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Kaseya Takes A Page Out Of Datto’s Playbook To Enhance Partner Program

C.J. Fairfield

‘The basic structure of the program will stay the same, but now it’s based on your spend. That’s how Datto has always done it—you move up levels by your annual spend with Datto. Now you can combine your Datto and your Kaseya spend,’ says Gary Pica, who is heading up Kaseya’s Global Partner Program.

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Kaseya’s Gary Pica

Kaseya will be expanding its Global Partner Program to help MSPs access higher tiers and more tailored services offerings.

To do so, Kaseya executives took a page out of Datto’s partner program playbook to offer a better experience for MSPs, according to Gary Pica, president of TruMethods, a Moorestown, N.J.-based solution provider that was acquired by Kaseya in 2021.

Pica, who heads Kaseya’s partner program, said by the end of the year Kaseya wants to solidify and make sure the structure is in place for the program and get it rolled out. The goal is to also get it to partners new to the program.

“You also want to find enhancements,” Pica told CRN. “Compared to two years ago, they have different issues and needs. What are those things? What can we invest in? That will help them solve that.”

He said the program will help partners innovate in a different way, help them get into co-managed accounts and “lead them to have better businesses.”

“We want Kaseya MSPs to be the best MSPs,” he said.

Josh Zukerman, president of Oakland, Maine-based MSP Snow Pond Technology Group, believes the program’s MDF is great for larger MSPs.

MDF is another perk of the partner program to help MSPs with their marketing needs.

“As a solo shop I need to work on growing, bringing on employees first before I can use that MDF to hold a luncheon or webinar or something,” he said. “I think it would be more useful for someone who has five employees or larger to really start growing their business because now they have someone dedicated for sales or marketing that can really take the MDF and use it wisely.”

Pica spoke with CRN at DattoCon in Washington, D.C., this week to discuss the program and how it will help MSPs.

 Kaseya CEO Fred Voccola said that you will be heading the Global Partner Program, which is expanding. Why is it expanding?

The short answer is we figured out that it’s awesome and it’s one of the reasons why Datto has a very unique relationship with its customers. They connect with them, they invest in them. .... If you look at all the things, as you go up levels there’s a bunch of benefits that you get such as a higher level of service, not- for-resale … there’s a long list. But then you get up into MDF you start to get funds that you can invest in your growth. It’s one of those things that when Fred and I talked about it we really started unraveling it. We basically just said, ‘Why weren’t we doing this? This is a really good idea.’ The reason we hadn’t, I think, is because starting something like that, almost no one has it to the degree that Datto has, [and] starting it is really hard. It’s a big investment. In the beginning, it’s hard to see the exact return but now that they’ve got it to this point, investing in it, making it better and scaling it is something we can get our arms around.

Can you explain MDF and how that helps partners?

If you want to do marketing at your MSP around the solutions that you acquire from Datto, and now Kaseya, you can apply for funds. ‘I want $5,000, I want $25,000 and here’s how I’m going to use it.’ We have a board that reviews it and then approves it. Some of the bigger companies, they’re easy to give it to because they have marketing teams that we know and they can report back the ROI. The challenge that Datto has had is some of the smaller ones don’t know how to use it effectively. The reason that myself and Dan Tomaszewski [exeutive vice president of channel at Kaseya] are involved is we hit up Powered Services and it’s a team of people that enable MSPs to market and deliver better. So now [partners] can get funds and we actually can help them. We can have people that say, ‘Look, you want to do a golf outing? You want to do an event? What are the kinds of things you want to do? We’ll take you through it.’ So for them, they get the benefit of that and from the Kaseya standpoint, we know those dollars have been invested in things that we already know what the ROI is because we do it for hundreds of other MSPs already. That’s where that synergy is, between that program and what we’re already doing. When we saw what [Datto] was doing we were so impressed and when Rob [Rae’s, senior vice president of business development at Datto] team saw what we were doing with Powered Services, they were like, ‘Wow, this is awesome.’

Can you explain more about Powered Services?

It’s a team of people that are dedicated to helping MSPs be successful. They have access to really high-quality marketing information. It’s thought leadership: how to do videos, infographics. Some are product- specific to help you with a product you bought like Datto, but a lot of it is just thought leadership. So if you’re a small MSP that doesn’t have a marketing team, you can get these professional infographics and we’ll even post to your social media for you. If you’re a big company, you can get the actual files and you can change them and put your logo and save so much money to get this targeted content.

So how is the Global Partner Program expanding?

There will be two pieces in the short term. The basic structure of the program will stay the same, but now it’s based on your spend. That’s how Datto has always done it, you move up levels by your annual spend with Datto. Now you can combine your Datto and your Kaseya spend. So now, all these companies are going to qualify at higher levels by combining that. From our standpoint, the investment has to be in the people and process because now a lot more people are going to be able to take advantage of it and we’ve got to make sure that we can process them, on-board them, manage them and communicate with them. Step two will be Datto already had ideas that they had never implemented about how to make it better.

So step one between now and the end of the year, make sure it’s solid, try to get it rolled out to everybody who’s qualified now in the combined company. Step two is how do we even make it better for people.

Does the partner program more so mirror Datto or Kaseya’s program?

The partner program mirrors what Datto does. The Kaseya customers will take advantage of it but because we have our Powered Services team and content we’re going to be able to enhance it and actually make it better. The Datto customers are going to get access to things they haven’t before and the Kaseya customers are going to get access to a partner program that didn’t exist.

If a partner gets to a higher tier, what are the benefits?

You get not-for-resale copies of software that’s really useful for them to get. All these things have a cost, there’s a cost to deploy these to customers so they get that for free. As they go up, they can get higher level tier as a service. That’s really valuable. They get a ticket to DattoCon, they get VIP status. All of these little perks make it easier to do business with the company.

How do partners make money with this program?

There are two ways they make money. One is they get services like I just mentioned that they would normally buy, so it improves their bottom line immediately. And then with things like MDF, partners invest in their marketing to get more customers. In some cases, it’s customer events to get them to buy more products. They’re lowering their cost and they’re increasing their bottom line.

What do you hear most from partners and how will the program help them?

No. 1 is MSPs struggle with sales and marketing. In the past they’ve lived on referrals, but now that the market is changing not every referral is someone you’re able to sell. In other words, everyone’s having to pick a niche right now. If you’re a smaller MSP, there’s a certain kind of customer that you can be competitive with. So with that, most of them get their business from referrals. If that’s not as effective, you have to grow, you have to have a way of generating new business. The second piece is their customers aren’t paying them enough. They have to do so many more things around security and additional technology and they really struggle with getting customers to understand that the value has changed. They can use some of the funds to do programs for their existing customers to upsell them on other products and services, and that’s like a lifeline for them.

 

 

C.J. Fairfield

CJ Fairfield is an associate editor at CRN covering solution providers, MSPs and distributors. Prior to joining CRN, she worked at daily newspapers, including The Press of Atlantic City in New Jersey and The Frederick News-Post in Maryland. She can be reached at cfairfield@thechannelcompany.com.

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