March 10, 2015
As I’ve been saying for several years now, the face of modern IT Solution Provider is changing. For over a decade Own Web Now and ExchangeDefender have been regular sponsors of IT events including Microsoft Big Day, Microsoft Technet, Microsoft Developers Conference, Autotask, ConnectWise, TigerPaw, SMB Nation, ASCII, HTG, Datto, nAble as well as many vertical specialty shows, product user groups and so on.
Around this time last year I wrote a post explaining that we are changing the way we help our partners grow and manage their clients. In the past it was enough to merely present the product and the partner would literally do everything else. But as the industry, partners (channel) matured the responsibilities have shifted in a way that makes ExchangeDefender far more than just an isolated vendor – today we provide billing, support, onboarding, troubleshooting, backoffice, direct sales and support as well as integration and audit services. We have some new people here to help us push our partners in the new direction.
As a result, our marketing budget has been reallocated to help serve your needs better. In the survey sent to our partner base only 3% of you indicated that you will personally attend one of the shows we planned to sponsor in 2015. But given the option to present an event, run a joint marketing campaign, assist with RFP and presale process, attend and sponsor lunch & learns… well, let’s just say nearly the entire marketing budget got moved to it.
I’m sure you want to know what I will do with my collection of white suits? Where will we get updated ExchangeDefender tshirts and Shockey Monkey USB chargers? Rest assured the answers are coming soon, but if you would like to get involved please get in touch with us.
Vlad Mazek, CEO
June 2, 2014
ExchangeDefender team is hitting the road again this month and we’d love to see you. We will be at the Automation Nation / Labtech event in Orlando, Datto event in Las Vegas and Autotask conference in Miami. If you’re planning to attend any of these events please stop by, we’d love to see you.
Why do we sponsor these events?
Historically, we have sponsored IT trade shows as a method of leads generation – we wanted to partner up with IT solution providers across the globe and help deliver email security solutions everywhere. Our approach and our reason for attending events changed last year.
Last year we made a decision to close our partner program to new solution providers and focus on helping our existing partner base thrive. This is an organization-wide effort with almost every department exclusively focused on helping our loyal partner base grow faster. Last fall we launched the ExchangeDefender Migration & Support service which gives us the ability to deliver our solutions on our partners behalf directly to the end user – allowing the partner to grow faster and be far more profitable with larger projects. We are no longer at trade shows to get new partners, we are at the trade shows to talk to partners about what is working and how to become more effective as a team.
If you do attend an event and would like to sit down with one of us for a longer conversation – let us know. We would love to talk about how our products and services are working around the world, how different verticals are being served, how these solutions are presented and sold. It’s a massive effort – and one that has a great deal of variety from business to business.
Our team is hitting the road to see you face to face, if you’d like to know more come and see us. If you can’t make it to these by all means, call us and email us, we’d gladly do whatever we can to help.
February 25, 2014
Over the past month I’ve visited our partners around the world and talked to at least half the countries that we do business in. In case you’re curious, the mood worldwide is the same – from Chicago to Dubai, London to Sydney – business is hard but everyone is optimistic and working hard. We have some of the best IT Solution Providers in the world and I have no fear that everyone will triumph over the regional issues – my primary concern and point of all the trips was to understand what we can do to help our partners move faster.
My primary talking point was our new migration service: Why waste time on administrative and detailed work when we will do it under your name, your brand and process? It’s always thrilling to watch the reaction go from “that’s sounds nice but I think we have it under control” to “oh my god, I had no idea how much time we’re wasting” – so it was the profitable trip to say the least.
Here are some notes on my commitment for the rest of the year.
Partner communications – things have changed: If I had a penny for every time I heard “I didn’t know you guys did that” I probably would have brought more staff along with me and just left them there. I understand our portfolio is extremely broad but the change we are undertaking – from being a partner focused software company to being a service business – will be involving you a lot more in our process. One part that was particularly disappointing were questions about the issues that have been addressed years ago that still seemed like a problem. We will do our best to help drive partner involvement more in the coming year.
Product marketing – support goes beyond the product breaking: Last year was the record year for partner training and blog posts focused on business building. Pat on the back for all the praise I got for that. Partner feedback was quite clear that selling and positioning our services was quite easy, marketing and differentiating them requires more collateral. I hear you – while we have some comparative marketing collateral it is neither as organized nor easy to find. Most of it was put together for specific deals our partners worked on with us directly and honestly we can do a lot better. Next quarter you’ll see a major refresh in our marketing collateral as well as our process workflows that we’ve started sharing with our migration partners. Everything we do makes us better – except consolidating that information for mass distribution; we’ll get right on that.
