The founder of a new MSP marketing agency has revealed he walked away from a £275,000-a-year corporate job to fill a “glaring” gap in the market.
Jay Janes founded xpandly in March after overseeing more than $30m MSP recurring revenue growth and experiencing a panoramic view of what MSPs were getting right and wrong in top-level roles at two of Europe’s largest cloud distributors.
“None of my reasons for starting xpandly were financial,” said Janes, who was recently named a Growth Strategy CEO of the Year by CEO Magazine.
“For me I was quite happy to walk away from a board position at a £100m company to do my own thing. It was about freedom and creating our own culture from the ground up.
“The other thing was that there was a real need in the market for this type of business. I know, because in distribution I spent £100,000s on marketing agencies which didn’t understand the IT sector. They didn’t understand the tech nor the basic dynamics of an IT channel.
“We draw on all our experiences from distribution, which I think is the most enlightening layer of the channel because you’re dealing with both the MSPs and vendors directly. These are key dynamics to understand. One can’t really work without the other.”
3 growth enablers most MSPs are missing
xpandly offers MSP marketing services, alongside a suite of broader go-to-market services for vendors and distributors.
It has already amassed clients in the UK, US, India, Singapore and Australia, and is on course to turn over £750,000 in its first year, Janes said.
Janes branded xpandly’s database of 12,500 MSPs, its intimate knowledge of the sector, and proven growth strategies “gold-dust” for vendors and distributors that have just landed in the UK or want to open a market for a new product.
Its playbook is shaped by Janes’ experience of what MSPs were getting right and wrong during his time in distribution.
There are three growth cheats most MSPs aren’t doing, he claimed…
The high-growth MSPs Janes has dealt with all leant on their supplier partners for co-selling, he revealed.
“An MSP will sometimes walk away from an opportunity, or lose it, because they don’t have that expertise. But actually, they can call their distributor and say ‘can I have your pre-sales to help me on this opportunity?’” Janes said.
“A lot of MSPs don’t know they can do that.”
Janes added: “The underlying point is that it’s all about engagement. The more engaged you are with your supplier partners, the more likely you are to grow.
“Where we have the edge is that we have worked in distribution at a very senior level and had a huge landscape view. We know all the intricate details of all the vendor programmes, what’s available, and how to access it. So, when we work with an MSP that says ‘well, we don’t have a budget’, we say ‘who do you work with? We can help.”
Another important thing to understand is what growth programmes vendors – and more commonly – distributors have available.
“A lot of distribution partners and vendors will offer accelerator programmes. If you’re an MSP – and it doesn’t matter what size – all you need to do is present a plan to your supplier saying, ‘this is what I want to do, and this is my plan to execute it and this is the potential ROI’,” Janes explained.
“Nine out of ten times the supplier is going to say, ‘here’s £5,000, £10,000’, or whatever the amount. All distributors are looking for pro-activity from their MSP customer base, and in my experience, all distributors and vendors are keen to support growth plans.
“They are the MSPs that have always grown the fastest. But most MSPs don’t do this.
“If you’re still not getting the support you need even after presenting some really solid growth plans, then it’s time to look for another distributor.”
3.Don’t DIY, seek expertise
Bringing in a go-to-market partner to help on both the strategic and tactical execution is a third common characteristic of fast-growth MSPs, Janes explained.
“The vast majority of MSPs grow through referrals. Very few in the grand scheme of things invest in sales and marketing. And from a marketing perspective, it’s not just one head you need to hire, because you need content creation, design, project management, digital marketing specialists etc. A team can cost upwards of £200,000 a year” Janes said.
“So, the MSPs that are growing are outsourcing, which makes complete sense. A single retainer gets you an entire expert team for a fraction of the cost of hiring in-house team.
“Even better, if you’re really engaged with your distributor and vendors, and you are accessing marketing funding programs, then marketing isn’t really costing you anything.”
Picky over prospects
xpandly’s desire to work with ambitious IT organisations has meant it has turned away as many prospects as it has taken on in its first eight months of trading, Janes revealed.
“If MSPs are looking for us to manage their social media for £500 a month, or just want some basic syndicated content, that’s not what we do. We are focused on long-term strategic growth plans. Which takes time, a lot of collaboration and of course investment.”
“What we want to do is actually grow MSPs, distributors and vendors and leverage all areas of the eco-system to make sure everyone is coming out on top – this is where we come out on top, we know the eco-system and how to leverage it so that everyone can win”.
He added: “xpandly is a premium service. We’re premium because of our expertise in the area, our unrivalled channel database, and our experience in hyper-growth environments.”
“We’ve already created more than £75m of sales opportunities for our clients. We’re making a notable difference to organisations throughout the channel,” Janes concluded.
This article was produced in association with xpandly and is classified as partner content. What is partner content? See more here.