VARs and MSPs represent the channel’s eyes on the ground. There’s a weighty responsibility there that makes nearsightedness a very dangerous thing for the channel. Our VARs and MSPs need clarity of their customers’ vision, and the rest of the channel needs to stand ready to help that vision become the customer’s reality.
Forrester analyst Jay McBain's life's work is analyzing the channel. When he recently told Channel Executive magazine that 40 percent of the channel is poised for retirement over the next seven years, it got us thinking about exit strategies (and acquisition targets, but that's a future story). Liz Harr, the subject of this Q&A on, Business Sustainability Planning, orchestrated an exit strategy of her own. Today, Harr is a partner at professional services marketing firm Hinge and a frequent contributor to VARinsights.com, but not long ago she was a reseller of Microsoft CRM and ERP software. Here, Harr shares some wisdom on knowing when it's time to exit, optimizing the valuation of your company, and minimizing collateral damage in the process.
Who really wants to take the long, slow, arduous journey to success when you have the option to take a more thoughtful, deliberate approach? The time to praise the journey is when it’s in your rear-view mirror not when you’re facing it head-on through the windshield. Life may be about the journey, but business is all about the destination.
Technology is essential to mitigate the risk of exposure to cyberattack. Note that mitigate means to reduce or lessen in severity, not preclude. It’s often difficult for IT service providers (ITSPs) to convince business owners that no one can guarantee complete elimination of cyberattack risk. Anyone with a computer connected to the internet is under attack. Your best option is preparation for the inevitable.
Studies have shown that businesses are starting to increasingly rely on social media to help build brand awareness and drive the sale of their products and solutions. For example, according to a recent Forrester report, 98 percent of sales and marketing leaders see value in social selling in the short and long term, and 49 percent have already developed a formal social selling program. Many Channel companies would agree with the potential benefits of social media marketing, but they also acknowledge they’re a long way from realizing its full potential.
An aging telecommunications channel is rapidly morphing into an innovative technology marketplace. Leading carriers, pure cloud vendors, ISVs are making indirect channel a priority as 60% of all technology purchases are made through an IT consultant. Business lies with the person that has the customer relationship, those IT consultants (referred to as agents in the indirect channel) have the proverbial keys to the castle.
Selling professional services is tricky business. There is nothing tangible in the conversation. No product to pick up, turn over, and closely examine for quality and functionality. What clients are buying is you and your expertise.
An MSP owner realizes that two of his newest team members aren't going to make it to the ninety-day mark. Should he dread replacing those employees, or relish the chance to dramatically improve his business?
Darek Hahn, president and CEO of Dynamic Strategies Inc. (DSI), details the challenges of his company's shift in customer focus, sales strategy, and corporate culture.
Russ Levanway, CEO of California-based MSP TekTegrity, recently let me pick his brain about how and why the company acquired four MSPs in the five-year period between 2010 to 2015. Like many solutions providers looking for ways to grow, TekTegrity used these acquisitions to expand its regional footprint and establish itself in new verticals. In the process, Levanway had to integrate differing cultures and a rapidly expanding headcount. The company developed a regimented onboarding process for the companies it was acquiring, which included weekly one-on-one check-ins for six months with each new employee.