Secrets to Scaling Your MSP Through Ecosystems

https://youtu.be/158TzTFTTCU

Summary


In this episode of Start Grow Manage, co-hosts Jeff Loehr and Joe Rojas explore the transformative concept of the “Jobs to Be Done” framework and its significant impact on how MSPs should approach selling technology. They discuss the necessity of seeing technology not merely as a product but as a strategic tool for solving real business problems.

They are joined by guest Greg Plum, who brings his expertise on effective MSP partnerships and the power of ecosystem thinking to the discussion. Greg shares insights on how MSPs can enhance their growth and service delivery through strategic alliances and a deep understanding of their clients’ needs.

If you’re interested in shifting your perspective from simply providing technology to solving critical business challenges with strategic partnerships, then this episode of the Start Grow Manage podcast is a must-listen.

Featuring

Greg Plum, Ecosystem Expert, Director / Principal – North America of PartnerReady

Greg is a 3x TEDx speaker and expert in ecosystem strategy and channel development. He has built partner programs from scratch for multiple SaaS providers over the past 20+ years and facilitated PartnerReady’s Ecosystem Academy for numerous technology company founders in the US and Canada.

He currently serves as a member of CompTIA’s North America Community Executive Council, chair of the Technology Forum of Delaware, and mentor for the University of Delaware’s Executive Mentor Program.

His professional passion is helping technology company founders and leaders identify new revenue streams within in their customer’s ecosystem by leveraging strategic alliances and partnerships.

What is the problem you solve, and for whom?

I help tech founders and revenue leaders uncover new routes to market by focusing on their customer’s ecosystem… that is those companies, services, and people who help them with their “job to be done”. By viewing the ecosystem of tech companies and influencers from the perspective of their customers, they will discover partnering opportunities and new routes to market. 

How do you help MSPs

Currently, most ecosystem evangelists are focused on SaaS companies, helping them grow via the strategy mentioned above.  I am a firm believer that MSPs, as a part of the customer’s tech ecosystem, can leverage the very same strategy to identify partnering opportunities to help them grow their businesses. 

Your Company Website/URL

What you are promoting:


​Transcript

Jeff Loehr: One of the things that have come up recently, as we go through the MSP launch formula, is the idea of the Jobs to be Done framework.

It’s actually one of those key things to help people figure out what the problem is that they solve. It was designed by Clayton Christensen, and he is one of those famed Harvard Business Review authors who did lots of wonderful things in the Harvard Business Review.

The way that he structured the challenge is he said to people, remember that people don’t buy a product or service. They hire your product or service to do a job. And I think this is something, we need to bring back into the conversation because this is such a key idea.

We’ve been using this with the MSP Launch Formula crew to help them structure the problem they solve and understand who it’s for.

But, you know, there’s like a big distinction between I’m buying something and I’m hiring it to do a job.

Joe Rojas: Yes, yes, yes, yes! It’s really great because then when you look at your own stuff, it’s like… You don’t buy the drill for the drill, you buy it for the holes.

Jeff Loehr: Well, some people do buy the drill for the drill. And then you can keep going with that and you can say, well, people don’t actually want the holes in their wall either. They want the picture on the wall.

And then you can say people don’t want the picture on the wall. They want the design that the picture imparts. But along that way, there are jobs to be done. And I know for myself, I struggle a little bit sometimes with, hey, you know, we’re talking about technology.

Why is it not just technology that we’re delivering?

And part of that is just, look, you’re using technology, but that is the tool. You’re a technologist to say that you’re a mechanic. But there’s a huge difference between a mechanic for a Corolla, who’s there to make sure that you can get to work every day, and a mechanic for a Formula One car, whose there to make sure that the engine can continue to run at 16,000 RPM and 600 miles an hour, whatever, whatever those cars are for, right?

They’re like very different things.

As a result, they charge very different prices, and their business model is very different. And this is the concept that I think is so important that we get into the MSP space that you aren’t selling technology. You aren’t doing technology. That’s your tool, but you are solving/doing a job for somebody.

They have a need, and you’re doing a job.

Like, when you were working with personal injury attorneys, what would you say the job was that you did for them?

Joe Rojas: To ensure that they got to court with everything that they needed to win the case.

Jeff Loehr: So before, the problem they’re having without that job is what, like, how would you frame it?

