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TPx: Partners Can Expect Continued Focus on Partner, Customer Experience

TPx ranks No. 12 on the 2021 MSP 501 list.

Edward Gately

July 27, 2021

9 Min Read
SaaS provider
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TPx partners can expect continued refinements to the company’s partner program and even more focus on customer experience for them and their customers.

Channel_Futures_Signature_Series_Logo-300x300.pngThat’s according to Don Joos. It’s now been a year since he took the reins as TPx’s president and CEO. He’s made lots of changes during that first year and has more planned for year two.

In February, Siris completed its acquisition of TPx. Siris is a private equity firm focused on investing in technology and telecommunications companies.

Joos previously was president and CEO of PGi, also a Siris portfolio company. And before that, he was president and CEO of ShoreTel.

TPx ranks No. 12 on the 2021 MSP 501 list. It delivers communications services to business, government and not-for profit customers. It serves about 25,000 enterprises with more than 50,000 locations across the United States.

In a Q&A with Channel Futures, Joos outlines his priorities and how they will impact TPx partners.

Channel Futures: What sorts of changes have you made since becoming TPx’s president and CEO?

Don Joos: In that time period, we really focused on a couple of different areas. There was a lot of changes from the go-to-market (GTM) perspective. We put in a new sales operation plan. We put in a more structured base conversion program, converting our customers over to more of our newer services. And we put in a new customer success management team that didn’t exist before. We built a demand-generation engine to start feeding sales and more opportunities within the marketplace. We segmented our install base into five segments. That’s so we could better align our operations to those segments so we weren’t treating everyone the same way. And we were being more specific in terms of how customer segments would want to interact with us.

Joos-Don_TPx-2021.jpg

TPx’ Don Joos

In addition, we built an inside sales team that didn’t exist before and we built up a security overlay team because of the opportunity that exists in the marketplace. When I started this, not everyone was comfortable selling security. But they had the relationships with our base that we wanted. So a security overlay team helps guide some of those sales. And there were a lot of cultural elements that were defined

What I’ve done with customers, partners and employees is, I’ve established an ‘Ask Don’ email box that comes directly to me. No one else manages it but me. My team at first thought I was a little crazy saying, “Really, you want to open that up to all customers? I’m like, ‘absolutely.'” I want them talking to us and I want to talk to them. And I got a lot of emails. When they go silent on you, that’s when you’ve got a problem. And that was a little bit of what I was trying to instill in the organization about that openness and really engaging with our customers, and really understanding what the voice of the customer is building up.

CF: What sort of feedback have you received from TPx partners?

DJ: There were areas within our operations around service delivery support that they had recommendations or ideas that could improve the customer experience and how we worked with the channel partner in conjunction with their customer. Two, they just wanted more clarity in regard to the direction of the business. They also had suggestions as it relates to the channel programs and compensation model ideas that they’re seeing others in the industry do. And they were sharing with me and wondering if we were …

… looking at these things. And I have a channel advisory actually this week. It’s very interactive where we’re sharing ideas to get feedback. We’ve given them a list of questions, asking them to give us feedback.

CF: Your first year has been spent during the pandemic. How did that impact TPx, its partners and customers?

DJ: This was my third company, but the first time I’ve taken over a company where I wasn’t able to meet my staff or any of the employees, partners or customers. So I had everyone remotely and I had never done that before.

In the early stages, I think every company was trying to figure out how to navigate this new environment, and the remote worker clearly became a big component of it. So our customers were looking at a UCaaS with collaboration type of solution. As the pandemic evolved. I think that from a security side specifically, … the market segment that we focus on, SMBs, are very vulnerable because they may not have the resources. And there’s data out there that when an SMB has a security breach, 60% of them go out of business within four months of that. And so we’re really focused on our messaging and our engagement. That’s why the security overlay came into play, to really help that segment protect themselves a lot better with a solution. It’s making sure they were aware of these services that were available to them.

And I think the last area that we worked with people on was, they started to re-evaluate their real estate footprint. So how they needed to think about their cost model and their connectivity plans and the flow. That was some of the account planning that we were doing with the customers, helping them figure out how they optimize this new structure as it relates to the real estate footprint.

CF: Now that we’re heading into the new normal and hybrid workforce, what sorts of trends are you seeing in terms of technology and customer demands? What sort of growth are you seeing in UCaaS, CCaaS, managed IT services?

DJ: The remote worker is clearly not going to go away. Companies are talking about bringing some employees back into the office, although I think with the delta variant, some people’s timelines are being revisited right now. I think there are going to be a lot who still remain home or in a hybrid where they’re in the office for certain days and out of the office for certain days. And what that brings a lot is the collaboration tool that they’re going to be utilizing. You see a pretty big drop off in people using your your typical IP phone now and more people just going to the softphone and using the collaboration tool as their primary forms of communication.

We’re also thinking about people needing more security around their VPN setup; I think that is where organizations are starting to really revisit. I have people all over the place now — how do I continue to maintain my security level from that perspective? And I think that’s why that area has been really growing well for us from that perspective, too.

CF: Is competition intensifying in managed services? Also, who are your main competitors and how do you stay one step ahead of them?

DJ: It’s definitely a growth area. There is some consolidation that’s going on in the marketplace. Private equity firms have been acquiring a variety of MSPs in the marketplace. I think we are positioned well because we have two components that I think are ideal. One is we have a nationwide footprint, and two is the breadth of the portfolio that we have. We cover a broad range of managed IT services from connectivity to communications and collaboration, to SD-WAN, firewall, security, backup services and so forth.

So when I think about the competition, I think it falls in the “depends” category. If the customer is starting their conversation with UCaaS, then we’re going to see the usual suspects. If the customer is looking for more of a bundled solution that includes connectivity, collaboration and managed IT, then I’ll probably see more …

… regional MSPs or some of the carriers who have their service offering. But it’s definitely a competitive landscape. And I think it will continue to be competitive, especially as private equity firms are acquiring more than one. They’re trying to build a larger presence with the combination of a couple of other businesses.

CF: What can TPx partners expect from you in the months ahead?

DJ: TPx partners will continue to see a very keen focus on the customer experience for them as well as their end user. I have a cultural item that I have in the organization that definitely benefits the partner. It’s a very simple question I ask all of our employees every two weeks. The question is, how did I show up today? Did I show up empathetic? Did I show up accountable for the problem? Or did I show up hungry for the business? How did I show up on behalf of TPx for whoever it is, for the TPx partners, for that end user? I think they will continue to see and feel that as part of the whole experience that we create [for partners].

Two, we’ll continue to see a reinvigoration of our commitment and investment to the channel. About six months ago, we did a full audit of our overall channel program. We have a whole bunch of actions under way, operational actions, policy actions, looking at pricing and so forth. And over the next couple of quarters, we will continue to refine our channel program with the channel’s input into it. We’ll continue to build that program that continues to make us an attractive partner for them to work with.

CF: What are your plans for year two as president and CEO?

DJ: I’m really focused on a couple of things. One is, I always want to make sure that we have the right road map that is relevant for the market segment and in line with how customer needs are evolving. The second is really about optimizing our GTM model, making sure all aspects of my channel program are optimal, in sync and aligned with what we’re trying to accomplish. Three is focusing on the retention of our base. Fourth is expand our services to the base. And fifth is really modernizing our systems and processes.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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