TMT’s five 2023 Better Your Better Competition finalists told the Shark Tank stars and Kaseya CEO Fred Voccola how they became best-in-class MSPs. But only one got to go home with a Mercedes and the title of TMT Spokesperson of the Year.
The “Better Your Best” contest is one of the most highly anticipated events at Technology Marketing Toolkit’s annual IT Marketing Boot Camp. The competition is open to all members of the TMT high-level peer group, who can submit an essay detailing their remarkable growth and successes, from skyrocketing sales to acquiring new clients and generating more revenue and profits than ever before. But only FIVE best-in-class MSPs make it to the coveted TMT Boot Camp stage to compete for the title of TMT Spokesperson of the Year and a luxury car.
At TMT Boot Camp’s 17th annual Better Your Best competition, the finalists delivered powerful presentations before a rigid panel of Shark Tank’s finest, including Daymond John, Robert Herjavec and Kevin O’Leary, with guest Fred Voccola, CEO of Kaseya, and 2,500+ virtual and in-person Boot Camp attendees. This year’s finalists had an AVERAGE increase of $1,146,804 in top-line growth and $299,979 in bottom-line NET profits in 2022 alone.
But it’s not just about bragging rights; participants also share their winning tactics and strategies to overcome challenges like debt, stagnant growth and personal struggles, providing inspiration and valuable insights for other members not simply to grow but to rise out of the ashes BETTER than ever.
Choosing TMT’s 2023 BYB winner was so tough that Robert said he was happy he didn’t have the final say in the decision. “It’s going to be hard to decide. Thank goodness we don’t have to pick the winner without help,” he said. That’s right. The decision came down to not only the judges’ feedback, but the most important vote to come into play would be TMT’s Boot Camp attendees.
The audience voted. The results are in! But would you have made the same choice?
Thank You To TMT Boot Camp Sponsor, Kaseya/IT Complete!
Thank you to the 2023 Better Your Best sponsor, Kaseya/IT Complete. Kaseya added fantastic bonus gifts for all five finalists this year, including a free year of Powered Services Pro, a free year of Robin’s Trust-Based Marketing and a VIP invitation to a Heat game at the Kaseya Center. Thank you for making this year an incredible one for all 2023 Better Your Best finalists.
Here’s how the five Better Your Best contest finalists averaged $1,146,804 in increased revenue and $299,979 in increased profits in ONE year!
Review the highlights from the finalists’ presentations and Sharks’ interviews, see how your vote matches up with the TMT Boot Camp audience’s and pick up invaluable tips from our finalists and Shark panel about how to not only grow your business but to truly BETTER your BEST.
Jay Hill – Network Providers
For the first 20 years of running Network Providers, Jay relied on his skills, time and energy to market the company – efforts he primarily improvised. He wanted to grow and get results, and he worked 12 hours a day to get them.
He did, growing the company revenue to $2 million in 2018, but it came at the expense of his family. He was desperate to find a solution that would help him to delegate more, be a better manager and find new business in a planned way – and he was desperate to reconnect with his family.
Solution: In 2020, Jay attended a TMT fast-start workshop, teaching the most critical aspects of building a lead generation and marketing machine for your IT services business. Using what he learned from the workshop, he identified his most profitable target market, discovered ways to differentiate his business, delegated marketing tasks and renewed confidence in his services.
Initially, he focused on adding drip marketing campaigns and doing quarterly business reviews with every client. His marketing arsenal has since expanded, thanks to support from TMT and his peer group.
Results: In 2022, Network Providers did $3.2 million in revenue and increased MRR to $252,440. The best benefit – spending more time with his wife and daughter and taking them on a weeklong trip to Spain.
“I am running my business; it is no longer running me.” – Jay Hill
What the Sharks had to say:
- Great businesses are built with great purpose, and it’s wonderful that Jay incorporated his family within his goals.
- Move away from monthly contracts to annual or multiyear contracts as fast as possible. Lock in revenue to make further investments in your business and continue growth.
- Start landing higher-value clients.
- Upsell current clients or DROP them.
- Never cry for money; it never cries for you.
Konrad Martin – Tech Advisors
Tech Advisor’s niche is CPA firms, but the industry is experiencing radical change. The workforce is diminishing, with significantly fewer graduates entering the field, and mergers and acquisition activity is very aggressive as firms seek to cash out.
Konrad lost four clients in 2021 and two in 2022 due to M&A, and lost $1M in revenue in the last two years. He was also informed of two more upcoming mergers that would result in more than $520,000 of additional lost revenue. Any further losses would be unthinkable.
Solution: To combat his losses, he decided to upsell his clients to an advanced security stack with compliance, but forcing them to increase their IT spend was daunting. Konrad feared pushback and losing even more clients. Conflicted, he ultimately decided it was time to put his industry authority to the test.
