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Customer Champion: Trevor Yakel – Octopi Managed Services

When we discovered that Trevor Yakel, Director of Managed Services for Octopi Managed Services, experienced a 7-hour reduction on his monthly billing process, we knew we needed to learn more! Watch as Crystal Henkle, our Sales Manager, sits down to chat with Trevor to find out what led him to Syncro in the first place and what problems the platform helped him solve. He also shares his advice for MSPs that are just starting out, so be sure to tune in until the end for that gem!

Full Transcript

Crystal:

Hello, everyone, I am Crystal, Sales Manager at Syncro. Joining us here today, we have Trevor Yakel from Octopi Managed Services. So, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I love your business name, being from Syncro. Thank you for joining us.

Today we’re going to talk about Trevor’s experience so far in switching to Syncro. I know you said before that previous to Syncro, end of month billing processes reduced from like eight hours to one hour, which is incredible. So we definitely want to hit on that. And really, we’d just love to learn more about how Syncro has helped you and your business grow and become more efficient.

Trevor:

For sure. Sounds great.

Crystal:

Awesome. We really appreciate you being here and allowing us to share your story with our audience. And from that, Trevor, is there anything that you want to add? And give us a little bit of information about yourself, maybe tell us about your background?

Trevor:

Sure. My background goes way back, I believe, to about 1999. So pre-Y2K. So a lot of experience in different areas of IT through those years, from break/fix, to IT management at a fairly sized law firm here where I’m located. And now just ventured into doing managed services, but started that up about three years ago, and just been growing that business ever since.

Crystal:

That’s awesome. I really like hearing the change in your business over time. And congratulations for being in business for so long. And with that said, I’m just going to kind of hop into a few questions I’ve got for you. And I think the first one is, why Syncro? What led you to choosing us as your RMM and your PSA platform?

Trevor:

Well, I had spent a lot of time in the last three years…we’ve tried and actually driven two other competitor products. We outgrew one of them fairly quick. And the other one just wasn’t cost effective for how we were modeling our business. So Syncro was a really good fit, like that pricing model of agent costs versus technician costs. We really liked that all-inclusive bit. Other vendors were doing per agent pricing and weren’t including basic things like SNMP monitoring, and that was swiftly driving up our operating costs on tooling.

Crystal:

Awesome. You kind of answered this, but was there maybe one specific challenge that you were trying to solve when you were evaluating Syncro?

Trevor:

Yeah, when we switched to the most recent, within the last six months here, my primary objective was just to find a solution that really just integrated our PSA into our RMM. And just allowed us to realize some efficiencies in our billing cycles, because it was taking us such a long time. It was taking a full time staff member of ours eight hours, and when I said that in your open hours, I was being conservative with those eight hours, because a lot of times there’d be a lot of back and forth between me and her, which would bleed into a second day just due to scheduling and stuff. So, it was a real nightmare coming from where we were. But I’m so happy that we did switch because that’s like I said, it’s gotten us down to about one hour, maybe an hour and a half tops, on a busy month.

Crystal:

Wow. So this, I mean, what you’ve just said kind of answers the next one—what did you find as a result of buying this product? What I’m hearing is that not only did it save you time, but essentially saved you money.

Trevor:

Yeah, and the other thing we’re looking at too is just building a system that was scalable for us as we grew. And that gave us a single source of truth with our timekeeping. We were doing manual timekeeping for our technicians through spreadsheets, billing was having to export time entries out of an old PSA, plugging those and parsing them into QuickBooks manually, which is error prone. So there were so many deficiencies there that we when we switched they were just gone.

Crystal:

That’s awesome. I love hearing that. This is kind of a fun one because, from a sales background, I always want to know all of these answers. But what was the obstacle that would have prevented you from buying this product? What could have been a dealbreaker for you?

Trevor

Me, (oddly) enough. I’m not trying to be funny, but myself really…just getting the time to sit down and sink my teeth into the product was a challenge. Your sales team, I think could vouch—they probably reenabled my trial about five or six times through this whole process. And I totally give them full credit. I mean, it wasn’t a high pressure sales team that I was facing. They understood my struggles of being a small MSP. I’m still doing technical work day to day, right? So it’s just trying to get that time to dive into it without getting pulled away. That was the biggest challenge for me.

