Even before Covid, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) have been one of the fastest growing channels for SaaS vendors. New work-from-home mandates have driven the demand for outsourcing to even higher levels. But building a well-functioning Managed Service Provider channel isn’t easy. In this episode, Tony Beller, SVP Worldwide Partner Ecosystems at TIBCO, shares a wealth of experience in building MSP channels that he gained at Saleforce, ServiceNow, and Anaplan.
Here are 10 steps you can take to build and manage a high-peformance SaaS MSP channel:
- Find your niche where your technology is going to play; the vertical or sub-vertical industry and market segments your solution will serve.
- Think of how you’re going to package and price your solution to sell to the MSPs. Consider creating standardized MSP SKUs because they may use your technology differently than end customers.
- Determine how you will provision your solution to get it into the hands of your MSPs and allow the MSP to manage multiple instances.
- Make your solution easy to buy price, easy to buy, and easy to provision.
- Be prepared for your MSPs to white label your solution under their brand. You may want to have their solution labeled with “Powered by” your solution, but large MSPs may not agree to do it.
- Minimize internal channel conflict when you’re building your MSP channel by using a double comp model. On any MSP sale, pay your MSP rep who is managing the MSP and also your sales rep that owns the end customer relationship to drive collaboration.
- If your solution is more of a high price, low volume play, construct your MSP agreement so that you can track the names of the end customers.
- If you want to use deal registration to track MSP opportunities, don’t expect your large MSPs to use your deal registration system. Have your MSP partner manager enter it for them.
- Create an MSP Program with incentives to drive the behavior you are seeking. Be careful of tiered programs based on revenue levels. The large MSPs could buy in bulk and keep your product on the shelf just to reach a higher tier. Make the MSP Program part of your overarching Partner Program.
- Provide discounted, if not free, training. But charge for certifications and make them mandatory for your MSPs to make sure that whatever they’re building on your technology is solid.