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How MSPs and Channel Partners Can Work Together to Grow
December 16, 2020 Macy Vonderschmidt

How MSPs and Channel Partners Can Work Together to Grow

Posted in Blog

How MSPs and Channel Partners Can Work Together to Grow

Channel Partners seeking to add more value to their client’s can leverage the power of an MSP to grow faster and improve Customer Experience for their clients

Before we get into Managed Services and Channel Partner Responsibility, it is important to brush up on the definition of a Managed Service Provider. Gartner.com defines an MSP as a provider that delivers services, such as network, application, infrastructure and security, via ongoing and regular support and active administration. In NETRIO’s case, we deliver these services on customers’ premises and our own data center that we call the NOC.

Last week, we spoke in depth on how Channel Partners can successfully sell White Label Managed Services. This week, we will dive into what the relationship with an agent looks like and where the responsibility falls within the partnership. If you have missed our Blog Posts in our #whiteboardwednesday series, make sure to read those to get a full understanding of the onboarding/offboarding process, contract negotiations, outsourced communication and more. To check out last week’s video and more, follow NETRIO on YouTube. 

Managed Service Process

In this week’s episode, Mike Cromwell and Brian DeVault discussed the Managed Service Process and where the responsibility lies for each party. Below, you will see the whiteboard color coordinated to show who owns which responsibility.

What Does Working With A Partner Look Like?

A partner can mean an agent, a trusted advisor, an IT consultant, or value added reseller. We have even some MSPs sell as an agent, so it is a broad term. In more simple terms, this means NETRIO will remain the contracting entity. Everything will be billed by NETRIO, they contract with NETRIO, and orders are processed by NETRIO. This also includes all of the management responsibilities. However, NETRIO will be outsourcing the sales and the management of certain capabilities to an agent who’s going to be paid by NETRIO.

In the example color-coded above, the partner-owned activities are heavily weighted towards the front end of the sales process. The color grey represents everything that is jointly owned. This is where we will be working with the partner mainly through the sales process through submission of the orders to make sure it is done correctly. After this step, it is handed off to the NETRIO team to do the heavy lifting of the process. Each partner relationship is different, but some agents will want to be involved in steps beyond the sales process.

Importance of Following the Process The MSP Provides

If the MSP has a system in place, it is in everyone’s best interest to follow the process. It works out best when the partner is able to use the templated documents that we provide. If everything is followed to plan and the MSP has a good system in place for partners, it is a well-oiled machine. The end goal is always a clean handoff of roles and responsibilities, so it is critical that this is adhered to during the course of the process and everybody will benefit from the outcome.

Each agent will be different and the graph above will show places where most agents will step in the most. Some agents may own the customer relationship a little more than in other arrangements. But having a solid baseline (like the above color-coded chart) will allow the partner to participate in a few more of the activities or lean a little heavier in one area. 

Advice for Partners

NETRIO’s advice for channel partners is to really leverage the MSP’s Channel Team to really learn the process. Typically, after three engagements, most channel partners really understand the process and understand the resources at their disposal. The relationship will grow more solid with time and communication. Historically for NETRIO, once you get to five customers that have been set up, they’re pretty self-sufficient on not only the stuff you see here green, but some of the things you see here in grey.

This blog post is part of NETRIO’s weekly White Board Wednesday series. Follow along on Linkedin and YouTube each week as Brian and Mike discuss use cases, new technology, and trends. The goal is to provide insights for enterprise customers and channel partners, trying to solve complex problems using technology.