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MSP360 Channel Chief: What We’re Doing Is Disruptive

C.J. Fairfield

‘What we are doing, what I‘m doing, within MSP360 is disruptive,’ says Katie Bach, global director of channel operations at MSP360. ‘It’s testing many of the ways they have historically operated. In a few short months we‘ve developed a world-class program and it’s built for the long term.’

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Pittsburgh-based software firm MSP360 is now a full-service IT platform and disrupting the market now more than ever, said Katie Bach, the company’s global director of channel operations.

Bach, who took on the position as channel chief in June, will be leading the next growth phase for the company’s channel partner program and will guide its future channel-focused offerings.

“What we are doing, what I’m doing, within MSP360 is disruptive,” she told CRN. “It’s testing many of the ways they have historically operated. In a few short months we’ve developed a world-class program and it’s built for the long term.”

One such way is the rollout of their latest platform Deep Instinct which allows MSPs and businesses to prevent sophisticated malware attacks, including ransomware, zero-day exploits and fileless malware.

Bach has more than 12 years of sales and marketing experience and was most recently the vice president of branding at PartnerEdge, a channel strategy and marketing consultancy. She also oversaw the development and channel rebranding efforts at Cisco Systems and helped expand their partner ecosystem by more than 20 percent.

CRN spoke to Bach about her role at MSP360, advances in their partner program and how MSP360 is helping partners take their business to the next level.

You’re going to lead the next growth phase of MSP360s partner program. Can you tell me more about that?

My role is to take extensive channel efforts that have been in place supporting thousands of worldwide partners already and provide a structure that delivers valuable assets to them. Growing our channel program begins with a quality-over-quantity approach. Every partner manages a number of vendor relationships and we make the relationship easy and mutually beneficial. One way we achieve this is activities that our marketing team creates. They have thousands of venues or business leads we share each month with our partners. Additionally, we deliver industry-leading sales support through our partner account team, raising our close percentage on new transactions.

How do partners make money with the program?

We have offered, within our program, separate different levels of partnership. In that level of partnership, we can offer a certain amount of margin up to 45 percent off depending on what level of partner you are. Then the partners are able to set what they‘re reselling the price for. We do give them our MSRP and suggest that price but otherwise they are they are able to set that price for themselves.

Besides the partner program, what are some other projects you’re currently working on?

I think this is a good opportunity to mention that MSP360 just introduced a cybersecurity arm of our business. We’re pushing that towards partners, but my number one goal is to maximize partner performance across the board. We have over 7,000 worldwide partners and realize each one can do more from discovering why a partner is successful to why one is underperforming. It’s about understanding their business and then applying that learning to help us find a mutual path to success. So once discovered, I can replicate that and with other partners begin to lift the program performance at scale.

Can you double down on that cybersecurity arm? What does that entail?

It‘s called Deep Instinct and we just rolled it out two weeks ago. It’s a deep-learning based anti-malware platform. I like to use the analogy of if somebody’s getting ready to rob your house, this product will capture them before they even come in the front door. They know that they‘re there. It’s a very exciting move for MSP360 making us a full platform as well as broadening our IT platform.

What are your thoughts on all the M&A going on in the channel right now?

It opens an opportunity for us to have discussions with partners who are uncertain. It gives us a chance to jump in and really figure out how to broaden that relationship with respect to their current vendors and channel strategy.

What is your biggest challenge right now? What keeps you up at night and how do you plan on tackling it?

I believe the greatest challenge is establishing and maintaining mind share. There are so many alternatives and feature differentiation is often lost, so how you engage with those partners can be your true unique value proposition.

Convincing organizations and understanding their why from a partner perspective is vital to success. Partners often believe that their umbrella brand carried over. However, partners expect more from their vendors and need to develop an emotional connection that transcends with what the technology delivers.

What are you hearing from partners? What do they want from vendors?

They have a methodical approach to marketing. They’re not just relying on a vendor to bring leads but creating tactical messages that tell the story about the solution and how to uniquely deliver it. I also believe that no matter how large the partner is, designating a person internally who manages vendor relationships is critical to streamlining that communication. At MSP360 each of our partners have a dedicated partner account manager and they will handle all of those issues.

Where are you placing your bets in terms of industry trends in 2023?

Technology seems to evolve at breakneck speeds. The way in which the channel operates remains a bit behind in the times, in my opinion. I‘m focused on delivering innovative ways that our partners can engage us and close opportunities efficiently, from education to sales enablement. My focus is on simplifying how our partners can leverage MSP360 to achieve success. So my target is earning and building mindshare with each partner.

What can we look forward to from MSP360?

I’m happy to say that we are a full IT management platform today. For us, it’s about the MSP and managed support and protecting the end user’s environment. We offer backup to RMM to desktop management and now cybersecurity. We also have full enterprise capacity and we are more than just a backup solution, and our partners have very much embraced that. They know that they can earn more with MSP360 than any other vendor and with ease of implementation and support we hope to provide them with peace of mind.

What makes MSP360 better than other vendors? 

We are a full IT management platform. We offer the most competitive products and prices on the market today. We have a platform that brings IT organizations with limited internal capacity and acumen a great option. We are also scaled to the enterprise. We have strategic technology partnerships with AWS, Wasabi and NetApp and our platform can be right size and deliver uncommon value to organizations of all sizes.   

Learn More: Managed Security
CJ 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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