At the 15th annual IT Sales and Marketing Boot Camp, held in Nashville last week, Technology Marketing Toolkit CEO Robin Robins announced a rebranding as part of a new, broader vision for the IT marketing and sales consulting firm aimed at helping managed service providers develop aspects of their business beyond marketing. Also announced was the new TMT spokesperson for 2022 and winner of the annual Better Your Best Contest, David Javaheri, president and CEO of Waltham, Mass.-based Direct IT.
According to Robins, the rebranding from Technology Marketing Toolkit to TMT reflects the firm’s expanded scale and ambitions. “We really are a team now, it’s not just me,” she told the audience during an opening night keynote address. “I have a much bigger vision, and this is something I think that all of you have to think about. If you don’t have a bigger vision for your company, for what you can accomplish, who you can impact, change that you can make, you’re not going to be successful in business.”
Robins was quick to joke to the approximately 1,000 in-person attendees, though, “That doesn’t mean I’m going away. You’re still stuck with me.”
As part of the rebranding, Robins announced MSP Launch Academy, a new 24-month membership for startups and small MSPs with less than $500,000 in revenue that includes tools, services, and coaching across all disciplines of the business. The Technology Marketing Toolkit will no longer be sold as a product, but comes included as part of the MSP Launch Academy.
Robins also announced a slate of “experts in residence,” MSP business owners and industry thought leaders, who will be helping to guide the member offerings. Mike Bazar, CEO of Bazar Solutions, in Lubbock Texas, and Will Nobles, CEO of Atlanta-based Vector Choice, will be working with the MSP Launch Academy; Darren Patoni, president of FullScope IT, in Gilbert, Ariz., will be working with Accelerators Club; and Paul Cissel, CEO of Growth Caddie, will be working with the Producers Club.
In addition, John DiJulius of The DiJulius Group will be building out customer experience courseware for members, and Greg Crabtree, accountant and author of Simple Numbers, will continue his relationship with TMT.
In her opening night address, Robins highlighted statistics from TMT’s customer database and other studies, including ChannelPro’s 2022 State of the Channel Survey, which found MSPs largely optimistic about growth for the year ahead. That M&A activity continues to be brisk, with private equity money pouring in, is evidence that “you guys have a good business, so you should feel good about this,” she said. “You have a huge total addressable market; long-term sticky, recurring revenue; high margins; and there is clearly a growing demand” for outsourced IT services.
At the same time, Robins outlined three challenges for MSPs: eroding margins due to inflation, labor shortages (which are driving up salaries), and competition from “super MSPs”—larger, private equity-backed companies or those that are growing by acquisition or merger.
“They’re aggressively buying market share, and they’re targeting their customers and they have big marketing budgets,” she said. “They’ve got big sales team and they have the ability to really heavily invest in the operations and new client acquisitions. So the big question you’ve got to think about right now, today, is if they come into your town, if they come into your marketplace, and they come after your customers, can you compete? That’s the question now.”
Part of the answer, Robins continued, is taking advantage of three opportunities, some of which she spoke about with ChannelPro last month: growing demand from midsize companies looking for co-managed IT, advanced cybersecurity, and compliance as a service. “What I am seeing with MSPs, how they’re using compliance to sell managed services, to sell cybersecurity, to sell people a complete stack. … You’ve got to get out after this, you’ve got to learn it,” she said. “If you don’t embrace this, you’re going to have a really tough time competing with larger MSPs. That’s how they’re going to take your customers. CMMC is not going to go away. HIPAA is still out there. PCI compliance is going to get tougher. This is the golden opportunity.”