You may consider a small gift basket of cookies or snacks to say thanks from time to time. A nice lunch meeting can also help reinforce your gratitude for the referral assistance. This is a great opportunity to leverage reciprocating for your cross-referrals and your CRM‘s power to manage the entire process.

Referrals Aren’t For Everyone

Don’t expect everyone to be open to engaging in free referrals. You can quickly become tiresome to others if you are constantly asking for help in getting business. You should have a strong marketing system in place, so that you aren’t relying exclusively on referrals for new business, making any referral that comes in icing on the cake. It is good practice to touch base with your cross-referring sources to keep them up to date on what is new with your business.

Remember – it’s a two way street, and you should be working as hard to make referrals to your cross-referring business partners as you expect them to in exchange. The more often you make referrals, the more likely the favor will be returned.

Don’t Forget Your Clients

One of your biggest resources for referrals may not be from other businesses. In fact, it is your clients’ praise that will warrant consistent word of mouth advertising for you. This is one of the reasons that excellent customer service is vital to your referral success. Clients who have consistently had a good experience with your company will be more than willing to spread the word to others who are in need of your product or service. While there is no obligation to reward these acts, you might provide something in return for their advertising on your behalf. The better you take care of the clients you already have, the more likely you are to expand your client base. For those clients who are particularly good to you, a token of appreciation like a gift basked of cookies or treats sometimes goes a longer way than a discount on a service or a referral commission, and it humanizes the relationship between you beyond a business one.

Referrals can be a great source of business for you, especially when you are just getting started. You cannot expect everyone to cooperate, but you certainly cannot be a wallflower when approaching the situation. Be direct but flexible – and always offer to return the favor.

Click here to learn how Virtual IT Managers, Inc. can help you maximize cross-referrals and your CRM with our effective CRM Solutions for your business in Miami, FL and surrounding cities.

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