User education – value beyond the essentials: The age old problem of users getting the solution and then severely underutilizing it is still there but it’s more prevalent these days because of the economy and general expectation for IT costs to be minimal. Almost everyone I spoke to said their clients have pushed for lower rates and even questioned why they were paying for certain services at all that they seemingly never used. Clients that use more than one feature, or are engaged with the product web services (think more web site visits, less email reports) have 9 times more stickiness to the product! Obviously we all have a vested interest in educating our clients about the solution they are paying for – and as we transition to a more service oriented business I expect we’ll help solve the real problem of why users aren’t relying on more of the solution: Someone has to do the work of rolling this stuff out and training everyone how to do it. We’ve got a plan for this as well and I look forward to sharing it with you.
In summary, this was an incredible trip. It was a pleasure and an honor to be invited to so many businesses and spend some fun time with so many of you as well. I got to bring my son along for the trip so he can see what daddy does, and particular shout out to Greg Lipschitz from Summit IT for taking us around to hang out with the local wildlife. Everywhere I go I am always told “things are different here” but in the end there are just nuances in business preferences – we all share the same annoyances, challenges, difficulties and also the same opportunities.
I appreciate the hospitality and look forward to sharing significant progress on the three points above on my next trip around the world. We certainly have our work cut out for us and the major global initiative as well as the service oriented business model will go a long way towards getting that done.
February 7, 2014
Our world tour kicked off in Chicago in January and I’m about to leave Australia for Dubai. It’s simply amazing to see how well our solutions are received worldwide and how the migration product message resonates with solution providers worldwide.
Australia (Sydney & Melbourne) – February 3-8
Dubai – February 9 – 11
UK (London & nearby) – February 12-16
USA – All day every day
While we are primarily promoting our migrations service, the second most discussed solution concerns Compliance Archiving and helping companies deal with compliance and locating what is becoming a growing problem in businesses small and big: information overflow. I’ve been sitting down with partners and discussing common challenges they face in helping small businesses not only operate better but also manage the mountain of information they have built up. As one partner noted: “Years ago they had one filing cabinet for the whole company and a single person could locate any contract or agreement. Now each employee has dozens of cabinets of their own and discovering who said what and when is turning into a logistical nightmare”; I can personally relate to this a lot and I’m very happy to go over how we can help businesses manage this better and have a private Google of their own for the business intelligence they have collected.
The 365 Elephants In The Room
Technologically, I have nothing against Office 365. Exchange is Exchange no matter where it is. Even business-wise, I think their plan selection effectively separates big business from consumer levels.
My main message to partners and my biggest point of differentiation is that our solution is built for a business. From the ground up everything is designed, supported and documented in a way to facilitate business critical operations where one minor issue immediately becomes an emergency as the whole business runs on it. This is where our differentiation and our people and our process and our LiveArchive make an enormous difference and where we ultimately build our solution.
Unfortunately, many discover this differentiation once the consumer solution fails them. When they have to spend time on the phone waiting for support, or a random outage takes hours or days to resolve. At that point they realized they are running business critical systems on a consumer platform with the customer service and support that explains the low end pricing. Everything is great until you need something and then realize that what you have doesn’t fit your needs.
That said, the entry level Exchange and low pricing is not a compromise we will be pursuing. In all of my discussions with service providers these cloud services are already included in the managed services cost. How do more sophisticated partners handle inquiries about Office 365 or Google Apps?
We have a solution that uses exactly the same technology on the backend but it’s build for business by the partners that we have worked for years and we trust. In addition to what you see with Office 365 you also get 1 year of business continuity so when there is a service interruption you can continue to send and receive email. There is also encryption in the product as well as advanced junk mail management so you never miss important messages. And we should also discuss compliance.
Need a desktop version of Office? We can either get you a subscription for $99/year or buy one outright that you own.
It’s that simple.
Migrations = Revenues
It’s a thrill to hear how my message in the presentations across the globe resonates with partners. Everyone sees a different value in ExchangeDefender handling the mail moving portion of the job. Some see additional revenues. Some see decreased costs. Some see more customers faster.
Everyone sees the opportunity to grow. Which is why we chose to dedicate so much of our effort to it.
