By Pedro Pereira
According to research firm Markets and Markets, the managed services market is growing at an 11 percent annual clip, putting it on track to top $242 billion in 2021, This is great news for IT Service Providers (ITSPs) and Managed Service Providers (MSPs) because there are plenty of opportunities to grow. To truly maximize that growth, their choice of technology tools and solutions becomes all the more critical.
For example, constantly switching between Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) or Professional Services Automation (PSA) platforms in order to support clients with the right set of features is sure to slow down growth and reduce profitability. To address this, Autotask acquired RMM technology, now called Autotask Endpoint Management (AEM), and combined it with its market-leading PSA solution to create a unified platform for more effective business management and IT service delivery.
The unified platform approach is a game changer. Typically, IT service providers source their RMM and PSA from different vendors, and then integrate the two technologies. “While integration works fine, it still leaves enough manual tasks for providers to perform, preventing them from reaching the highest levels of efficiency,” says Senior Vice President of Channel Development at Autotask, Len DiCostanzo.
The Art of Selling With
Coming from the PSA side, and with the addition of AEM, Autotask has a legacy of selling productivity software to providers to run their businesses and service delivery engines, and it has historically treated the partner as a customer. But after acquiring backup and file sync and share technology, the approach had to change. “With the addition of Autotask Endpoint Backup (AEB) and Autotask Workplace (AWP) to our solution stack, we did not want to have a sell through the channel approach with our partners,” DiCostanzo says. “Rather, we decided we wanted to sell with our partners.” This makes for a true team effort between vendor and partner, he points out.
“Our partners were saying, ‘I have vendors all day trying to get me to sell their stuff, but no one ever tells me how to actually package it and sell it,’” recalls DiCostanzo. So Autotask includes business development efforts, such as service catalog design, end-client demos and webinars as key benefits of their partner programs. “We’re looking at our partners as a true extension of our sales team.”
Working hand in hand with partners who want the additional sales and marketing support, Autotask helps partners deliver webinars to their clients and prospects and will help fund events such as “lunch and learns” and other marketing activities--as well as provide sales and technical resources to partners who commit to selling our solutions, says DiCostanzo. The goal is to provide the best technical, sales and marketing support possible to help them get started quickly and grow over the long term.
The sell with approach enables partners to start marketing AEB and AWP right away. “They don’t have to wait until their tech team can do demos, or for their sales teams to understand the value proposition,” DiCostanzo says. “We provide partners with marketing campaign tools to generate leads, jump on sales calls and do demos, and help them sell until they can sell on their own. With this approach, we are really training them on how to market and sell better to clients and prospects.” Ramp up is quicker this way and reduces the partner’s time to revenue, he adds.
“We teach partners best practices in business using our solutions.”
DiCostanzo acknowledges that while it’s true that every partner has unique characteristics, some business practices are universal in any business, such as defining a service catalog and pricing services right.
Partners are benefiting from Autotask’s partner program and sell with approach in multiple ways. When partners join the Autotask Partner Program, they are given instant access to the Partner Playbook and Partner Toolkit, where they can leverage all of the technical, sales and marketing tools they need to drive leads, grow their pipeline and win new business. On average, approximately 80 percent of Autotask partners sell additional licenses seats beyond their initial starter pack purchase in the first 90 days. Results like this help partners grow their monthly recurring revenue stream, increase client satisfaction and positively impact client retention.