Joe Rojas: Their documents were all over the place, scattered. Everything wasn’t centralized. All their appointments were not set on time. So they would miss appointments, show up late, and with missing documents. There wasn’t a clear way that they could gather all the information for the job for that client, right? And show up to an appointment and have everything that they needed to win.

Jeff Loehr: And then to be clear, your solution was a technology solution.

Joe Rojas: A hundred percent. It involved all the tech that everybody, everybody uses. It was a scanning system that put everything and filed it directly into their law management system.

Put it directly where it needed to be. It was an appointment-setting system that was connected to their law management system. it was all the technological pieces, but they didn’t care about any of that. They wanted to win cases. And how you win cases is you have everything that you need when you show up, and you’re not running around with a briefcase trying to go through.

Jeff Loehr: You also was an MSP for ophthalmologists. So what was the problem that you solved for ophthalmologists?

Joe Rojas: To give them the ability to see more patients than they were able to see before so that they could increase their revenue. Right? And to keep their patient data safe.

So those were the two things that I was really focused on in ophthalmology: how do we increase patient throughput and patient experience? The patient has a great experience, but then I can see two times the amount of patients that I was seeing before.

Jeff Loehr: Some people are bringing in the idea of e-commerce, and all of these are technological solutions. They’re all technology. You’re still doing technology. Nobody’s saying you’re not doing technology. We’re not taking technology away from you. It’s just understanding the job that the technology does for the customer.

I just wanted to talk about that this week because I think that that’s a really important distinction.

Because when we talk about the problem you solve, I think we sometimes get confused, or people get confused, and they think that it’s, it’s not tech, and I’ve struggled with that a little bit. How do I explain it? And, really looking at this framework, that’s how to explain it, right? It is to understand that you’re doing a job for somebody.

Joe Rojas: Yes.

Jeff Loehr: And technology is your tool.

Joe Rojas: And the technology is your tool, but you’ve got to think of it like front of the house, back of the house, right? In the front of the house, what’s a problem that you’re fixing for the perception of the client? What they see as the problem. Like, I can’t see enough patients.

In the back of the house, there’s all the technology that allows me to onboard patients faster, improve patient experience, do SMS, follow up, do this, do that. You know, the faster, faster logins through, hit cards and all kinds of tech that goes, that fixes that problem. But you just got to remember that.

There’s what’s happening for the client, there’s what’s happening for you.

Jeff Loehr: Yeah. And even if they are getting tech benefits out of it, it’s still you’re doing a job for them.

Joe Rojas: That’s it.

Jeff Loehr: See here’s where it falls apart, is if you’re not doing a specific job for somebody, then you’re a commodity. Then you have no pricing power. Then, you don’t have the opportunity to take advantage of the growing market.

So on that, we had a great interview with Greg Plum.

Now, Greg is the director and principal at Partner Ready. He’s a Comp TF faculty member, and he’s a speaker who focuses on how to help tech founders and revenue leaders uncover new routes to market by focusing on their ideal customer ecosystem. And we even talked in this interview about the jobs-to-be-done framework and, if you really want to grow your revenue, you create that ecosystem around that job-to-be-done. Who else is doing that, that job, or helping you do the job? And he had some fascinating things to say about that.

Without further ado, well, no, I am going to add some ado, Joe, I’m going to add a little,

Joe Rojas: A little ado is okay, some further ado,

Jeff Loehr: I just want to point out that the audio on this one is not very good. So, we actually recorded this during the solar eclipse, and I was out at my son’s University sitting on their campus doing the recording, and I thought it was clean, but it really isn’t that great.

And so I apologize for the quality of the audio, but the content itself is amazing. So, enjoy and remember jobs to be done.

Joe Rojas: Jobs to be done all day long.

Greg Joins the Podcast

Jeff Loehr: Hey, Greg, lovely to meet you. So you’re big on helping MSPs and tech companies by building partnerships. And, we’re looking at building partnerships as well. So, this is actually where we’d like to start and maybe get some free consulting from you along the way.

Why is Greg interested in MSP Partnerships

Jeff Loehr: But, why partnerships, Greg?

Greg Plum: Well, I just did a talk at the University of Delaware about a month ago. And it made me step back because it was talking to a different audience, from you know, my usual audience. Those partnerships already, to some degree, or they think they do. The question is how they go about executing them, and in that talk, I had to step back a little bit, and I realized there are three ways to go.