Crystal:

Yeah, I hear you. I think it’s common—we’re kind of the ones that get in our own way sometimes.

Trevor:

Yeah.

Crystal:

Well, great. Okay. If you could pick one feature that’s your favorite, what would it be?

Trevor:

The time tracking. The time tracking for us, it was huge, because it’s like I said, it’s given us that single source of truth in our timekeeping. I can go and do some KPI calculations, see how busy my guys are. Can we expand at our current staffing volumes? All these kinds of metrics to allow me (to) just better run the business.

Crystal:

Absolutely, yeah. Our time tracking—I like the fact that there’s several different ways to track your time. There’s not this cut and dried “do it this way.” You have some flexibility there.

Trevor:

That’s the same with your billing too, right? Your billing fit our needs really well. I found with other PSAs that if you didn’t fit their billing model or billing ideals, it was a real struggle to get those bills to go out properly.

Crystal:

Absolutely, we definitely are striving to create something that actually works for MSPs. And there’s not a cookie cutter version of an MSP, there’s just not. There’s not a perfect billing model, you’re not doing the same exact thing every month. And a lot of times, we have MSPs with the same background as you where you’re kind of transitioning from being really traditional with break/fix and having to kind of accommodate as that transitions as well.

I’ll throw a three number at you, but I’ll let you free-form this. What are the other benefits that you found with using Syncro?

Trevor:

The pricing model—I really loved how involved you guys were with your community forums. That to me was one of the number one things that like really shined brightly for you guys. I was always involved in your Facebook community groups, just kind of watching and seeing what was going on in there. And the fact that your teams are so active in there and actually listening to feedback from your user base and implementing those changes on a regular basis really showed me that you guys were invested in your product.

Crystal:

That’s wonderful to hear. I think knowing how community driven we are, which is actually why we are here today. I mean, you joined an Open Office Hours and made a comment that I loved. I shared it with the team and they’re like, “Let’s talk to this person.” So, we are very community driven. And we’re happy to have you in the community.

So I guess hopefully I know the answer to this before I ask it, but would you recommend Syncro as a product to another MSP? And if so, why would you recommend this?

Trevor:

Absolutely. I mean, I already have like just been in other MSP Facebook groups or subreddits and stuff—anything that I see pop up of someone maybe a little new to MSP looking for a PSA and RMM tool. It’s without a doubt, it’s just one word, and it’s Syncro.

Crystal:

Awesome. I love that. Okay, perfect. Now with this last question, you can get creative with this. We’re just kind of curious, if you have any general advice for our audience outside of using Syncro, if you were just starting out as an MSP, what would you do differently?

Trevor:

Just building that solid foundation. I wish I came across Syncro three years ago, to be honest. And establishing a solid technology stack that you’re gonna stand behind and sell to your customers. The other thing is, don’t undersell your services or yourself to your customers. I mean, it’s so easy to get caught up in that race to the bottom of—you’ve got to make this sale, especially as a new MSP. You’re hungry for those sales and those recurring revenue numbers. But you just can’t sell yourself short.

Crystal:

I love that. I think that is incredibly valuable. Because I do think that what we find, and especially if you’re doing a really good job, being an MSP and preventing issues that are happening, sometimes your customers might not even understand everything that you’re doing. And knowing your value and knowing what you’re providing is really, really important. And I agree, don’t undersell yourself. That’s great advice.

Well, thank you so much, Trevor. I appreciate you hanging out and being here with us today. Thank you so much and welcome to the Syncro community.

Trevor:

For sure. Thank you for having me. It was a pleasure.

Crystal:

Thank you so much.

 

What Fueled Trevor’s Billing Process Efficiency Gains?

Migrating to Syncro’s all-in-one RMM and PSA platform reaped efficiencies for Octopi’s business processes, especially billing. Syncro’s recurring invoicing feature dynamically counts employees, assets, and policies, which eliminates manual labor, back-and-forth communication and human error. When the tools you use to solve your clients’ issues and run your business are fully integrated, the more you can automate time-consuming tasks. We like to say, “Set it, and forget it!

Caitlin Good

Denver-based content marketing manager for Syncro. Curator of new experiences: creating compelling and helpful content on the weekday, exploring nature and cities on the weekend.

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