In today’s opening presentation at the MSP University Bootcamp, Shari Marion-Hoff outlined key statistics and best practices for successful collaborative projects. According to the CEO of hawkeye Channel, a recent survey showed 75% of channel providers had partnered on at least one venture in order to provide a complete solution for one of their customers. In these cases collaboration allowed the business to scale, but access to new markets and customers is another common reason that solution providers work collectively. As projects increase in complexity and support needs, a variety of skills and abilities are needed to deliver complete solutions effectively and efficiently.
Partnering with another VAR or MSP allows regional and specialty firms to expand their geographic reach and gain expertise in other areas without adding employees or stretching their teams too thin. By collaborating, IT providers can expand their customer footprint and increase the potential for future referrals and leads. Marion-Hoff also addressed the challenges of partnering in the IT channel, including the amount of work and processes required to ensure success. Both collaborators must agree on project procedures and properly communicate progress as deadlines approach. That isn’t easy unless the steps are agreed upon prior to the start of a venture. The next challenge is to determine which provider is in control. “You need to know upfront who manages that customer so clear communication and responsibilities are well defined,” says Marion-Hoff. Having a so-called “one throat-to-choke” is a necessary thing for many customers, helping them assign responsibility and know who to call when they have needs or concerns.
The survey not only illustrated the challenges, but the significant business results from collaboration. These benefits include 33% of partners who report an increase in the number of deals and 16% of respondents who indicated larger deal sizes. 62% see these trends continuing over the next 5 years. With the assistance of a specialized platform, such as hawkeye’s Partner Conduit Network (PCN), collaborative efforts become much easier. This technology allows channel partners to meet the changing demands of their customers for more comprehensive solutions. PCN also connects vendors and their partners, letting them collaborate with others inside and outside of their respective businesses.
PCN is a secure website where channel partners can register opportunities and connect with other credentialed partners. It allows you to rate previous partners and research high quality potential partnerships. PCN also manages vendor partner program benefits for you; a multi-vendor plan that allows you to aggregate earnings across multiple manufacturers. This streamlined platform eliminates administrative burden on your staff and their “Collaboration Currency” lets providers generate collective benefits from more vendor programs.