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April 30, 2024 |

EDITOR’S NOTEBOOK: The Inside Scoop on Robin Robins’ 2024 Bootcamp

ChannelPro Executive Editor Jonathan Browning shares his account, in his own words, about the sales principles, vibrant theatrics, and power narratives of the recent Robin Robins Bootcamp.

I first came across the name Robin Robins when I was leading marketing for TCG Network Services, an MSP out of Framingham, MA. At the time, I didn’t have much context for her or her company. So, I asked TCG Co-founder John Stone what he knew about her and the Technology Marketing Toolkit (TMT) brand.

“I respect her hustle,” he said, smiling, before ducking into a meeting. The way he phrased that stuck with me. Stone valued determination and he obviously saw a lot of that in Robins.

I checked out her website, social media, and YouTube videos to learn more. There was plenty of flash — lots of charisma and instantly recognizable red hair. But the sales and marketing principles that she shared were sound.

Executive Editor Jonathan Browning in front of an MSP Success poster

Executive Editor Jonathan Browning in front of an MSP Success poster

More importantly, the right caveats were always there. These results are not typical. Your mileage may vary. What you get out of this is proportional to what you put into it.

When I flew to Nashville, TN, on April 2 to attended this year’s IT Sales and Marketing Boot Camp, it was my first Robin Robins event. I hoped for even more insight — and she delivered.

Theatrics Aside

The opening night had plenty of pomp and circumstance, much like last year’s Raiders of the Lost Ark-themed event. Robins’ events always lean heavily into a theme. This year, it was a homage to the Austin Powers movies. The event tagline — emblazoned on just about everything — was “Robin Robins International Master of Marketing.”

As I watched a stage performer dressed as Dr. Evil present a monologue, I wondered if it would all tie back into managed services. The actor did make a joke about cybersecurity, which was timely, given that the hotel and conference center experienced a cyberattack just days before the event.

Dr. Evil presents at Robin Robins Bootcamp

Dr. Evil presents from the main stage at Robin Robins’ Bootcamp

After Robins’ introduction, it was a straightforward lecture on sales and marketing best practices. She talked about the Pareto Principle, often called the 80/20 rule, an economics concept named after the Italian researcher Vilfredo Pareto.

Everyone wants to grow, she said. But the vast majority of individuals and businesses are stuck. They occupy the bottom of a “wealth pyramid,” either struggling or in poverty.

“One of the major reasons MSPs fail to grow is because they grossly underestimate the difficulty of the task. They fall short on sufficient activity and effort to achieve the results they desire,” she said.

It requires both personal and professional sacrifices to succeed. Those that make it into the top 20% create strong, repeatable processes and stick with them. They build networks or join groups that help them stay disciplined. It’s a daily grind; that’s what it takes, according to Robins.

She also spoke extensively about the power of positivity, comparing success in managed services to a successful weight loss strategy. Stop making excuses and set achievable goals, she said. “Saying, ‘If I only could,’ is so weak, man. Try saying, ‘I will,’” she said. She went on to ask rhetorically, “Where are your goals? Are they written down? Are you reviewing them every single day? Are you on track or not? How are you measuring success?”

A Big Announcement

Website enhancement slide from Robin Robins

Features and benefits of a website built by the Robin Robins team.

Robins dropped a big announcement during the event: an enhanced website offer for Accelerator-level attendees, limited to 20 participants. Although website development for members isn’t new, the exclusive offer was, in Robins’ words, a complete package. In addition to the bells and whistles of a good website — such as speed, search engine optimization, and advanced analytics — Robins’ highlighted the incorporation of StoryBrand, a marketing methodology becoming increasingly popular in the web development industry.

In essence, StoryBrand positions a customer as a story character. They have a problem that needs solving and they need a guide, in this case an MSP, to overcome that challenge. The guide offers solutions and a call to action that results in success and helps avoid the negative consequences of either inaction or embracing a lesser solution.

“The creation of your story, your content, and copy, is really critical,” Robins explained. “That’s what makes the site really sing, that makes it work.”

MSP Energy and the Search for Accountability

In addition to attending breakout and main stage presentations, I tried to connect with as many MSPs and vendors as possible during Bootcamp.

The vendor consensus: It was highly engaging. “Robin and her team always deliver an excellent event,” said Greg Jones, vice president of business development, EMEA for Kaseya.

Jones then pivoted to talk about the strength of managed services compared to previous years, as well the strong appetite MSPs have for new, better, stronger relationships, not just with their vendors but each other. That uptick is visible across industry events, according to Jones.

When it comes to the Robin Robins marketing approach, MSPs I spoke with said the key lessons were spot on. What’s often missing is the time and energy necessary to turn those best practices into a routine. The way to stay on target, they said, was peer accountability groups, which TMT facilitates.

“The power is in networking. Connecting with other MSPs really expanded our footprint so we can give good service no matter where our companies are located,” said MSP Eric Shorr, president and CEO of Secure Future Tech Solutions.

Learning to Respect the Hustle

When I think back on what Stone said about Robins years ago, the word “hustle” perfectly reflects the recipe for success that attendees and Robin herself were describing. Wow factor is great for attracting clients, but it’s discipline and focus that keeps a business growing.

That’s good life advice, too. When a person sets a goal, it takes sacrifice to achieve it. That often means relying on support from people who have been in your shoes, and graciously offering your own time and wisdom in return.

At the end of the day, each goal is either achieved or it isn’t. No amount of excuse-making can turn a loss into a win.

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