Channel lessons from the 2020 Summit: Experts deliver insights for MSPs

Channel lessons from the 2020 Summit: Experts deliver insights for MSPs

As I mentioned in my recap of the Acronis Global Cyber Summit 2020, we had a tremendous group of speakers who participated in the Channel and MSP track. In addition to the keynotes and panels that were offered, we asked several MSP thought leaders and influencers to present live workshops during the 2020 Summit.

The goal of these workshops was to balance the high-level thinking that some of the other sessions would present with practical advice that partners could immediately take action on.

Here are some of the highlights from each of these workshops that I thought – as a former MSP myself – were of particular note.

Karl Palachuk Talks MSPs at the Summit

Given the rapid pace of change in the channel – in terms of technology, regulations, and the new normal of the COVID-19 pandemic – Karl Palachuk ran a workshop called Stop Selling New Stuff the Old Way where he worked directly with attendees on transforming their businesses. Specifically, he examined what has changed for them and how they can evolve to meet those changes. You can watch him outline the changes in the channel at the 19-minute, 40-second mark of the recording.

Karl Palachuk speaks to MSPs at #AcronisCyberSummit

The part I found most interesting was during the live Q&A session, when the group talked openly about the business challenges they were facing. A key insight for today’s MSP was when the workshop revisited the age-old conversation about how firing clients can be a great thing for your business. It’s true and you can hear what the consensus was for yourself by jumping to the 1:20:36 mark of the recording, which is available for free until December 20 here.

Amy Babinchak at Acronis Global Cyber Summit

Amy Babinchak inspires MSPs

Amy Babinchak of Harbor Computer Services kicked off our workshop Don’t Become Obsolete! Learn How to Build a Security-First Managed Service Business with a statement that I loved because it was so on-the-nose and frank.

“Every year and every time there is a change in technology, we hear about how many MSPs are exiting this business. The reality is that they were going to exit anyway.” She explained, “They got old, they boxed themselves into a technology corner by deciding not to learn anything anymore, they didn’t want to support home offices when everybody went home for COVID…they decided that they were not going to be changing and essentially they stopped evolving.”

This couldn’t be a truer statement! We’ve heard the same predictions every year, the pundits say that 50% of the MSP Channel is going away this year. But the truth is, our channel has evolved this way since the beginning: there are always MSPs exiting and entering the business. What COVID validated finally is that the MSP model is the most resilient model.

In fact, this was echoed in Jay McBain’s keynote when he showed how hardware sales are down 50% during the healthcare crisis, while the MSP segment was down only 1%.

The caution for MSPs, however, is that while the model is resilient, Amy points out your business cannot be resilient if you refuse to learn, change, and evolve.

Erick Simpson on selling cybersecurity

Next was MSP guru Erick Simpson’s workshop on selling modern security services to the enterprise. He started off by giving us some great stats on how big the cyber protection opportunity is and how service providers can position themselves to win in today’s market.

Beginning at the 9-minute mark, Erick provided practical advice on how MSPs should think about approaching their clients and prospects about the realities of cybersecurity – regardless of the organization’s size.

Erick Simpson at Acronis Global Cyber Summit

Erick then took us on a deep dive into how to position, pitch, and sell cyber protection against today’s ever-evolving threat landscape. It was an informative, unique look that you can replay here.

Rayanne Buchianico makes “cents” for MSPs

The workshop How Modern MSPs Maximize Profits had ABC Solutions’ Rayanne Buchianico diving into the business of being in business. Talk about a practical workshop that delivered real, actionable insights.

Rayanne worked directly with partners on the basics of the recurring revenue financial model and then drove the importance home by highlighting some great tips and tricks that attendees can use to manage their financials. Just as importantly, she detailed red flags that MSPs should look for on a daily basis while managing your business.

Rayanne Buchianico helps MSPs make 'cents' of finances

Rayanne focused squarely on best practices and delivered a solid framework that any MSP can use to manage their business simply by using a “read, measure, solve” approach. The chat with attendees was lively as well, with partners learning what healthy means and even what labor costs should look like for a healthy company (at the 1:08:44 mark). In responding to a question, she noted that labor costs of 42% is way too high, and recommended MSPs stay closer to 35% -- but definitely under 40%.

Check out her full workshop for all of the financial tricks to keep your business going.

Final thought

There were several more valuable sessions offered for IT and MSP channel pros at the Acronis Global Cyber Summit 2020, and they’re available for free until December 20. If you’re short on time, though, these workshops are definitely worth the time to ensure you’re able to meet the needs of your clients, while ensuring the future of your organization.