  1. You build,
  2. You buy, or
  3. You partner.

Those are the three ways to grow a business.

So to me, There’s way more leverage and scale in a timely fashion if you’re going to partner because what you’re doing is you’re dovetailing, right?

You’re doing a SWOT analysis on your partner, and you’re finding those that have a weakness that you might, where your strength might augment what they’re already doing. And when you do that, you’re stronger together. And you know what? It might even be a competitor. That’s the thing.

That sometimes is a tough pill to swallow. You might be going against them 9 times out of 10, but in that 10th time, there might be an opportunity for you to lock arms and actually better serve that customer. Then theoretically, you know, potentially you can go at other business together.

So earlier in my career, when I would be faced with a competitor, I always kept things tight, close to the vest. And it’s just a silly thing. It’s not what business is about. It’s about being authentic, being open, and finding those opportunities to really bolt on to others.

And quite frankly, to me, it’s way more fun. I discovered the channel by accident in 2000, and it changed my life.

Jeff Loehr: Yeah. One of our core principles is the idea of operating from a perspective of abundance. And the fact that we’re actually playing an infinite game rather than the zero-sum game is one of the things that we tell people right away because we bring a bunch of MSPs into a room, and ostensibly, they may be competing, but our view is always, look, guys, we’re all so small, there’s no way we’re competing, right?

And anybody who’s doing the same thing that we’re doing, it’s not really competition. It’s really a different perspective or a different way of doing things. And you’re sort of much better off working together than trying to see things as a zero-sum game. So I think we agree with you 100% on that.

Even if you’re partnering with your competition, go for it.

Greg Plum: Yeah, the funny thing is, so I’m in Delaware, right? Delaware is famous for being small, right? There’s no question about it. And there’s really, the talk, the eight degrees of separation with Kevin Bakers.

Here? It’s like half of a degree. Literally. It’s ridiculous. Delaware is the one place where you can go to get your coffee in the morning and see the governor, a Congressman, or a Senator. It’s interesting. So, we do have a pretty small ecosystem of MSPs, right? And I’m friends with most of them.

And it’s funny because they each have their own kind of culture and fabric where they have their optimal fit, where they have their ICP that there may be some overlap, but largely they stay in their lane. So, there is an opportunity to collaborate without fear of cannibalization.

Joe Rojas: Yeah, if you cooperate that way things open up. Opportunities open up that you couldn’t even have imagined were available actually become available for you.

Greg Plum: So it’s funny, there’s a book out there by Adam Grant; if you’ve ever heard of Adam Grant, great author, really impressive, young guy, his book’s called Give and Take, and they talk about, that zero-sum game.

Those are matchers, right? You have people that are out there just natural givers, those that are natural takers, and those that are matchers, and matchers think they’re doing okay, but they’re keeping track, and my problem with that is if you succeed, then you know exactly what you get, and you get just that.

If I’m going to match, I’m going to give, and I’m going to get something in return. When you give just for the sake of giving, and I have a talk on that too, on volunteerism, the power of it’s called give till it hurts.

Joe Rojas: Yeah. I saw that talk. That was good.

Greg Plum: Thanks. It was horribly produced. But it isn’t the production quality that matters, but the content. My dad used to always say that give till it hurts. He didn’t really mean it, but it stuck with me. And I love volunteering, by the way, April’s National Volunteer Month.

It’s a very selfish thing because when you’re giving to something that you believe in, you don’t feel like you’re sacrificing. It’s like with my kids. I used to take my daughter’s soccer team, take team pictures, and yes, it took tons and tons of hours.

But I didn’t view it as a sacrifice. It was an honor and a privilege. Same concept. You know, my son was in the marching band. Same thing. We loved drums and hauled them all over the place. I didn’t do it because I was trying to be a good guy. I did it because I love doing it. And it was a selfish thing.

So anyway, I don’t even know how we got on that tangent. But it was a nice little tangent.

Jeff Loehr: One of the things I did want to ask you about it. you did mention a story on partnerships about an example of a partnership that started with a phone call, right? That, led to the partner being acquired for 19 million.

How do MSPs find the right partner

Jeff Loehr: And I’d love to hear that story because I think one of the things that that we struggle with is, how do I find the partner? How do I know if it’s the right partner? I think that would be a great way for us to get into that conversation.

