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5 Things To Know About New Datto CMO Brooke Cunningham

‘My career has been entirely focused on partners and specifically driving partner growth. I’ve worked in B2B software companies, and I’ve really dedicated my career to that. Datto’s alignment to be 100 percent through partners just aligns so perfectly to my background and my passion,’ says Datto Chief Marketing Officer Brooke Cunningham.

Channel Commitment 

With “MSP” as its stock symbol, Datto has to show a consistent commitment to the channel. And the Norwalk, Conn.-based company in January did just that with the appointment of Brooke Cunningham as its new chief marketing officer.

Datto early this month brought in Cunningham, a seasoned executive with years of channel marketing experience, as the MSP platform and data protection developer’s new chief marketing officer.

Cunningham left software company Splunk, where she spent five years in partner marketing, most recently as area vice president of global partner marketing and experience. Prior to that, she spent over four years at business analytics platform developer Qlik, including time as vice president of global partner marketing, and also held lead marketing roles at CA Technologies and SAP.

Cunningham told CRN that she has a passion for the channel, one based on years of experience working with channel partners. “So having been working in the partner arena for so long, I went through the evolution of value-added resellers or resellers transitioning their business models to be managed service providers as well as some of the born-in-the-cloud-oriented type of MSPs,” she said.

Datto represents Cunningham’s first opportunity to be chief marketing officer at a channel-focused company. Here is a look at her career and what she says are her plans for the future.

Entire Career Focused On The Channel 

My career has been entirely focused on partners and specifically driving partner growth. I’ve worked in B2B software companies, and I’ve really dedicated my career to that. Datto’s alignment to be 100 percent through partners just aligns so perfectly to my background and my passion. It’s something I’m really passionate about. When I’m looking for my next career step, I want to make sure that there’s alignment to personal values. It’s something that I’m really dedicated to having: a place where I can help support employee growth and be really engaged myself. And there was so much goodness in what I saw from the culture here at Datto: commitment to employee collaboration and teamwork, the bias towards action, and orientation around doing our best work. And that really resonated with me.

First Time As CMO 

I wanted to come to a place where I saw that I could make a long-term contribution and have the opportunity to step into this exciting new role as chief marketing officer. People were key, and just seeing the talent that I got to meet with when I was interviewing, I could see there was a lot of really exciting talent that was here that had recently been brought in. And, of course, products. To me, having worked in software my whole career as a marketer, I wanted to really be able to stand behind the products that I’m promoting and supporting our partners to promote. Some of the stuff that I was excited about specifically was Datto’s expanding product portfolio.

I had been at Splunk and at prior companies through a lot of product portfolio growth. So having the opportunity to really be part of growing a portfolio of products beyond specific point products, along with the security focus that Datto has expanded into, aligned so well with my security background. I really believe security is going to continue to be such an important technology theme that our partners need to keep leaning in on. And Datto’s orientation around continuing to lead with security was super aligned with what I saw as the market needs of our partners.

Longtime Focus On MSPs 

I’ve been working with MSPs for a long, long time. ... At Splunk, just to specifically go back to my most recent role, I worked a lot with MSPs, some of which were also MSSPs. So we had in the Splunk arena a lot of use cases around IT operations. Security was a huge focus area, as well as observability. We had MSPs that serviced all of the above. We also had MSPs that focused specifically on those individual use cases. So working with large international MSPs, as well as local MSPs, and also went through the whole transition that we saw in the market. So having been working in the partner arena for so long, I went through the evolution of value-added resellers or resellers transitioning their business models to be managed service providers as well as some of the born-in-the-cloud-oriented type of MSPs.”

Ready To Help MSPs Meet Challenges 

I believe, and layering in some of my prior experience [before] Datto and an industry perspective, a lot of the MSPs we’re working with are small businesses themselves. And so I see, particularly as I take on the role of leading marketing, supporting MSPs with the tools and resources so they can be effective in things like their marketing approach to reach new customers so that they don’t have to skill up new, large marketing teams to do that work. We’re able to support them. Also, I see as product portfolios expand that this is going to be an area where they’re going to continue to want to be on the leading edge of technology. And we as the vendors, I believe, have the responsibility and onus on us to help decode that and help make sure that they’re able to very quickly stay enabled and get enabled on new products.”

Supports MSP Consolidation 

[MSP consolidation] often leads to great value for the relationship, particularly where we see market consolidation of MSPs that both carry Datto for example, or in my prior worlds had some of those scenarios. It can elevate the partnership because now there’s a bigger book of business, we can get more strategic together, we can really look for more breadth of geographical coverage or depth of product portfolio coverage. So I’ve often seen real positives come out of that. Or where two MSPs merge and one carries your products and one doesn’t, then you have the opportunity to expand to new customers with and through that new entity, which can be very exciting. ...

We actually put processes in place for how we would handle the communications and ensure all the systems and so on would merge the records so we could better serve that new joint entity quickly and effectively, and really have a positive experience for the new entity coming into the relationship with us as a vendor.

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