Guest Column | October 21, 2019

How To Find, Engage, And Inspire MSPs

By Rob Spee, Channel Journeys Consulting

Rob Rae, Datto

Rob Rae

Vice President of Business Development, Datto


Norwalk, CT

Year Founded



At Datto, our mission is to empower the world's small and medium sized businesses with the best in enterprise-level technology.

Channel Experience

12 Years

"It's no longer about free products or discounts. That's not how the channel works these days. Of course, they love free stuff. But that's not the ultimate motivator for them. It's how much recurring revenue you're going to make them."  — Rob Rae, Vice President of Business Development at Datto

A boatload of partners have made the switch to the Managed Service Provider (MSP) model. They have transformed their one-off break-fix sales model to a full-blown recurring-revenue contract-based services business. Now the MSP is the one that is selling the product. They want to white labeling it and maintain control of the actual end user for the entire relationship. That means getting comfortable with the fact that you may never know who your end customer is.

I discussed these new challenges with Rob Rae, the VP of Business Development at Datto on my Channel Journeys podcast. Rob is an expert in MSPs having built Datto’s business that is sold 100 percent through MSPs. We discuss the story of Datto, the secrets to their channel success, and how to find, engage, and inspire MSPs.

Key Take-Aways

  • MSPs come in every size, shape and color. There are those that have a very small number of employees servicing a few large accounts to having many employees servicing small accounts.
  • The one consistent thing across the board for all the varying types is that they all want recurring revenue and they want to own their accounts.
  • Since there is no "MSP search engine", a good way to find new MSPs is through industry tradeshows.
  • MSPs are much more concerned with recurring revenue. During the sales process, you must be able to show them that you are focused on their success in growing a recurring-revenue business.
  • As far as retention goes, a huge part of this is making sure you're providing phenomenal support to your MSPs at every step.

Take Action — One Thing You Can Do Today

Take a close look at your channel program for MSPs. Are you making it easy for your partners to white label, own the customer, and generate profitable recurring revenue? Listen to the complete Channel Journeys podcast to learn more of Rob Rae’s secrets to success.

Rob Spee, Channel Journeys ConsultingAbout The Author

Rob Spee is founder and CEO of Channel Journeys Consulting and host of the Channel Journeys podcast. Rob applies his channel expertise to help clients create and execute channel strategies to accelerate revenue growth. His global channel experience spans from building channels at startups to vendors and distributors like Arrow, BMC, Carbonite, and SAS. Follow Rob on Twitter and LinkedIn.