Konrad focused his efforts on building his authority and authored three Amazon bestsellers and is featured in a movie on Amazon. He’s been featured in industry magazines and has done countless webinars to highlight his expertise. With this authority behind him, Konrad revised Tech Advisors’ marketing campaigns and explained the changes to clients. By setting up Tech Advisors as IT experts, Konrad was prepared to upsell his clients and significantly increase their revenues.
Results: In the end, Tech Advisors converted Every. Single. Client. A success he credits to the authority they established in security and compliance and the marketing they did to highlight it. Konrad added almost $800,000 in revenue in 2021 and nearly $750,000 last year! A shocking 72% of his revenue growth was from this single campaign. By simply providing clients with more security, he saw his MRR catapult by over 341%. Plus, he added SEVEN new clients to increase MRR by another $12,000.
“By taking the time to position ourselves as experts, as the authority in all things IT, we were able to grow our revenue.” – Konrad Martin
What the Sharks had to say:
- Konrad dug himself out of a hole really well; that is super impressive.
- Konrad has something that is very, very difficult to build – credibility. Credibility is the currency of profitability.
- Why just CPAs? Expand Tech Advisors’ market to financial advisors and finance-adjacent companies.
- Highlight your target market in Tech Advisors’ authority marketing because when clients see themselves in a book or magazine, they feel like they are already part of the organization and want to do business with you.
- Konrad is using his marketing to maximize his clients but needs to focus on bringing in more clients to improve scalability.
- As an expert in the CPA niche, grow Tech Advisors’ base beyond your geographical region. Expand the geographic footprint.
Adam Spencer – 911 IT
When Adam received a marketing campaign from TMT in November 2018, he was desperate. He and his wife had unknowingly moved into a methamphetamine-contaminated apartment, causing Adam to become chronically ill and eventually condemning their apartment and everything in it, including the clothes on their backs.
Soon after, their daughter Zoey was born with hypoplastic left heart, and she’d likely need a heart transplant to live into adulthood. Fear, worry and guilt became a way of life for Adam and his wife. So did massive medical bills. In 2018, Adam’s team was working out of his basement, and he wondered how he’d ever grow the company past $500,000 and continue to support his seven technicians and his own family of six.
Solution: In January 2019, Adam and his wife began religiously following the TMT marketing program; Adam joined the TMT membership the following June. They cleaned their list and hit the marketing hard. Adam created and sent powerful pre-meeting material campaigns to establish industry authority, participated in MSP Success Magazine, authored a book, created a sizzle reel and regularly initiated newsletters and postcards.
Results: They finally moved the company out of the basement, 911 IT’s gross revenue increased by $451,755 and MRR increased by $70,893. Last year alone, they brought on 37 NEW clients. Miraculously, their daughter Zoey recovered from her medical condition, and doctors say a heart transplant isn’t necessary.
“Every time we solve a problem, we grow.” – Adam Spencer
What the Sharks had to say:
- It’s great that Adam knows exactly what it costs him to acquire a client. If a marketing campaign is not yielding results by acquiring customers, it’s wasted money. Pay attention to the numbers.
- Expand beyond 911 IT’s 75-mile geographic radius. When you can do 99% of the work remotely, you need to go to where the business is.
- Adam has a very viable product, so bring on more “registers” – i.e., salespeople.
Stephen Taylor – LeadingIT
In 2020, Stephen had a successful $3 million-a-year business with a 10% profit margin, a solid team and even some free time. But despite rapid growth for nearly nine years, he was mostly miserable. He realized he was growing for the sake of growth, and with that, there wasn’t much “success” elsewhere in his life. In 2020, however, that growth plateaued.
For two years straight, LeadingIT couldn’t break $3M in revenue. So, like any entrepreneur in a crisis, Stephen hopped in a van and traveled west to reflect. Looking hard in the mirror, he realized his problem was staring him in the face. He wasn’t challenging himself or taking risks, and his business was suffering because of it.
Solution: After watching the virtual Covid Boot Camp, Stephen remembers Marcus Lemonis telling viewers to press on the gas as FAST as possible. So LeadingIT pressed its foot on the gas pedal, but not by acquiring one client at a time. Instead, he did it by acquiring 10, 20 or 50 at a time through mergers and acquisitions.
By 2021 year-end, LeadingIT had acquired two companies, skyrocketing their growth to 80% year over year. In addition to M&A, they added 16 new clients organically through nonstop marketing efforts, including direct mail and calling campaigns, monthly newsletters and weekly e-mails, which brought 54 new leads.
Results: In 2022, LeadingIT grew its revenue to $7.6M. Since January 2023, LeadingIT has made four acquisitions, purchased a total of $4.6M in business and is now almost a $10M business with 50+ employees. Stephen has since moved out of the van and into a refreshed 1948 country estate with his wife and son, Wilder.
