Managed Service Provider (MSP) Programs

Powering Up Your MSP Programs - Channel Mechanics

Sue Heintz, Channel Management Professional   |  

calednar Channel Mechanics19th Sep 2019

Powering Up Your MSP Programs

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– Enhancements and Modifications to Consider


A prior post I wrote (The Top Four Issues Vendors Face When Working with an MSP) outlined some key learnings from vendors who have successfully guided their MSP program relationships through the lifecycle – from initial development through to commercialization. Subsequently, this post now looks at some best practices to make your partner program more relevant to MSP’s.


The underlying assumptions are that MSP relationships are more complex, more technical and more resource-intense than traditional partner relationships. The following are some key learnings from my experience as a channel professional.


3 Steps for Comprehensive MSP Program Management


1. Establish a Formal MDF Funding Plan for your MSP Program

  • Allocate specific MDF funds to key accounts. This could include prospects that are well into the sales process.
  • Hold the MSP program account manager responsible for development, execution and results of the joint marketing plan, which should be co-funded by the MSP.
  • Provide guidelines for MSP spending based on the specific needs of the MSP. This could include such support as demand creation, training, eco-partnering, etc.
  • Make sure that the channel marketing team provides marketing program support to the MSP account managers. If appropriate, leverage campaigns developed for other channels.
  • Fund programs that link MSP’s with the reseller channel in their region.


2. Create MSP Specific Benefits within the Broader Partner Program

  • Include standard benefits such as logo usage, success stories, sales tools, web portal access  and event participation etc.
  • Incorporate more “technical” components into the program for MSP’s who need and value a deeper technical relationship. These benefits can include:

– Benefits that facilitate getting the joint solution into production

– Regularly scheduled technical briefings covering product roadmap, migration, etc.

  • Focus on account specific joint sales planning and execution
  • After that, offer early access to beta programs with joint customers. When the new offer is released, the announcement contains both the MSP and the customer success story.


3. Establish Formal, On-Site Support for MSP’s to Help Them through the Lifecycle

There are two types of support to consider:

  • Marketing Support to build a detailed go-to-market plan, build custom sales tools, train sales resources, and develop local partners and channels.
  • Technical/Operations Support to integrate the solution into the MSP, plan and train operations support, deploy the pilot and scale.


Allocating and funding of the resources needed to deliver these benefits can be done via sales carve-outs or MSP revenue commitment. In conclusion, implementation and ongoing management of these MSP program best practices has never been easier, thanks to Channel Mechanics’ comprehensive suite of channel automation program management tools. These range from MDF program management to a variety of programs designed to drive and support channel-specific behavior – including incentive programs, reward programs and promotions programs. Vendors who want to power up their MSP partner relationships will find that, once the necessary steps have been defined, Channel Mechanics can be a valued partner in execution.


To learn more on how market leading vendors automate and manage their channels, contact Channel Mechanics today and start making your channel deals more profitable.


Further Reading

  1. What Channel Partners Want Most from You. Hint: It’s not Channel Margin!
  2. Five Things Channel Leaders Need To Do To Add Value in 2019
  3. The Evolving Channel Partner Landscape
  4. Kenneth Fox discusses the delicate relationship between VARs, MSPs and Vendors 
  5. The Evolving Channel Partner Landscape



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