As I like to mention in my presentations, the secret to success and profits is two fold: “Either find a way to make your revenues by doing less, or find a way to sell more at a higher cost.” With pricing being the eternal argument, the only way we can make our partners grow consistently and quickly is by helping do more of your work. Migrations are just the start and we are doing remarkably well with it worldwide. With each project we get better and learn to manage expectations better and improve our process – something that our partners hopefully never have to go through again. With us handling Outlook/Exchange and partners managed offerings taking care of the user/desktop, the ability to move to the cloud quickly and grow your client base as fast as you can reach/sell them is simply a recipe to follow in 2014.
We are simply making it impossible for you to turn this down in 2014.
I’m happy to say that I’m hearing that loud and clear on two continents so far Now off to Dubai and Europe.
November 12, 2013
Many of our partners are in town for the HTG, ConnectWise and associated vendor parties so I wanted to take a moment and give you some ideas on how to best leverage us, your vendor, for greater success. Despite popular opinion, we’re not at the conference for the sole purpose of handing out swag and filling up trade show floor space with banners and marketing junk.
We’re here to inform you - We know you’re busy. We know we have a ton of webinars. I hear this a lot – yet you spent a ton of money to be out of your office for days and the best way to earn some extra ROI on your trip is to talk to us about what is going on at ExchangeDefender. You may not use every single product we have, you may not stay on top of every single blog post we write or announcement we make – so feel free to ask about what is new, what has changed and if any of your previous issues have been resolved. We are always adding to our solution portfolio and we know it end to end so we’re the best folks to give you a 10,000 foot view of our company; and can drag over a sales or technical person to explain the full details in a second.
We’re here to connect you with other partners – IT providers are not all the same. Many of our partners specialize in specific verticals and have developed custom stuff using our API, so if you are thinking outside the box we can likely get you contact info for partners that work in the same vertical or have a different way of using or positioning our solutions.
We’re here to give you the whole picture – If you don’t tune in to every webinar or haven’t spoken to anyone at ExchangeDefender in a year chances are you’re missing out on a lot of development. We can quickly walk you through everything that has changed and put it in a context of why we are doing so. For example, we recently launched ExchangeDefender LiveArchive 4 and it is no longer based on Microsoft Exchange. Why? It’s not due to the cost. It’s not due to the licensing. It’s not due to the complexity – it’s because our long term business goal for LiveArchive is to create a full redundancy for your entire communication experience – not just email. With LiveArchive 4 we can now provide failover email solution that also includes your contacts and your whole schedule, so you’re missing absolutely nothing when your mail server goes offline. Understanding what we are doing, and why, is a great way to make sure your clients are getting the solution that continues to solve their evolving problems as they count on you more.
We’re here to give you a quick rundown of everything new – If you’ve made it this far you’re in minority, most people just skim blog posts. That is fair, we do it as well. Information overload is serious business and you can only take in so much every day. Well, if you stop by our booth we can talk to you about what we’ve done, what we’re doing, what is coming down the pipe and so on.
We’re here for feedback – Most importantly, we are here to hear from you. You’re welcome to call us 24/7 but if there is something that really bugs you about our service or something that is working out really well but needs some tweaking, we are here to get the big picture for you so we can sell it to our management and developers. Our entire solution stack has been built on partner feedback and it’s the single most valuable takeaway (yes, even more important than new partner acquisition) from conference events.
To sum it up: Stop by, say hi, ask us what’s new and tell us what we could be doing better. And please don’t ask us where Vlad is, he is more of an imaginary character like the Wizard of Oz than an actual participant of day-to-day business
June 7, 2013
June has turned out to be a busy month for ExchangeDefender and Shockey Monkey! Thank you all who stopped by our booth during the Autotask Live conference this week. It is always a pleasure to talk to our partners face to face. With that said, ExchangeDefender and Shockey Monkey will be represented at the following events in the month of June:
12th International Cloud Expo
June 10th – June 13th
Javits Center, New York City
June 12th – June 13th
BWI Airport Marriott
Level Platforms MSP Community Summit
June 17th – June 19th
The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas
If you are attending any of these events, drop by our booth and let’s talk about your business and how a partnership with ExchangeDefender can assist your company in increasing its service revenues.
If you are unable to attend any of these events, shoot me an email at email@example.com or phone call at 877-546-0316 x707. I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you have about ExchangeDefender services and our Shockey Monkey platform.
Michael D. Alligood,
Partner Communications Manager
ExchangeDefender | Shockey Monkey