“Go fast; don’t die.” – Stephen Taylor
What the Sharks had to say:
- I love the energy. Stephen, you have no idea what you’re doing, and you figure it out. Fake it ’til you make it. That’s outstanding.
- It’s important to address customers and logo churn after an acquisition.
- LeadingIT is serving the debt and has a history of sales – start making more deals, bigger deals with earnout!
- Stephen, sell your story, sell your credibility and history, because sometimes it’s not the capital they need to see: it’s something forward-facing.
Tommy Thornton – Automates
When Tommy moved his family to San Diego in 2013, he was living off welfare and the kindness of family. A year later, he founded Automates. But one morning, his daughter – seven at the time – said to Tommy on his way to work, ”Daddy, see you tomorrow.” He’d been working relentlessly, so she wasn’t used to seeing him at home. This moment gave Tommy a new vision and a clear WHY, focused firmly on his wife and daughter.
Tommy had been grinding away every day for nearly a decade, but he still couldn’t figure out how to grow organically outside of word-of-mouth referrals. Southern Georgia native Tommy and his team were getting by solely on personality and his charming Southern twang. After binging hours of TMT’s videos on YouTube, Tommy realized there was a lot more to marketing than referrals. He signed up with TMT the next day; Tommy was ALL IN!
Solution: In 2022, Tommy signed up for one of TMT’s marketing workshops, but before it even began, he was already implementing some of the campaigns he had been given. He immediately added $77,000 to Automates’ bottom line. He created his first campaign and scheduled a dozen client upsell meetings. In one month, they closed on five new clients and, by the end of the year, had 14 new clients and $1.9M in gross revenue.
Results: Today, Automates has clients in 19 states and three countries and boasts a 21% NOI. He went from three employees in 2020 to 11 in 2023, including the company’s first sales director. Automates’ gross revenues are up $372,456, net income increased by $303,841 and MRR is up $36,000.
“I am no longer a prisoner in my business. I am no longer a technician. I’m seeing the organization for the first time from 30,000 feet, and my daughter, Giuliana, now age 15, is proud of her daddy.” – Tommy Thornton
What the Sharks had to say:
- Always outsource marketing – be very careful about outsourcing sales. You are the best salesperson this company will have for a very long time.
- As a veteran-owned business, Tommy’s Automates has a special place in America; there’s a lot of opportunity, and he needs to use it to his advantage.
- Tommy’s energy is amazing, and he needs to do his own selling as much as he can.
- Now that Tommy has it figured out and Automates is well-positioned, he needs to be ready to take on larger accounts.
Jump Into The Shark Tank: A Panel With The BYB Judges
“I can’t pick a winner. I’m not allowed to do that, so I’m really pissed off,” Mr. Wonderful, Kevin O’Leary, said. Sorry, Kevin, but choosing this year’s Better Your Best winner was an honor bestowed on the TMT Boot Camp audience. Still, Kevin and the rest of the Sharks were more than happy to give their two cents about the Better Your Best finalists during a post-presentation panel.
Robin, the Sharks and Kaseya’s Fred Voccola talked about the strengths and weaknesses of each finalist. Overall, they were blown away by their stories of overcoming adversity and true entrepreneurship. “I talk to MSPs all day, but I don’t usually get engaged with them personally.
This is the first time I’ve heard personal stories at scale,” said Fred. “I’d be honored to call any one of you a customer, and many of you are customers in different areas. And I mean that sincerely. It’s really humbling for me to sit here.”
But good story or no, the Sharks needed to see results. They commented that some finalists needed to be a lot more aggressive with their growth, nailing down long-term contracts, knowing their numbers and maximizing opportunity right NOW. “Growth and sales cure all ills. If you wait for the perfect moment to be prepared to grow, it’s going to pass you by. So, get going,” Robert said.
Daymond provided another angle, pointing out that sometimes success isn’t simply about the bottom line. Jay, Konrad and Adam had very personal reasons for motivating success – their families. “Some people want more money. It’s fine; there’s nothing wrong with that. But if some people can do the same exact thing they love with the ones they love and be in communities like this, I think it is different.”
Though the Sharks couldn’t officially choose a winner, they had their opinions. It’s no surprise it aligned with the TMT Boot Camp audience’s choice too.
And The Winner Is…
As Robin revved the engine of the winner’s Mercedes, they announced the 2023 Better Your Best winner, TMT Spokesperson and Ambassador to the Industry – Adam Spencer!
Congratulations to Adam, his wife and kids, and the entire 911 IT team! You earned it. Another huge thank-you to the event’s sponsor, IT Complete, and the Sharks for not only contributing to an exciting BYB competition but bringing their decades of business expertise and million-dollar mindsets to the TMT community.