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Pax8 Adds 1,000 MSP Partners In Nine Months, Enhances ConnectWise Integration

The cloud-focused distributor, which is targeting large MSP communities, also has expanded its sales force from 11 to 65 employees over the past year, says Nick Heddy, senior vice president of sales and marketing.

Cloud-focused distributor Pax8 is gaining major ground in MSP circles as businesses shift more of their on-premise data center workloads to the cloud.

Nick Heddy, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Pax8, said the distributor has doubled the size of its partner ecosystem to 2,000 within the past nine months. The Greenwood Village, Colo.-based company also has beefed up its sales team from 11 to 65 employees over the past year.

"We've probably grown the number of partners we have by 150 percent," Heddy told CRN. "It took us three and a half years to hit the 1,000-partner mark and we just got our next 1,000 partners in nine months. It feels pretty good. The employee count has grown like wildfire."

[Related: Pax8 Execs: Solution Providers That Reduce Customer Acquisition Cost Will Boost Valuation, Be More Efficient]

Pax8 is averaging about 150 new partners per month, which has the company growing at about 240 percent year over year, Director of Emerging Channel Jennifer Bodell said.

Some of that positive momentum stems from headway Pax8 has made in MSP communities of interest, including HTG Peer Groups, ASCII and CompTIA.

"We're really getting entrenched in the communities," Bodell said. "That's where our big focus has been this year. We got involved with HTG, which is a really big group we're trying to penetrate. That's kind of a long play."

Third-party RMM vendor integrations are also on the priority list for Pax8, which launched a ConnectWise integration in June and hopes to roll out one for Autotask by the end of the year. The ConnectWise integration allows partners to add licenses and seat count, sync to billing and sync agreements without leaving the ConnectWise portal.

ConnectWise MSPs can save money by partnering with Pax8, Bodell said, because the integration portal is offered at no cost to them.

The next phase of platform integration will enable partners to log into the Pax8 vendor line card management consoles, according to Heddy, who said ConnectWise users are the fastest-growing segment of the company's ecosystem.

"A lot of distributors are saying they're doing integrations with the platform. All they're doing is putting their website in a little tile within the ConnectWise portal," Heddy said. "You can't really use a website that small in a tile on the screen. … We are now a tab within the ConnectWise portal so you can order through us, get instant provisioning of most products and then sync back up so you don't have to swivel back and forth."

Pax8 exclusively focuses on cloud-based enterprise software and tries to keep its line card from becoming too unwieldy because it said it values a product-savvy sales team that can effectively demo software and address partner questions.

Staying selective has become more of a challenge, Heddy noted, given the rapid release of new cloud products amid a wide-scale shift away from on-premise workloads. He said upstart cloud vendors have begun reaching out to Pax8 to express interest in joining the line card, giving the partner solutions team many more potential products to consider.

While Pax8 does plan to add more stack products to that list, however, Bodell emphasized that the distributor will "never be a mass catalog" -- finding best-of-breed cloud solutions remains the strategic focus.

"We know our products and make sure our sales team can fully demo and answer tech questions when a partner calls in – not have to call the vendor specifically for every single question," Bodell said. "I don't think most distributors can offer that. I don't think they even know some of the products they sell, really."

When it comes to size, Pax8 of course still pales in comparison to legacy distributors like Ingram Micro, Tech Data and Synnex. But what Pax8 lacks in muscle is outweighed by the high-quality service and support it offers, said Bret Meche, CEO of Opelousas, La.-based Premier Data Systems.

"Pax8 is a real personal relationship," said Meche. "They call in to check in on us. If we have any sort of problems, they own it right away. ... I can email my rep and within a few minutes I have a response back and he has somebody taking care of it."

Meche added that the deepened Pax8 ConnectWise integration has made regularly updating Microsoft Office 365 licensing agreements significantly easier for his team. The portal eases the burden placed on the employee handling the updates, he said, and keeps the company from having to constantly audit agreements.

"With the Pax8 integration, they go to it, we increase one time and it takes care of all that for us. Wow, that just saved us a lot of concern," Meche said.

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