Greg Plum: Yeah. So it’s truly one of those words, and this is the newest thing. It hit me over the weekend. It’s spring, right? So, I was mulching an awful lot. So, when I’m mulching, I have a lot of time to think. And it dawned on me two of the things that I do; it’s funny because I do some teaching on AI, who doesn’t do anything with AI these days.

So, I teach a course on that, but it dawned on me that one of the two concepts that we have in partnerships is alignment, which, Jeff, that’s what you’re referring to right there.

Alignment and influence. Those really, if you get the two of those that is your winning combination. That’s how you get a successful partnership.

I had no idea. I was dumb early in my career. I took the phone call. I’m grateful that I did. They beat me up right out of the gate. The partner beat me up, they knew what they were doing. I did not. But I had reckless abandon.

I went straight ahead, just dumb and happy, and I learned a ton the entire way. The contracts, the pitfalls, things to look out for, SLAs. I learned that, you know, the ins and outs of SLAs and the importance of SLAs, and through that partner, it taught me a lesson.

Those partners that really run you through the wringer early on, pay attention to them because, number one, you better.

But number two, they’re serious, right? You send an agreement out, an MSA out, and you get an agreement signed back in 10 minutes. How much time do you think they put into that? Not too much. Yeah. that was a valuable lesson to me to really pay attention.

Those that are hard and difficult to work with out of the gate, it’s because they’re serious and those are the ones that lead to the fruit down the road.

Jeff Loehr: Yeah. I think that makes a lot of sense. you want to work with those who are testing the limits with you, who are pushing you in a certain way, rather than just, accepting everything and moving on, right?

It’s an interesting concept because I do see that. I see that with some partners that we work with, everybody’s accepting everything. And then, how do we just do stuff when you’re challenging somebody like, no, really, I want to understand what it is.

I want to understand why you want this agreement. I want to understand what your role is in my role is. It can feel a little bit threatening, but it also really defines what those roles are. And now we’re going to work together, and it makes us all smarter. I don’t know, am I misinterpreting what you’re saying?

Greg Plum: Not at all. What it does is show that the other party has the long game in mind. They’re not thinking transactionally, which is huge to me, right? That’s why we do what we do. So, we’re not built just to handle a single transaction. We, if we’re done well, partnerships become that annuity that lasts.

I honestly have some partners from 20 years ago that if I have the right opportunity, I still pick up the phone. That’s exactly what it’s about. You’ve heard the thing that is says, iron sharpens iron.

And that’s what it comes down to when you find out. I like that. Now you want to be careful, right? You don’t want to be a whipping post. You don’t want to be the whole tail wags the dog scenario because that is still one-sided. This is not about being one-sided. It’s about being truly a win-win.

And then, if you do that, then you get three winners, right? You get you because in every partnership deal you’ve got two customers. You’ve got the end customer. And then you got the partner. You’ve got to keep that partner happy. And then there’s so many nuances to it.

It’s not easy. If it was easy, everybody would do it. I think the stat right now is the last one I heard, and all stats are made up anyway: significantly less than 50%, way less than half of partnerships succeed. Way less than half. I’ve heard as well as 15%.

If you’re like, my goodness, 85% of what we’re doing is not going to bear fruit. But if we’re strategic about it and we’re methodical and we have the long game in mind, not just the transaction, the chances that the likelihood that’s exceeding increase, exponentially.

Jeff Loehr: Is it that bad that only 15% succeed? It seems if you really want to kick somebody’s tires and you want them to kick your tires, most of the partnerships are going to fade out, right?

Greg Plum: Yeah.

What does Greg do for successful partnerships

Greg Plum: So, you know what we want to do?

We want to get rid of the tire kickers, right? We want to weed through them. We want alignment.

I would much rather have a handful of 6-10 solid partners that are truly aligned. We are going at this together. We mesh well. We do the SWOT analysis, and we know that we’re better together.

Those are the ones you want versus the ones you get; once a quarter, you get a phone call. Hey, I had this opportunity. Do you want it? Will you take it? Of course, you’re going to take it, but that’s not the goal. That’s not what you’re setting out to do with a partnership program.

Joe Rojas: What I like about what you said before, right?

