At Nerdio, our mission is to empower Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to build successful cloud practices in Microsoft Azure, and one of the major investments we make as a company is to participate in MSP Peer Groups—specifically Connectwise’s IT Nation Evolve and the Taylor Business Group’s Business Improvement Groups. We find peer groups to be a valuable way to connect with partners, receive real-time feedback on our product and company strategy, and integrate in a smart way into the MSP ecosystem.
We believe every SaaS company looking to play a big role in the MSP ecosystem needs to take advantage of MSP peer groups, and in 2020 you will see us ramp up our activity manifold when it comes to these valuable ecosystem-building events. Our participation has allowed us to capture some incredible learnings to date and we’d like to share three of those with other industry vendors considering their own participation in MSP peer groups.
- You need to stick with it. I remember the first peer group we participated in not knowing what to expect, and quite frankly, not even sure what our precise pitch was going to be. It is important to realize you won’t make the progress you expect in one meeting and maybe not even two. You need to show up repeatedly and really stick with it so the participants in the peer groups take you seriously and know you are in it for the long-term. Not showing up sends a signal that your company may not be around for the long-term, and it is unlikely an MSP will bet on your technology unless they see a certain consistency from you and your company. Making a real time investment to show up and let the members know you care will take your company a long way down the path to relevance and respect from peer group members.
- You need a great value proposition. If your value proposition does not resonate with the peer group members, you are toast. This is probably the most important thing to think through before your first peer group meeting. How are you, as a SaaS vendor, going to help MSPs succeed? If you can’t answer that question, you may as well not make the investment in peer groups because you will fall flat and MSPs in the room will tune you out.
For example, at Nerdio, our value proposition is incredibly strong: we help MSPs build successful cloud practices in Microsoft Azure—something each member has at minimum been thinking about if not already planning to do. We solve a real challenge MSPs are encountering, so when we enter the room and declare this to be the challenge we are taking on as a company, the majority of participants tune in and engage with us during our session.
- You need to be genuine. The worst thing you can do when participating in a MSP peer group is to come to the room with a “know it all” mindset where you enter not willing to take feedback — or showing up as if you have the answer to everything. Peer groups are all about sharing, growing, and approaching your meetings as a vendor with a “learn it all” mindset, which will earn you immediate credibility with the members. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be confident in your approach—you need to be because you are coming in as subject matter expert. Who knows your space better than you? Striking the right balance between being confident but also humble and willing to take feedback will go a long way towards building the trust you need to win over members and continue the conversation well beyond the first meeting.
At Nerdio, we believe regular participation in peer groups is an important investment for any SaaS company looking to play an important role in the MSP ecosystem. If you are an MSP, signing up to take part in a peer group is a great way to measure yourself against others in a friendly and learning-based environment. Our investment in MSP peer groups in 2020 will increase dramatically based on the success we have had and look forward to seeing you at one soon!