The next few months are chock full of events for the MSP community including the N-able Summit, HTG Q4, and of course, IT Nation. I’m very excited to be taking the OpenDNS MSP team to these conferences, and I want to share some tips on how to get the most value from these events from the other side of the booth.
MSP conferences have evolved from user group meetings focused on a single product to large community events. Session choices have expanded, and the evolution of these events continues with the growing presence from the MSP vendor community both in exhibit hall booths and breakout sessions. Regardless of their business line, if companies do business with MSPs, they need to be involved in the community and will be out at the big events. Conferences are great opportunities to get face time with your current vendors and evaluate potential future vendors.
Make time to meet your partners
If you are already doing business together, contact your account manager ahead of time to let them know you’ll be attending a particular event. If you want to give feedback or discuss a particular topic with a vendor, let them know! They should be happy to meet and may even be able to set up a coffee break or time to talk outside of the busy booth.
Events are often the best time for partners to meet directly with Product Managers, who are responsible for shaping products and prioritizing new features. As a Product Manager (PM) at OpenDNS, I’m just as excited to hear success stories as I am to learn about the challenges MSPs are facing or where they’d like to see improvements. Vendors that care about the evolution of their products and the success of their partners should be sending their PMs. And a good PM from any vendor should be as eager to talk to you as I am, but we can’t make it happen if you don’t let us know you’re coming.
Evaluating new vendors
For vendors you’re still considering, this is a great opportunity to ask questions face to face and hear from different members of the vendor’s team. Short on time? Ask your peers at the conference whose booth they found interesting. Some booths will become swarmed with people, so if you don’t want to squeeze your way to the front, you can usually grab a card and send a quick email to talk during off-peak hours. At the very least, always make sure to get your badge scanned or leave your business card so they know that you came by and can follow up with you later.
Discovering new technologies and partners
One of the most exciting parts of a conference is discovering the unexpected. Walking the floor and making a point of stopping by the booths of companies you have not heard of yet can yield great results. Of course, lets not forget the schwag!
Finally, pack comfortable socks—there will be quite a bit of walking to do in those big hotels.
I look forward to seeing many of you out there! Was this post helpful? Let me know.
Dima Kumets is MSP Product Manager at OpenDNS.