Is that then there’s that person that you’re going to call, hey, we have this opportunity. And then you’re like, Oh, hold on. Let me see. What is the opportunity? Well, let’s talk about it. Let me ask you some questions. Because you can look at that two ways. You could say, Oh, this person’s a jerk. I’m giving them an opportunity, and they’re putting me through the wringer.

Or you can say, oh, this person’s conscientious, and they’re going to do a great job if I give them this opportunity. So, part of it is also our own listening. When we’re bringing the opportunity to somebody, if we want good partners, that 15% is going to be the people that answer those questions, that go deep, that find out what it really means.

What is it that you want me to deliver? What’s the real scope of work, right? And if they can do that, then that’s a real partner because they’re going to have you see things about the deal that you didn’t even see yourself.

What is the value of having a partnership

Greg Plum: Absolutely. That’s the value of having a partnership, right? You don’t have to stand on your own two feet.

And then look, I get this all the time when I’m working with founders; usually, I work; it’s funny because usually, this message is a wrap targeting founders. You know, SAS, SAS leaders, CROs, and there is an argument for the MSP where the same logic, the ecosystem strategy, which we haven’t even touched on yet, applies to the MSP because they’re part of the same ecosystem.

It’s just a matter of the lens through which they’re looking. That’s the challenge. But the funny thing is when these founders come to me, and they say, okay, I want to have a part, I want a partner program. I want a channel program. Of course, you do. It’s scalable.

It’s variable costs, right? I’m not paying for a big sales force. It’s a rev share model. But the challenge is as soon as you say, guess what? It’s probably going to cost you 20-30% margin. It’s generally what it costs, depending on what type of program you have and guess what? That’s forever.

Then all of a sudden they tighten up on you. But think of it this way, if you’re paying 20% commission, if we just go straight commission deal, then in my mind, that works. That’s a good thing for the business, it’s a good thing for the founder because what they’re doing is they’re getting, even if they’re paying 20%, they’re getting 80% of a dollar that they would not have seen otherwise.

And it’s brought in, if it’s done well, if you’ve done your job enabling, educating your partner, they’re only going to bring deals to you that fit. So, you save all that time getting to the deals that really have a high likelihood of closing. So that 5-10% close rate. It’s going to be exponentially higher.

It should be 50, 60, 70% close rate. If you’ve done a good job educating your partner, if you haven’t, you’re going to be wasting time and money.

Joe Rojas: Yeah. The thing that you just said that we touched on a little bit, which is why I asked you to talk to you about this. I even asked you to come because the ecosystem talk that you did was so brilliant, right?

Greg Plum: Brilliant’s a bit much. You set the bar a little high, but I appreciate it.

What does it mean to be a part of a partner ecosystem

Joe Rojas: As I started to think about it, that’s what is an ecosystem, right? What is it? So why don’t we start there? And then you bring us back around to why it’s so important to be part of one and why you must create one for yourself if you don’t have it.

Greg Plum: Okay, so here’s the concept of ecosystem. It’s similar to, when thinking about like in, second grade or third grade or whatever when you’d walk in the woods and that this that’s our first introduction to the world, the concept of ecosystem, all these different organisms, birds, trees in the water, everything.

You pull bees out of an environment, you think, oh, no more bee stings. Guess what? It has a massive ripple effect in a negative way. So, every entity serves its purpose. So that’s that type of ecosystem. But that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about a tech ecosystem.

What oftentimes happens is somebody will come in and say, I want to build a partner program. I want to build a channel. The first question they ask is, who do I know that can sell my stuff?

Okay, that’s the wrong question. Because what that’s done is that they put themselves in the middle.

They’re not building an ecosystem. They’re building an ego system. It’s around themselves.

That’s not what this is about. It’s about looking through the lens of their customer. And then the questions are, who is my customer? How do they get their job done? What do they buy? When do they buy? How do they buy? seasonality, all these different questions.

So, because a picture is worth so much, let’s think of NASCAR or Indy, right? You got the driver riding around the track.

When they pull into the pit stop, everybody’s focusing on the driver. They pull into the pit, stop, and look what happens. They get swarmed. All these different individuals, they have a single job with a common goal to get that driver back out on the track as soon as possible.

Your challenge is to identify that it is an ecosystem, and it’s put the customer, the ICP, at the center. Your challenge, whether you’re a SaaS provider, founder, CRO, or an MSP, is to find out who everybody else is around that driver, who’s influencing that driver, because they have their ear.

