This week, we welcome Shannon Mayer to the Continuum team as Senior Marketing Programs Manager. What does this mean for you? As the former Channel Enablement Manager and MSP Evangelist at LogMeIn, as well as the Director of Marketing and Channel Relations at Datto (a position she held for three years), Shannon KNOWS managed IT services. Dubbed a "Channel Chief" and recipient of industry recognition on such prestigious lists as CRN's "Most Powerful Women in the Channel" and the MSPmentor 250, Shannon is the perfect guest to offer useful, actionable tactics to grow your MSP business.

Join us for this special episode of MSPtv, in which Shannon assesses channel progress over the year and reflects on common challenges and opportunities presented in 2014. That's not all! Catch her breakdown of the predictions all MSPs should act on in the coming year. What's the future of the cloud evolution? Should we expect more market consolidation? How can MSPs double their revenue in 2015? Answers to this and more!

Episode Transcription:

Scott: Hi, and welcome to another episode of MSPtv. I'm Scott Glidden, and with me today is Shannon Mayer. Shannon's joining us here at Continuum. Welcome.

Shannon: Thank you.

Scott: Excellent.

Shannon: Great to be here.

Scott: Yeah, very excited to have you on the Continuum team.

Shannon: Yeah.

Scott: You've been on the channel for a long time, and I'm sure many, many people know you from a lot of different hats. But for those that don't, why don't you tell us a little bit about your background.

Shannon: Sure. Well, I got into the channel, I started at Datto and worked there for a few years as the director of marketing and channel relations. And then I got a great opportunity to come up to Boston and work for LogMeIn and grow a channel program there. So I made my way up here and worked on that for the past few years, and then got a fantastic offer from Continuum to come over to this team. And I couldn't be more excited.

Scott: That's great. Well, Datto and LogMeIn are both treasured partners here at Continuum.

Shannon: Yes.

Scott: But it's great to have you on board, for sure.

So let's talk about what has been going on in the channel. Give me your reflections on 2014. What sort of challenges and opportunities do you think were there for partners?

Shannon: So I think last year, we really saw a lot of consolidation going on in the channel. We saw some private equity and VC firms come in and purchase some vendors. We saw vendors acquiring other vendors.

Scott: Sure. Right.

Shannon: We even saw MSPs partnering up or acquiring other MSPs. So we're seeing a lot of consolidation. But I think there's actually a great amount of opportunity with that. I mean, I think it's a great thing for the channel that VC is investing and placing their bets in the channel. I think that's a good sign that there's a lot of opportunity out there that they're noticing. And there are also lots of opportunities with MSPs partnering up or acquiring other MSPs, because it broadens the scale at which they can grow their business. It gets them into different regions, different areas. They can focus on different verticals. So there's a lot of opportunity there.

Scott: Right.

Shannon: Finally with vendors, too, the consolidation of vendors is a good thing. It can help MSPs standardize on a platform of solutions instead of having, you know, a myriad of different vendors that they use for all sorts of things.

Scott: Right.

Shannon: So I saw a lot of good things happening last year.

Scott: Yeah. I agree with you completely. And I think 2015 presents even, you know, further opportunities for MSPs, as well. You and I talked about them a little bit earlier, around what's next for MSPs and what they might be looking at. What would be some of your predictions for 2015?

Shannon: So there are definitely a lot of things to think about. I think one of the big themes we're going to see this year is security. It's been a very public, noted occurrences that have happened recently with all the different security breaches. So I think MSPs really need to understand what their SMB customers need in terms of security and look for vendors that are going to be able to help them provide solutions that really keep their customers secure. So I think that's going to be a huge trend that we'll see continue.

Scott: Sure. Absolutely. Now, you've spent a great deal of time between Datto and LogMeIn, and now with Continuum, being out there in the channel, talking to partners. You have your ear to the ground, your stethoscope to the heartbeat of what's going on out there, and such. But one of the things that you were talking about earlier that I agree with completely, and that is the benefit of belonging to a peer group.

Shannon: Yes.

Scott: How so?

Shannon: So I think, from out there talking with hundreds of different MSPs, I see noticeable differences between MSPs that belong to some sort of industry peer group and those who are just out there trying to do it alone on themselves. And we actually just wrote a blog last week that we published on the Continuum blog that had some stats from a business solutions magazine survey and showed that the MSPs that belong to a peer group have double the revenue of those who do not. So that's just one survey.

Scott: Sure.

Shannon: But I think it's a good sense of indication that these peer groups are very beneficial and really give MSPs a chance to talk with their peers about what's working, what's not working, and hold each other accountable for improving.

Scott: Yeah. Very good. And technology is changing so quickly, as it always has. But also as a small business yourself, as an MSP, having someone to turn to and share ideas with, and talk about what works and what doesn't or what's coming up next and that sort of thing. And along that line of what's coming up next, a number of conversations we've had here in the program have been around cloud. And I think as we go forward in 2015 and beyond, that's more and more going to be a conversation that our MSPs are going to be having with their clients.

Shannon: Yeah, absolutely.

Scott: And you were sharing some ideas on that earlier.

Shannon: Yeah. Well, a smart man once told me that cloud is not a revolution. It's an evolution.

Scott: Yeah.

Shannon: And I really think that MSPs need to start really thinking about it that way, as an evolution. And it might be easier for them to wrap their heads around how they're going to go out there and really educate their customers. And cloud isn't a one size fits all, so I think it's really important that MSPs are sitting down with the business owners and the stakeholders at these companies and really asking them what their needs are, how can cloud help them, and really just make sure the customer understands the benefits of it before just going in and doing blanket solutions.

Scott: Right. And it's best to have that conversation on a business level, I find, or talking with partners instead of a technology level.

Shannon: Yes.

Scott: Because the technology is, like you said, ever changing. But having that business conversation is a little bit easier for the end client to understand and take in, and appreciate how it's going to affect their business, as well.

Shannon: Yeah, absolutely.

Scott: Yeah. So we're going to see you out on the trade shows and various conferences, I'm sure, being back out there, visiting everybody.

Shannon: Yeah.

Scott: And I know you used to do a television program with Austin when you were at Datto, so we're going to hope you're going to come back and be a regular with us here. And I'm sure that many partners are looking forward to seeing you back out on the floor and at the conferences, and we're very excited here at Continuum to have you on board. And it should be a great partnership all the way.

Shannon: I'm excited, too.

Scott: Good, good. Well, come back again and visit Shannon and I, and I'm sure we'll have a lot more to share with you in the future. Thanks very much.

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