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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.

Location

333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States

WWW: acer.com

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MSP Spotlights

May 31, 2024 | John Kampas

Peer to Peer: John Kampas on Why EMPIST Thrives — Plus, 1 Mistake Too Many MSPs Make

How prioritizing customer protection and technological empowerment helped EMPIST evolve into a “managed technology provider” with an international presence.

EMPIST started in 2000 with me, a laptop, and $500.

I didn’t want to make money from customers’ misfortunes, but when things were good for them, they were good for us. When bad for them, they were bad for us, so we were early adopters of the MSP model.

Now, we’re a partner that not only keeps businesses running smoothly but protects them, too. Our mission is to fuel their growth by managing the technology they need to succeed.

The first reason we thrive is our investment in sales and marketing. It’s a big piece of who we are. You do great things you have to make them known to people. At EMPIST, we still strive to provide superior service, but in some ways, “best known” beats “best overall” when it comes to building a business.

Marketing should be a priority because potential buyers need to know about you. Stay active in the channels and sites your customers use.

John Kampas of EMPIST

John Kampas

Too many MSPs market for a month then give up. Keep up consistent branding, even if you can’t prove ROI immediately. Timing is important, so when the customer is ready, you’re the name they know and trust.

We have technology to support marketing and sales with good scripts and playbooks. Chicago’s a big sports town, and we use a lot of sports analogies here. Michael Jordan practiced layups and free throws every day, so our daily sales training is important. We do role playing to learn how to deal with complaints and objections in-house rather than in front of customers. Our outbound sales team is made up of full-time employees to help us get a foot in the door.

Sales is a good thing, because you can only service businesses after you sell them.

The second part of our success is our investment in people and keeping them aligned to the company’s core objectives. Everyone on the team knows three things: our mission, vision, and values. We want employees to become better versions of themselves and so we hire and fire based on our values.

Great companies foster positive cultures, provide opportunities for human connection and fun, and ensure that everyone is working to fulfill the same goals.

We have four locations, including a new office in Athens, Greece. We work hard to keep everyone focused on the mission, even if you don’t see them in person every day.

Third, we have a commitment to continual improvement. When people are involved, you won’t get it right every time. But we take 100% responsibility for each failure, address the issue for the customer, learn from the mistake, and do better for them going forward.

Check your ego at the door. Take responsibility and focus on moving things forward. Technical excellence means being thorough and methodical, and not just putting a band aid on a problem to close a ticket. Every problem is an opportunity to strengthen your relationships with your customers.

Continual improvement for us included acquiring an agency in 2015 for marketing, websites, and custom software. It’s important to have an offering, like our App Services, because businesses are looking for a partner that can do more than just keep things running.

We review customer platforms, understand their systems, look at manual processes, and propose transformational changes by developing software or automation. Apps make up about 15% of revenue for EMPIST. We consider ourselves a managed technology provider, not a traditional MSP. We want to be a comprehensive partner that helps customers secure and scale their organizations.

The biggest mistake an MSP can make is one I see at industry events an unwillingness to change. The market is changing; you have to adjust accordingly. “We’ve always don’t it this way,” is death to your business. Unless you change, you’ll become extinct.

Work on raising the confidence of your team. They need to believe in your ability to deliver for your customers. Inability to close is often tied to some lack of belief. If you have a lack of confidence internally, imagine what it looks like externally. We always believe we’re providing the highest level of service. We celebrate the wins, we take note of the losses, and we keep moving forward.


JOHN KAMPAS

CEO and Founder, EMPIST

  • Founded: 2000
  • Locations: Headquarters in Chicago, Elmhurst IL, Phoenix AZ, Athens Greece.
  • No. of employees: >100
  • Website: empist.com
  • Company focus: A full-service technology company, providing technical and digital solutions for your business.
  • Recommended book: “Measure What Matters” by John Doerr, to learn what propelled Google and others to the top.
  • Favorite part of my job: Being challenged every day. Each new challenge is a chance to improve.  I love making improvements and doing things differently to give us an edge. Embracing challenges as opportunities for growth ensure that there’s never a dull moment in every day.
  • Least favorite part: When I discover that a process was not followed, it concerns me. We have dedicated significant time to developing processes and SOPs to prevent mistakes. While errors are inevitable, effective processes will help minimize them.
  • What people would be surprised to know about me: My shoes. I wear a size 17.

    Image: John Kampas


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