IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

9 Questions for 2 Channel Superstars

Channel pros Peter Melby and Steve Hall share first-person thoughts on the keys to winning big in managed and cloud services. By ChannelPro

AT A RECENT ONLINE SUMMIT EVENT, ChannelPro asked two of the smartest readers we know to sound off on the secrets to their success, the state of the industry, and the future of IT. Here are their answers to our questions.

Peter Melby is CEO of Greystone Technology, a Denver-based MSP and six-time Inc. 5000 honoree. Peter’s leadership at Greystone has led to 17 consecutive years of growth.

Q: Your company has achieved something like 40% growth multiple years in a row. What are some of the keys to that accomplishment?

A: [Growth] comes from the core of the organization. It’s about building a healthy ecosystem. So we have a tripod of success. The three legs of the tripod are client satisfaction, employee engagement, and profitability. And so when we look at our growth plan and we look at our opportunities in the market, we are focused on how do we grow in a way that still creates and balances the stability across all of those things. And when we have a hundred people pushing our growth plan, instead of just a sales team, the momentum is so much greater.

Q: How have you built a company culture that contributes to growth?

A: We started with the idea that if we treat people well and we listen to them, we’re going to have a great experience [and] business should be relatively easy, because people will want to work for us and they’ll in turn know how to treat their clients …

That simplicity worked really well until we got to probably eight people. Then we started to realize that I couldn’t see everything that was happening anymore. I didn’t have all the specific direct relationships. And so we did what a lot of people do, and we started figuring out other ways to try to build a culture …

The lesson that we learned is that things like social outings and unlimited vacations and a good benefits plans and a foosball table and beer in the fridge, they don’t actually build culture. They’re fun, and we have all those things. There’s nothing wrong with it. But it’s not a replacement for the fact that culture at its core is human.

And so we focus on a human nature-based culture … I do not expect my employees to care more about my company than they do about themselves and their own interests. I work to align what we want as a company with what our employees want individually, so that we have a common mission.

Q: Some MSPs who specialize in vertical industries, like restaurants, for example, really suffered last year due to the pandemic. Is vertical specialization still the right strategy for channel pros?

A: Verticalization brings familiarity, which brings some benefit to clients in specific industries …What I think is the right move in a lot of cases is to pick a few industries so that there is diversity, but [you] get that key knowledge … We have a lot of diversity [so] we don’t have the market risk that some people saw when COVID started, but we still are able to really engage and impact organizations the way that we need to.

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