Why Client Training Is Key To Driving Security Sales

Training has proven to be the ticket to success for New Haven, Conn.-based SMB Networks, and now the managed services provider is hoping to extend those wins to its growing security practice.

As SMB Networks transformed from a traditional break fix company in 2006, CEO Peter Verlezza said he quickly found that holding educational seminars for current and prospective clients was a great way to establish his business as a trusted advisor.

The company has held 11 in-person seminars in varying sizes, with the most recent seminar two weeks ago attracting 91 attendees to learn about small business technology survival. While the seminars cost about $6,000 to put on, Verlezza said the return on investment has been incredible, building rapport with clients and helping educate them on key technology trends in the medical field, where he primarily operates. The sessions have also turned into sales, he said, with the most recent seminar bringing in close to $300,000 in contracts from four new clients.  

Now, Verlezza said he is working to extend that same success to the company's security practice.

"Security has been a hot topic in the medical field since 2003," Verlezza said. "Most people that we talk to have their head in the sand and we keep trying to bring it up again. This security piece is huge and it touches all of us every day at every level. I see this as opening up people's eyes."

Verlezza said he has already held HIPAA training classes, bringing in his company lawyer to walk through the basics of the regulation, to immense success. He said he hopes to extend that training into areas such as PII as well as security basics such as password strength and management.

Verlezza said he will be using a new tool called Breach Secure Now! to facilitate the training. The company, based in Morristown, N.J., launched last week with an unlimited low cost white label security training offering for SMBs. The course includes a 90 minute training course on phishing, protecting proprietary data, mobile security, PII, security policies, breach response and more.

By adding training, Breach Secure Now! CEO Art Gross said MSPs move themselves beyond commodity managed services and truly add value and stickiness to their clients.

"Security now is becoming a business risk and it's a much different conversation than an MSP has had in the past," Gross said. "I think that makes them more valuable. MSPs talk about being trusted advisors and this allows them to move up the food chain, so to speak."

While the training can all be done online, Verlezza said he will continue to offer in person training sessions where the MSP will use the tool as part of the sessions. By bringing people in to a rented space, he said he can add more perceived value as well as additional training sessions and a certificate to leave with.