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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.

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333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
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WWW: acer.com

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October 6, 2022 |

N-able Investing in Partner Success

New and existing efforts discussed by Chief Customer Officer Kevin Bury (pictured) at the vendor’s Empower event are designed to ensure partners have successful relationships with N-able, success with N-able products, and successful businesses.

Vendors proclaiming their commitment to partner success is nothing new. N-able CEO John Pagliuca, however, can explain precisely why his company is committed to your success in concrete dollars and cents terms.

“The total addressable market in our space is not identified or measured by the number of MSPs,” he told ChannelPro yesterday from the sidelines of N-able’s Empower partner event in Las Vegas. “It’s identified by the SME IT spend.” 

Or put differently, N-able shareholders don’t measure the company chiefly by how many partners it has. They’re interested in how much money small and midsize enterprises spend through those partners on N-able solutions and services. Maximizing that figure requires successful partners with the know-how to serve customers well and grow revenue rapidly.

“The more that we can help them scale, and do so efficiently, and help bring goodness to the market in the forms of security offerings or monitoring and management offerings, they can gain a bigger share of wallet from their customers and by extension, we gain bigger market share from the IT spend,” Pagliuca says.

That strategic imperative explains why N-able, back when it was still SolarWinds MSP last year, hired Chief Customer Officer Kevin Bury to lead the company’s partner success programs and gave him plenty of money to invest in those programs.

“There are now about 100 people in N-able on my team that are all exclusively focused on your success,” Bury told Empower attendees yesterday during a keynote presentation. “That was a huge investment for the company.”

Bury proceeded to outline past, present, and future evidence of that investment, which he divided into three categories: account, product, and business. The account portion of the equation, which relates to the health of the partner’s relationship with N-able, is in some ways the most strategic, according to Mike Cullen, currently N-able’s general manager of RMM and previously the company’s top partner enablement exec. Most channel pros already offer managed services these days, he observes, and therefore already have a managed services toolset. 

“It’s not the same blue ocean it was four, five, six years ago where you could call almost any service provider and only a few of them would have a platform,” Cullen notes. “We’re at a stage where most of the market’s in on a platform.”

As a result, he continues, landing new partners often requires months of patient relationship building. “So instead of this high velocity transactional [sales] model that we used to have, we’re starting to have more of a solutions model where it’s all about tracking customers for long periods of time, demonstrating value over that period when they’re in the pipeline, and showing them the value of dealing with N-able.” 

Staying close to partners after they sign on is equally critical, added Bury in a conversation with ChannelPro this week. “The number one thing that they want is a deeper relationship with us,” he said. “They want to know you care. They want to know you’re listening.”

With that in mind, N-able has supplemented an existing collection of account success activities—like forging success plans with partners, holding product planning sessions with them, and assigning them executive sponsors—with new strategic business reviews for larger partners. Introduced about a year ago, those meetings focus on two basic questions: how is your business doing and where are you in your relationship with N-able? 

Product success programs include the “head nerd” program N-able introduced in 2020 and a new series of “N-hanced Services” offering premium onboarding, premium support, and custom solutions. Intensive onsite product bootcamps, held at N-able offices, will soon begin complementing the company’s online bootcamps as well.

New programs aimed at helping partners take advantage of the N-able portfolio’s process automation capabilities are also in the works. The company already offers an “automation cookbook” with some 400 scripts. “We’re now going to take that to the next level and start to do things like automation classes to build some of that muscle for our MSPs so they understand how to do it,” Bury says.

Business success offerings designed to help MSPs grow their top and bottom lines include a business transformation program launched this February in which groups of up to 30 people get together for two days of intensive workshops on breaking down obstacles that prevent partners from thriving.

“We bring together MSPs and they talk about what they’re doing to run their operations and how they’ve been able to glean these operational efficiencies,” says Bury, who likens the sessions to peer group meetings. “I’ve been blown away at the level of collaboration.”

A recently introduced benchmarking program, offered entirely online and at no cost to partners, compares participants to peers in the industry along a variety of business and technical dimensions and then provides recommendations on raising sub-par scores.

Additional business success resources include MarketBuilder, a free demand generation library containing over 70 readymade campaigns responsible for generating more than 6,000 leads to date. A recently signed partnership lets partners offload network operations center responsibilities to outsourced service provider IT By Design too.

“You can take care of servicing your customers and making sure that you’re doing the high value-add things, while they’re handling some of the heavy lifting on the backend for you,” Bury told the audience at his keynote yesterday.

Included in that talk was an admission by Bury that N-able has some work to do itself in raising awareness of opportunities like that. “We’ve got to do a better job of helping you understand all the ways we can help you run your business and grow your businesses,” he said.


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