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I know I am about 360 days out…but put this in your list of must attend events in 2013.
Austin presents a rich night life and some great places to enjoy a wonderful meal. Dubbed “Music Capital Of The USA”, Austin is a hub of activity day or night.
It was also the home of the 2012 Dell World conference, an event that brought together many of the top PartnerDirect members, their clients, and customers of Dell. All were gathered to learn about the great innovation coming from Round Rock, throughout the partner community and from their recent strategic acquisitions.
In the MSP business, we all sell many products and services, or as Rob Betzel states, “we all sell stuff”, but we only have a few strategic partners who are in with us for the long haul. Strategic partners can be counted on one hand and they are there when you need them the most. A rush shipment, a little extra credit to see you through rough times and a team of professionals committed to the growth of your MSP business.
For me, one of the most strategic partners was Dell and they continue to this day to be a strategic partner, just in a different sense. Many of my MSP coaching and business development clients are winning and winning big having Dell in their corner.
At Dell World, I had a chance to grab a coffee with Greg Davis, Global leader of the Dell PartnerDirect program and long time supporter of the channel around the world. Over the years, Greg and I have discussed many of the happenings inside Dell and I have also solicited his opinion on how many managed service providers can continue to grow great businesses going into the New Year. This was the topic of our discussion yet again at Dell World.
Greg shared with me that Dell is a fundamentally different company than ten years ago and this was very obvious walking throughout the Austin Convention Center. Dell is focusing on becoming an end-to-end solution provider with a great mix of product, software and services. Dell, who traditionally sold computers, servers and laptops is now digging into security, cloud services and fully managed solutions and I see the opportunity for MSPs to follow the trail Dell is breaking for us.
Greg advises managed service providers to focus on expertise. Clients will pay for expertise according to Greg. This is where Dell needs the help from their partners. I agree with Greg, that no vendor has the capacity to be excellent at everything and they turn to strategic partners to help fill the void. Greg shared stories of Dell working with partners to fulfill demand with legal clients, healthcare facilities and with small business globally. As a managed services coach I agree with Greg, being a generalist will take you so far, but time and time again those MSPs who specialize in a particular technology or industry often outlast their peers that elect not to specialize.
I often see managed service providers around the world offer their knowledge and never get paid for their opinion or expertise. I tell my own clients that this needs to stop, you provide a service and you need to be paid for your knowledge. Gone are the free rides, it is great to have a colleague like Greg Davis reinforce that my thought pattern is not out to lunch on this.
Along with expertise comes vendor certification. I often have conversations with my own coaching clients about the validity of certifications in today’s world. I believe that certifications are crucial to the success of your managed services business. Be it Dell, Microsoft, Cisco or whoever your strategic partners are, you need to obtain levels of competency with their products and solutions. This will help you win new business and also gain additional leverage in their partner programs.
One of the last points Greg and I discussed during our 30 minutes together was how important it is to do business with a partner that really wants to work with you. This is an area I feel Dell excels. During my days with IT Matters, while we attempted to work with others, Dell was consistently easy to work with and there were no hurdles or barriers to entry when we were looking for a strategic partner. Dell was a great fit. They continue to offer clients of Ulistic a service second-to-none.
Thanks Greg for your friendship over the years and being a mentor to me as I continue to grow in my own consulting business and throughout life. 2013 promises to be an awesome year and having Dell as a strategic partner is a wise investment of time and resources.
Stuart Crawford serves as Creative Director and CEO with Sebring, FL and Fort Erie, ON-based Ulistic, a specialty MSP Marketing firm focused on information technology marketing and business development. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience pertaining to how technology business owners and IT firms can use marketing as a vehicle to obtain success.