MSP Whisperers: Tommy Wald and Xcellerate Optimize Your ConnectWise
Unlike other consultancies covered in this series, Xcellerate is a startup.
But co-founder and CEO Tommy Wald’s success in the managed services provider (MSP) space and years of experience since then mentoring IT services companies makes this among the rare upstarts that engenders instant credibility.
Xcellerate’s business is centered around helping average-size MSPs – those with 10 or fewer employees – to grow past what is an all-too-common plateau.
“They get stuck,” Wald said. “They have problems growing beyond a certain size; successfully (building) a sales engine.”
“There are a lot of things we see that get them hindered,” he went on. “Where they struggle is not in the technical delivery, it’s staffing and recruitment; getting the right people.
“We all suck at marketing. We don’t do that very well.”
At the heart of Xcellerate is a truly innovative consultancy business model.
“In my estimation it’s unique,” Wald said. “As the MSP grows our MSP grows; we’re actually serving as an MSP for MSPs.”
A key component of the program calls for standardizing the software used by participating MSPs.
Member companies are urged to migrate into ConnectWise tools and are taught how to squeeze out every ounce of profit-generating functionality.
“ConnectWise, it’s a great PSA (professional services automation) tool,” Wald explained. “(Average MSPs) end up only using about 20 percent of the platform’s capability.”
Xcellerate teaches members how to manage training and optimize configurations.
“There’s a lot of capability for tricking it out,” Wald said. “Our whole theme is around ‘standardize, optimize and automate.’”
Thus far, the young company has eight employees who work virtually, serving a few dozen clients.
They run a network operations center (NOC) in Seattle, with plans to set up a more permanent office in Austin, Texas.
MSPs can join at the Member Level for $495 a year.
“With that they get the portal with all the best practices, sales agreements, how-to, management processes; here’s what your organization should look like with all the job roles,” Wald explained. “We really know what makes a good MSP and what makes them successful.”
“There are a bunch of ways to skin a cat,” he went on. “We’re simply giving them the Xcellerate way.
“It’s not the only way, but it’s a way that we know works.”
Companies that embrace the tools and concepts are targeted for deeper relationships.
“When we see that they’ve got it, then we invite them into our partner program,” Wald said. “At that point, that is where they get the true value of an accelerator program.”
The partner program leverages economies of scale, and thus requires that all participating MSPs use ConnectWise products.
“We want everybody standardized so we share service offerings at an affordable rate,” he said. “They’re getting all the advantages of an automated, integrated, tricked-out ConnectWise.”
A key component of the Xcellerate Partner Program includes two full-time recruiters tasked with identifying ideal candidates for the eight roles the consultancy teaches are essential for any successful IT services provider.
“We’re offering unlimited recruiting services at that level,” Wald said.
Xcellerate’s business model calls for propping up member MSPs with whatever services they need to grow their businesses.
“As we go down the line, we’ll continue to build out our shared services portfolio,” Wald said. “Strategic partnerships, best practices; cloud is a very key piece of what we’re doing…we just look at cloud as being another service offering in the toolbox.”
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