Why not figure out as many of those as you can and figure out which ones you can bolt onto and which ones you can align with?

Will you align with all of them? Absolutely not. But there’s going to be some in there that you can. Those are your new routes to market. Those are your potential partners. Does that kind of make sense?

How do you know who the customer is

Jeff Loehr: How do you know who the customer is?

Greg Plum: Oh, I hope everybody listening to this knows who their customer is.

I hope so. If you don’t, that’s where you really need to start. You’ve got to be laser-focused. Who is my ICP? So let me give you an example.

Jeff Loehr: Can you just define ICP for anybody who doesn’t know?

Greg Plum: I’m so sorry. Ideal Customer Profile. Sorry. Your target customer. Who you want to be selling to.

You know what? If you’re not sure, I would go to your customer. Figure, if you have customers already, right? Pick three of them. Three that you would love to replicate. over and over again. Why? They’re profitable. They are. They don’t kill you from a maintenance standpoint. You help them get their job done.

You’re, there is mutual value, their, value to your business and vice versa. That’s your ICP. That is what you want to focus on replicating. Does that make sense?

Jeff Loehr: Look, it makes sense to, to, to us.

Joe Rojas: The only thing we ever talk about, so yeah.

Jeff Loehr: What I want people to hear is I want them to hear it from your mouth so they don’t think that we’re completely crazy. Because there’s another framework that I think you might have just brought up that we tend to use a lot that has something to do with a job being done.

Greg Plum: Ah, the job to be done. That’s exactly, yes, it’s very good. Yeah, you’re looking at your customer, and the question is, what is their job to be done?

How do they get it done? Who helps them accomplish it? And then one of the concepts that PartnerReady has come up with, which I love.

Who is PartnerReady

Greg Plum: So, PartnerReady, wait a minute, we haven’t even talked about that. It’s an ecosystem advisory firm where we’re, there’s about a dozen of us around the world, that we’re independent, but we work under this common mindset, common strategy, teaching different companies, different tech companies, basic, and it could be any company, but we focus pretty much on tech companies, on how they go to market through that very concept, the job to be done, and then the value chain of the customer.

What are the things, what is the stack, the tech stack, the service stack, that helps allow that customer to get their job done, and where do you fit into it? And it’s basically going in and really peeling back and getting deep with that customer. And, you want to know, how do you do that?

You talk to them, and you get to know them really well. I usually want to use the word “scrutinize” because scrutinize usually has a negative connotation, but I don’t think it does. What you’re doing is taking the time to really get to know the nuance, the ins and outs of their business, how they get their job done, and their challenges.

And when you do that, all these opportunities come to mind or come to light in different ways to help them accomplish their jobs.

Jeff Loehr: Yeah and I want to point out that I love the image of the pit crew and the race car. And I think one of the things that people struggle with is they say, what I do is technology, right? What I do is technology, and you might say, what the guy changing the tires does is if he changes tires or the people maintaining the car, what they do is car maintenance, right?

But there’s a difference between maintaining a Formula 1 car so that it’s in top condition so that you can drive it at a top speed. 16000 RPM or whatever it is and running a race and fixing a Toyota Corolla. Like both are mechanical. Both of them are like key problems to be solved.

But you must know which one you’re solving and for which customer you’re solving that problem. Otherwise, you’re confusing the whole time, and you’re doing the technical work for the Corolla rather than the Formula One or the Formula One for the Corolla, and if you’re not clear about that, you’re not going to be able to scale your business, right?

So, I think that’s, that’s like a very clear way of clarifying that idea around that idea of customer profile, the avatar, that I, you know, and, and really understanding you use your technical skills to, To help them get that job done. You’re not just providing technical skills.

Greg Plum: The one thing you mentioned I love, you said you don’t want to confuse it, confuse the issue.

You confuse your customer; they’re not going to be a customer. No one, a confused buyer, is not a buyer.

Joe Rojas: Yeah. The other thing is that if all you’re doing is the technology and you’re not solving a business problem for them, the money that you can charge and continue to charge is limited. The more, the deeper you get into your client’s problem.

The more you understand their problem, the more you can charge because the more value you bring, you’re, the services you provide are worth. More money to them because you fix a real problem that they have that slows them down.

