N-Able Develops New Self-Guided Training Tools, Elite Partner Level

The Ottawa-based company's Business e-Training Essentials are designed to let MSPs create their own training schedules and includes other assessment tools to help partners create their own managed services bundles, brochures and more, said Gavin Garbutt, CEO of N-able.

"Our real emphasis in 2009 is to drive more profitable business for partners. What we're hearing loud and clear over the last couple of years is that our [partners'] biggest challenge is not finding a piece of technology to do network or systems management, but how do they align technologies with sales, with marketing, with best practices, to win new customers. That's what we're trying to do," Garbutt said.

The company has transferred many of the processes behind its N-able University and Blueprint For Success programs into the self-guided lessons, Garbutt said.

"If they have to do it in 15-minute chunks for a week, or one full day, that's great," Garbutt said.

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Also new for N-able is a business and assessment toolkit, pricing calculator and flysheet creator to help MSPs quickly figure out what specific skills they can offer customers, how much to charge for them and how to market them to new customers.

"Even the best MSPs are losing customers that are going bankrupt, and they're not able to quickly replenish that business they're losing. We have one customer that's lost a lot of hedge-fund customers in the last 12 months, but his managed services has grown 50 percent because his sales and marketing are a well-oiled machine," Garbutt said.

For example, N-able created a Feature Catalog tool that lists 140 items that a typical MSP may provide for a customer. The tool lets partners identify which items they can offer and then helps create sellable bundles around those offerings, and helps the partners to know what gaps they may have in coverage.

Daniel Holoski, president of Yarga Technologies LLC, Reisterstown, Md., said the new self-guided initiative is a much more flexible program that will help him build his business.

"Nothing will ever match working with a live person but the pricing for that is astronomical compared to a hosted solution, and the e-training comes pretty darn close for doing what you need it to do," Holoski said.

The services builder tools are easily customizable and can save partners a great deal of time putting together offerings, he added.

"I used them to build some [marketing material] that was maybe 95 percent [finished] and added some components myself. It was way faster than doing it by hand. You could have used them off the shelf," Holoski said.

Finally, N-able has taken approximately 70 of its top partners and created an Elite partner level, which will include more detailed product and process road maps, and help to build more advanced MSP models, Garbutt said. The new Elite partners are all booking at least $1 million in managed services annual revenue, Garbutt said.

"We looked at the number of nodes under management, their service-delivery models and their productivity. All the [Elite] partners have embraced the platform, derived the productivity and efficiency gains, and developed sales and marketing models around managed services," Garbutt said.