As part of our editorial research, Channel Futures has spent much of 2018 asking our readers what the one thing is they want from their vendor partners. Many MSPs told us they felt they were in competition with their solution providers, and that vendors make it too difficult to sell their products. It hampers partners’ sales efforts and sours their relationship with their OEMs. Do any of these frustrations sound familiar?
“We struggle with existing and new vendor relationships where we spend our time, money and energy getting trained on their products and services, and meeting all of their requirements for the partnership,” says Dan Mathieu, CEO of Datalyst. “The most frustrating aspect is when the vendor bypasses the partner and goes directly to the client to further up-sell their products and services.”
“With such a huge volume of products available and the complexities of each one … we don’t have the time to spend on doing a lot of trials … to understand how the product would work in reality,” explains managing director of MSP Blueshift, Jan Chapman. “Then we have to figure out how to pitch these products to our clients and prospects. It’s a lot of work to do before we get any reward.”
“Stop competing with the channel,” asserts David Davenport, CEO of MotherG. “We see the best relationships when the vendor only works through partners. This allows for the best alignment of incentives and long-term relationships. The vendors who violate this dictum continually struggle to build trust. And the channel partners work to find alternate sources.”
IT management software provider Kaseya apparently heard the same complaints and put a team to work with a mandate to find a solution for its partners that are using a backup and disaster-recovery solution from Unitrends, which Kaseya acquired earlier this year.
Mike Sanders, CEO of Unitrends MSP; Jenn Sipala, VP of marketing for Unitrends; and Taunia Kipp, Kaseya’s EVP of corporate marketing, spent the last six months building a program that would prove the hypothesis that Kaseya could provide its partners with not just leads, but actual customers. A lot of customers.
“They found a way that we believe we can generate about 2,000-3,000 paying customers per quarter,” explains Fred Voccola, CEO of Kaseya. “If there’s an MSP using Kaseya products as a backup and disaster-recovery solution, we’ll provide them with paying customers. The more products they use, the more we’ll provide.
Voccola made sure to emphasize that the Done Deal program isn’t a handshake deal, but rather a signed contract in which Kaseya commits to providing qualified, sold customers ready to sign on the dotted line. Regardless of whether a partner uses Kaseya’s RMM product, if they consume its BDR products, the company guarantees paying customers. Once the customer becomes an MSP’s client, Kaseya relinquishes all ownership of the relationship.
“What Kaseya has created with the Unitrends Done Deal program is on par with what Google did for search. We get the results we want — a new customer to on-board,” said Guy Baroan, president, Baroan Technologies. “If you think about it, it’s a business owner’s dream come true. We get a qualified new customer on our roster without having to jump through the hoops of having to find that customer and close the deal.”
Voccola was scant on details of how the program worked logistically, saying he wanted to protect Kaseya’s “secret sauce.” But he did say that the customers would be located within the geographical region of the MSP and fit the profile of the customers the MSP wants; and on average have a little more than 400 employees.
“Most of the customers aren’t mom-and-pops, they’re companies of size and scale,” Voccola explains. “About three-quarters of them sign three-year contracts of more than $25,000 per year. These aren’t your hot-dog stand kind of businesses.”
Voccola says that most MSPs aren’t go-to-market experts. They don’t have expertise in sales and marketing, and Kaseya’s partners are always asking for more help.
“Every channel program promises leads, but most fall short,” says Al Alper, president of Absolute Logic. “On top of that, my team still has to work to close those deals. So there are no guarantees. Kaseya, on the other hand, is the first to ever provide its MSP partners with a signed, new customer, which translates into immediate revenue for our businesses. There is nothing else like this in the industry.”