It’s important that you do your homework first before getting into any relationship. Partnering with the wrong vendor could prove disastrous, not only for you but also for your clients, so the message here is simple — choose wisely.
Knowing what to look for when evaluating vendors can save you a lot of headaches down the road. Have a clear idea of what you need, evaluate what you’re being offered, and consider whether there is potential for collaboration, and you’ll be well on your way to a strategic partnership.
Consider the following factors if you're not sure whether a potential vendor is right for you.
Does your vendor pick up your call?
One of the top issues MSPs have with their vendors is tech support. There are vendors in the market who make it nearly impossible for you to contact them when something goes wrong (they know who they are and so do you). Usually when a problem arises, an MSP needs to resolve it quickly for their client. As with most issues in tech, time is of the essence. For instance, as you know, without prompt tech support from a vendor, your client may become vulnerable to cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. And when that happens, if a cybercriminal attacks your client during that time frame, who’s on the hook? Not your vendor (no, not at all). You are, and now it’s your reputation on the line.
Vet a potential vendor thoroughly
Remember: Vendors want your business, so make them work for it! Operate on your own time, and don’t let them push you around by making you feel like you have to buy. That’s how MSPs end up with bad vendors as partners. They don’t ask the right questions. If you’re not sure what to look for, assess the vendor’s partner program, incentives for top-performing partners, and training and educational resources. Also, understand who the vendor’s competitors are and how they compare.
Is the vendor reputable?
As the saying goes, “Reputation is everything.” If a vendor is treating MSPs unfairly, word will get around quickly — you can bet on it. There are plenty of ways MSPs communicate with one another today. Of course, there’s the circuit, the in-person networking events in the IT channel (industry associations, networking groups, and vendors, such as CompTIA, The ASCII Group, and Kaseya, hold gatherings for channel partners). It’s at these events that channel partners mingle with one another, share insights and thoughts, and attend a range of classes to learn more about industry trends, the MSP business, and available solutions in the market. Known for not holding back what’s on their mind, MSPs also go straight to Reddit to share their horror stories. Finally, there are online reviews and your own network.
Access to resources
Does the vendor you’re evaluating provide training opportunities and educational materials to its MSPs? Usually, vendors (the good ones, anyway) have resources you can access to help you with growing your business, generating leads, and marketing your services. For example, MSP360 is constantly updating its website with blog articles, white papers, and webinars on a wide range of topics, including threat and vulnerability management, sales, and overcoming cybersecurity obstacles. Additionally, last year MSP360 released its publicly available MSP University, which provides MSPs with the business and technical knowledge necessary to take their businesses to the next level. One last thought about the types of resources that vendors should provide to their MSPs: they shouldn’t be vendor-specific. They should offer resources on a variety of relevant topics for MSPs.
Selecting your next vendor doesn’t have to feel like a gamble. You can tell a lot about a vendor by paying attention to how they act with their partners.
About the author
Alexander is the head of marketing department at MSP360. He is an expert in IT marketing and has extensive knowledge of cloud storage services. He cooperates with cloud vendors, MSPs, VARs and communicates the market needs and trends to our team.
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