Thinking Globally? Act Locally With MSPs

When developing your international business model, keep these three factors in mind.

Channel Partners

June 2, 2016

4 Min Read

Brooks BorcherdingBy Brooks Borcherding

Did you know that managed service providers in Europe don’t respond to sales and introductory offers in the same way their peers in the United States do? In the U.S. market, my company, Datto, successfully uses promotions to attract new customers and drive demand for our products and services. Abroad, promos largely fall flat and even cause a bit of frustration with prospects.

Quite simply, people in different countries expect different things from their IT partners.

If you want to do business across borders, there’s no way to succeed if your company’s methods don’t translate to disparate geographies and cultures; therefore, creating a portable business model is a competitive necessity, as is a willingness to adapt products and services to various market demands.

Here are some lessons we’ve learned on how to be successful on a global scale. While aimed at suppliers, they’re applicable to partners looking to establish relationships with peers outside the U.S.

1. Understand the regulatory environments MSPs and customers face. More than anything, we’re seeing a global shift in applying certain regulations and laws internationally. However, there are still a number of laws and mandates that are exclusive to certain countries. For example, at the moment, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation is a significant talking point in the global enterprise IT community. The law applies to all companies that handle the personal data of EU citizens, whether they’re in the EU or not. On Feb. 24, President Obama signed the Judicial Redress Act, which extends these standards for protection to American companies managing data of EU citizens. Americans already enjoyed similar protections against breaches of their personal data by EU companies.

Even with the enactment of these new laws, companies working with MSPs around the world need to develop their offerings with regulations in mind. Regardless of location, products and business policies must adhere to the local standards. Otherwise, it will be difficult for MSPs and their customers to trust your products or services.

The modern enterprise relies on IT. Whether the company is in Boston, London, Mumbai or Singapore, tech leaders must be sure any product or service they purchase adheres to the required standards.

MSPs thrive because they earn the trust of their customers, and they need to know their channel partners take these issues seriously. Beyond that, it’s just good business. Showing new markets that you understand their challenges and requirements positions you to succeed with a new MSP audience.

2. Study adoption habits and approaches to new technology. Regulatory issues aren’t the only sensitivities you need to understand. Ultimately, the goal of moving into a new market is to expand your business and increase opportunities for new revenue. So, customers’ adoption habits and comfort with different kinds of technology will determine the success of any move.

For example, in some areas of the world, there is still hesitance to embrace the cloud, with companies preferring to manage tasks on premises. Conversely, in some markets, I see an inherent desire to adopt the latest and greatest technology. Succeeding in these markets calls for a commitment to innovation and constantly advancing products and services to keep end customers satisfied and on the cutting edge.

3. Understand the local customer base. Your product needs to be able to adapt to customer demands – no matter what they are – if it’s going to take hold in a new market. MSPs in different nations won’t be too keen to enter into a relationship if demand for your product is minimal, no matter how successful you may be elsewhere. Ultimately, no technology, no matter how impressive, is going to take hold in any market without the right business model. That business model must include a willingness to be flexible, to adapt business strategies and processes to the needs of customers and partners.

MSPs face significant competition in the global economy, and vendors need to understand their challenges. Just because a relationship works perfectly in one area doesn’t mean it will work well everywhere. Before entering any a new market, spend time to understand its regulations, sensitivities, cultural and business demands, and overall expectations. Doing so will set your company up for long-term success in that particular market.

As chief revenue officer, Brooks Borcherding leads Datto‘s global revenue pursuits, encompassing the sales, marketing and business development teams. Brooks joined Datto with a track record of success spanning more than 25 years in the IT services industry with leading firms, such as Accenture, Avaya, Cisco and NaviSite.

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