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Guide to Managed Service Provider Partners (MSPs)

Over the past few decades, effectively leveraging technology is no longer just an advantage but has become table stakes. As a result, most SMBs have begun working with managed service providers (MSPs) instead of internal IT teams. 

The shift to partnering with MSPs was particularly accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic when service provider organizations helped SMBs realign their technology to run their businesses remotely. This article will explore the ins and outs of MSPs, including who partners best with these organizations and how MSPs can help tech providers grow.

How Do MSPs Work?

To understand the value of partnering with an MSP, it’s essential to explore how they support customers. Customers who work with MSPs instead of employing an in-house team experience a few benefits, such as increased flexibility, cost savings, and advanced support.

  • Flexibility — adjust services monthly without needing to hire or fire anyone. Additionally, MSPs can leverage on-call and international team members to provide 24/7 customer service.
  • Affordability — typically, an MSP is more affordable than hiring an in-house team.
  • Tailored level of support — companies don’t need a top-tier expert for every project. By working with an MSP, they can leverage the right level of expertise when needed.


Who Partners Well With MSPs?

MSPs work best with tech and service providers, although each MSP’s IPP will differ based on their specific goals. Partnering with a managed services provider may be an excellent option for your organization if you:

  • Provide a tech solution to SMBs or growing businesses with a tight or variable budget.
  • Have a solution that works best when deployed with the help of consultants.
  • Require support to scale.

Consider a large-scale example to understand how MSPs benefit technology and service providers. IBM has a robust Managed Service Provider Network. Due to the complex nature of managing network infrastructure, operating systems, and application delivery models, SMBs often cannot leverage the full power of IBM’s suite of solutions alone. 

Since hiring an entire IT team is out of the question for these organizations, working with an MSP allows the purchasing organization to realize the full business value of IBM’s solutions. MSPs are at an advantage because they don’t need to build the technology solutions themselves. Instead, they implement them and provide guidance for success.

Overall, the global managed services market is expected to exceed $300 billion by 2027. Valued at $161.37 billion in 2021, this is an optimal time to start collaborating with MSPs.

Successful MSP Partner Programs

Consider the following successful MSP partner programs for inspiration.

AWS Managed Service Provider Program

Naturally, AWS has a sizable partner program to accompany their line of web services. MSPs in the AWS network support customers in the end-to-end implementation of AWS solutions within the cloud-transformation journey.

LogicMonitor MSP Program

In 2021, LogicMonitor was named Best MSP Partner Program in the 2021 MSP Innovation Awards. LogicMonitor’s MSPs specialize in disaster recovery, device and server management, and cloud migration services.

Druva’s MSP Program

IT and security servicer providers like Net-Tech and Harbor Solutions have successfully partnered with Druva

Optanix Partner Program

Optanix is an IT operations management software and managed services provider, enabling partners to effectively manage complex enterprise and service provider environments.

Tips for Successfully Partnering with MSPs

Consider a few critical steps for success when partnering with MSPs.

Set clear goals

To succeed when partnering with an MSP, set goals early, revisit your progress often, and ensure you’re both on the same page about the timeline for key milestones.

Depending on your organization’s maturity, you may decide to focus on milestones related to:

  • Customer retention rates
  • Average customer lifetime value
  • Adoption across solutions

Meanwhile, your MSP partner is likely to focus on:

  • MRR or ARR
  • Customers under contract
  • Total managed seats
  • Profitability

Determine a budget

Depending on your organization’s size and maturity, your budget will vary. Decide how much you can afford to compensate MSPs and the desired payment model. For example, you might provide platform discounts and per-license kickbacks. 

You may also consider implementing MSP partner tiers, where partners receive additional benefits and increased compensation as they reach 

Conduct onboarding

You should have a straightforward process for onboarding MSP partners. Conduct org mapping and thorough partner onboarding to train each team and implement technology. As with any other partner, provide access to your partner portal so MSPs can easily access your sales and marketing resources, training modules, and program information anytime. 

Nurture the relationship

All partnerships require nurturing. Leverage your PRM to stay in close contact with your MSPs. Automate regular outreach, such as account updates and platform improvements. Set up regular check-ins for your teams to connect with existing customers and prospects in the pipeline. 

If you choose to implement partner tiers, your top-level partners should get your highest level of focus, including extra resources, early notice on product updates, and more frequent check-ins.

Grow with MSPs

The global MSP market is expected to scale significantly in the coming years, making it a prime opportunity for technology companies to partner with these organizations. MSPs allow SMBs to get more out of technology solutions without scaling their team. Tech providers benefit from the increased customer retention, lifetime value, and loyalty MSPs drive.

Allbound’s PRM helps you scale your channel of partners — including MSPs — with an always-accessible content library, co-branded campaign templates, training materials, and more. Discover how Allbound can help you partner with MSPs successfully when you get started with a free demo.

Curious to learn about other types of partners? Read Adding Partner Types to Your Channel Sales Program.