MSPCFO Hosts Marnie Stockman of Lifecycle Insights on Conversation Time with Larry

MSPCFO Hosts Marnie Stockman of Lifecycle Insights on Conversation Time with Larry

For Conversation Time with Larry

How does teaching high school mathematics and playing volleyball translate into a career as a solutions architect for managed service providers?  On the latest episode of “Conversation Time with Larry,” Marnie Stockman explains her non-traditional journey to CEO of Lifecycle Insights.

Don’t have time to read? Watch the episode now.

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Long, Strange Trip to CEO

Stockman notes that she progressed from teacher to supervisor and accountability coordinator, where part of her job was to evaluate software and data platforms. She so impressed one vendor with her ability to translate a software system’s features to end-user benefits, how users should be trained, and how the platform could be used most effectively that he hired her to lead the firm’s customer success division. 

Three acquisitions later, she recruited some company developers and they set about creating their own tool.

“I played volleyball with Alex Farling for 20 years. I knew he was an IT guy though I’m not sure at the time that I even knew the term, ‘MSP’, '' Stockman said. “In telling him about the type of work the developers and I did and asking if his company had any problems in the IT space. He said, ‘I spent six hours today cobbling together my QBR.’ And then he starts throwing out these three-letter acronyms - PSA and RMM and XLS (I knew that one!) Two weeks later, he Shark Tank-pitched us with a pitch deck showing what managed service providers do and how they use PSA data and RMM software and asked, ‘What can you do?”

MSPs Tutor Clients; Ex-teachers an Underused Resource

Just like that, Lifecycle Insights was born. Farling now serves as Lifecycle’s Chief Customer Experience Officer. Stockman said with her background also on the customer success side, it’s easy to see why Lifecycle’s top priority is “to create raving fans.”

She encouraged managed service providers seeking trainers and customer service reps to consider ex-teachers:

  • “They are good English-to-English translators.” This gives them the ability to show business owners how technology can deliver the solutions they need.
  • They are patient. “They can ask, ‘Have you turned it off and back on again?’ a hundred times without losing their smile.”
  • They are natural-born trainers. “A lot of times, MSPs have to educate their clients on why they need to adopt certain solutions.”

Homecoming: Finding a Niche in the Data Service Industry

As much as people see teachers as part of an entire community - the school - they are really independent subcontractors because they’re in the room, doing what they need to do day-to-day. There is a lot about teaching that is customer success. First, there’s sales. I had to sell pre-calculus to 16-year-olds who really didn’t want to buy. There’s marketing. You have to make it palatable. And there’s customer success. You make the student, their parents, and the administration happy.

“I have always had an entrepreneurial bit about me,” Stockman said.

During a 7-year recess from the corporate world to raise her family, she ran a home-based business where she developed her customer service and marketing skills. Another business partner, Nick Coniglio, complements Stockman’s customer-facing skill set with the data and analytical chops the company needs.

“Nick and our lead architect build the platform on which 20 million students do assessments,” Stockman said.

She noted that each principal in the company brought experience, expertise and vision about how each component - marketing, sales, customer service, data analysis, business cases, etc. - should be structured. That solid foundation set up Lifecycle Insights for the success it now enjoys.

Stockman explained that many of her CEO duties - budgeting, forecasting, resource allocation, etc. - dovetails with her math background.

“I’m happy to fistfight my way out of an Excel spreadsheet. It makes me very happy to conditionally format a pivot table,” she quipped. “I like numbers, and I did a lot of research. If I could give two pieces of advice, it would be ‘do the math’ and ‘do the work.’” 

The Voice of Experience

This episode of Conversation Time with Larry to gain perspective on the MSP industry and how participants can position themselves to better assist clients. 

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