Greg Plum: You’re going to struggle to find a product or a service, not a service, a technology that’s not already commoditized.

You’re going to struggle with that. Even in the world of AI, right? what you cannot commoditize is how it’s applied. You know, the old thing, people don’t go to Home Depot to buy a drill. It’s not about that. They don’t want the drill. They want the hole. So, it’s the same concept.

You’ve got your customer and then these are the different entities you’ve got, you know, marketplaces, more membership organizations, if they belong to Ducks Unlimited, or American Dental Association, whatever. These are the things that you want to know because there are different ways to get to them.

These are entities, these are groups that they’re paying attention to. Integrators. what do we have here? consultants, competitors, right? Competitors are here. You need to pay attention to that because they’re also talking to your customer. They may already be working with them, or they’re trying to work with them.

And then there’s you. Now you, that could be the MSP, that could be the SaaS leader. you are not in a bubble, right? You are very much a part of this whole ecosystem. The challenge is figuring out which of these other entities you can work with effectively to help that customer. Help that partner better serve that customer.

There’s your alignment.

Joe Rojas: And listen, I can’t tell you how many times we’ll get a new MSP that we’re working with, and I’ll say, who are the other vendors that are serving your clients? They’ll say, I don’t know.

Greg Plum: But that’s great because there’s the opportunity. There’s your homework. Go in there, sit down with them, take an hour or two hours, bring in lunch, let’s really roll up our sleeves, and they will show you where it hurts, and that is the value, they do not forget that.

Jeff Loehr: I was going to say, I love that, but go ahead, go ahead and tell us the story you’re going to tell us here.

Storytime about a MSP

Greg Plum: Here’s a real one, right? So, an MSP, right? Who’s your typical, who is your target customer? And this is something that, this was a very real, scenario. Like I said, I’ve got a few friends that are MSPs and this is a very typical type customer.

15-person CPA firm. So, the question is, who is influencing that business? Marketplaces. It could be Salesforce. They might already have Salesforce implemented. They might be using Office 365. They might be buying technology from PAX 8. You want to know these things because now these are potential other people who actually have the attention of your buyer.

If it’s Salesforce, Is there an opportunity? One of my clients right now has a bolt-on to Salesforce. For a certain type of client, for a complex, long sales cycle, it’s an opportunity management tool. So, I have a choice. I can go directly to the end-user, or I can find consultants that are in the Salesforce ecosystem and say, Hey, here’s a tool that makes Salesforce better for this type of customer.

Do you have that for this type of customer? And now there’s a RevShare model. Now, I have a channel that I can develop.

These are three organizations that accountants typically belong to. They have newsletters, right? They’ve got conferences. These are things that you want to know about should you participate in them. Then there’s the consultants, right? A CPA firm has its own consultants. They got an attorney, probably not staff in house. It’s probably outsourced. They’ve got an insurance agent. They probably have a business coach. They may have a sales coach.

These are different entities that already have that customer’s ear. You want to know who they are because you might be able to align with them and help them better serve their customer.

Now you have a partner.

Jeff Loehr: And I think that’s exactly, really along the lines of what we’re talking about the whole time, right? It’s this idea of knowing who your target customer is and really building your business around their needs. And understanding that thing that you do is there to solve a job for them, is to do a job for them that’s going to support them in building their business.

And that’s such an important point.

Greg Plum: Agreed. and it’s not a complicated concept. It really isn’t. It’s just a change in perspective.

How do people get in touch with Greg Plum

Jeff Loehr: So, Greg, lovely to chat with you. So, if anybody really wants to start thinking about how to build their, program. you’ve really generously offered to have a 30-minute consult with them, and we’ll put the link to your calendar directly in the show notes.

And anybody who’s really looking at building that ecosystem can just have a chat with you. And get some amazing advice. Cause I think this is something that is going to be useful for a lot of people. Also, take them out of their way of thinking and their way of running the business, which I think is just going to be incredibly valuable.

Greg Plum: I would love to help them. Just make sure they reference your podcast. So, I make sure that I take really good care of them.

Jeff Loehr: All right. There you go. So be sure you reference the podcast so that Greg takes good care of you. Otherwise. Otherwise, who knows what’s going to happen?

Joe Rojas: Who knows what would happen to you?

Joe Rojas: Remember that You Are Loved. See y’all soon.

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