Top Gun 51 Profile: Datto’s Rob Rae Says Successful Channel Partner Programs Foster Community
… in the driver’s seat and the vendors are taking direction. As long as we have the approach, where it’s, “What can I do to make the channel’s life better?” I think you win.
CF: So this is about accountability and customer (or partner) experience?
To err is to be human. But be there to answer the phone when the mistake happens. You can’t go dark and disappear and just make excuses. If you answer the phone and say, “Don’t worry, we are going to get on this,” you will win them over and build the relationship.
CF: What are your thoughts on the channel ecosystem?
RR: In managed services, MSPs have a bunch of technologies in their stack. A company is outsourcing IT to an MSP. But all these different technologies need to work together in order for the MSP to have a single pane of glass, minimizing the amount of time the MSP has to spend on deploying the technology. All these different tools need to work together. All of us are working together to provide MSP choice in what fits with their business.
CF: What’s your advice for vendors?
RR: It’s really simple. Take care of your customers. Answer your phone, answer your email. It sounds so simple, but that is the one thing that a lot of vendors fall down on — having that connection with their communities. You want to build a brand? Take care of your community. These guys all talk to each other. So, do right by them, help them make money, provide tech support, and they will keep coming back.
So vendors: Take a hard look at your relationships with the channel. If they aren’t your first stakeholder, you need to relook at your channel program. The solution providers are the key to everything in our go-to-market strategy.
CF: What’s your advice to partners?
RR: One person I know who was considering getting into the MSP space has heard the hype. My advice is that the hype is real. But while it’s a great time to jump in, let’s talk about what that means: No longer are we ambulance-chasing trunk slammers. We have to provide fantastic services to users.
CF: What are your thoughts about the future of the IT channel?
RR: We are on the verge of a massive golden age of IT. The growth opportunity within the channel is immense. The MSP is in the perfect position as the experts, and the MSP market is mature enough to deliver technology. We have the opportunity to venture into different platforms, expand our cloud operations, expand into different markets and verticals.
The water’s warm; everybody, jump in.