March 22, 2024

Episode 17: CompTIA’s Five Keys to MSP Success in 2024

Listen to the Podcast

Read the Transcript

Erick’s out this week, so Rich discusses five top things the most successful MSPs today have in common, according to CompTIA, with special guest host and Channel Mastered CRO Mark Crall instead. Then Mark (who is also a former MSP from the industry’s early days) shares two tips on driving employee satisfaction and loyalty. And stay tuned, as Rich discusses obstacles that prevent MSPs from capitalizing on the “blue ocean” opportunity in compliance and strategies for overcoming them with Carl Bjerke, of compliance vendor Compliancy, in an interview recorded earlier alongside Erick. And finally, one last thing: The miracle putt that won an Auburn University basketball fan a free Toyota.

Discussed in this episode:

My Fellow Channelholics, The State of the Channel Is…

Auburn student makes a 94-foot, length-of-the-court putt and wins a car



Rich: [00:00:00] And three, two, one blast off, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another episode of the MSP chat podcast, your weekly visit with two talking heads, talking with you about the services, strategies, and success tips you need. To make it big and manage services. My name is Rich Freeman. I’m chief content officer, channel master, the organization responsible for this pro fine program here.

I am joined this week by Mark Kral, our chief revenue officer, instead of erick Simpson, who would normally be my co host, erick is unavailable this week. And so we have brought in a A relief picture from the bullpen. He’s a phenomenal guy and a huge asset to the team. And let’s meet him right now.

Mark, how you doing? I have

Mark: absolutely no complaints. I think there’s a famous person who is a David Ramsey says better than I deserve. And truly, surely that way. They think

Rich: for asking. You bet. You bet. Mark you were with us from the birth of Channel Mastered a year ish ago at this point.

I think this is the first time we’ve had you on the show, though. There’s probably

Mark: a reason for that, but we won’t get into it. It’s a dangerous thing to give me a microphone. Many have learned, but you will see for yourself. Hopefully I I will keep us

Rich: out of trouble. Okay. All right. Let’s dive in with our story of the week, Mark.

And this is something that happened recently. You and I are both out on the road, attending events a lot. Recently I attended CompTIA’s. Communities and Councils Forum in Chicago. Every year at that show, Carolyn April who’s one of the industry research VPs at CompTIA, does a research presentation, a preview of her State of the Channel report, or CompTIA State of the Channel report, which will come out later.

But we get an early peek of it, at it at the show every year. Really interesting stuff. If you’re interested to to learn more about it I recommend you go to my blog, Channelholic, which you can find at channelholic. news. I have a whole writeup about it there, but I’m going to dive into one thing in particular here, Mark.

And get your feedback on this and I’ll just let folks in the audience know part of why I’m really interested to, to hear what Mark has to say is he has been a channel chief in the industry at some very familiar names, big companies that many of you have worked with are working with, but he was an MSP himself like erick once upon a time back in the early days.

And he knows a ton about building a successful managed services practice. So I’ll be curious. To hear what he has to say about this data. One of the things CompTIA did this year that they haven’t done before is they went out to MSPs and they asked them, would you say your business is doing better now than it was two years ago?

Or is your business not doing as well now as it was two years ago? And so you can separate out the people who are crushing it. Or at least feeling good about the growth arc that they’re on versus the people who are maybe struggling a little bit, not doing as well as they used to two years ago.

And then they use, they split the the audience up into those two groups and ask them about various different business practices. Are you doing this? Would you describe yourself that way? They came up with five things that the MSPs who are doing better than they were two years ago are doing in much, much bigger numbers than the MSPs who are not doing as well now as they were two years ago.

And so it’s a way to identify. Five really key best practices for running a healthy MSP. And I will quickly run through what those five things are, Mark. First of all employ a CFO or a finance professional. And I love this because very few MSPs do that, but I know for a fact from interviews and reporting I’ve done in the past, if you sell your firm to a private equity company, the very first thing they’re going to do is bring in a CFO, because that’s how you drive outsized growth.

So that’s one. Two the more successful MSPs describe their risk tolerance for borrowing or investing or hiring for spending money on the business as high, much bigger numbers than the people who are not doing as well. Much bigger numbers as well for MSPs the successful ones, saying that they offer cybersecurity services as a business line.

So it’s not just that I’m providing some services security related services in my core bundles as a business line. I do cybersecurity with my end users. Successful MSPs in bigger numbers are saying that they plan to sell AI solutions and just big picture, a relatively small number of the folks CompTIA surveyed [00:05:00] are doing AI solutions now.

But something like 47 percent of them said that they will be doing that by some point this year. And an even higher percentage of those higher growth MSPs said that. And last but not least the higher growth MSPs say that they are very satisfied With their vendor relationships and we could speculate why that might be.

There was some research come to you presented that in general are partnering with fewer vendors. And they’re happier about the relationships that they have with the fewer vendors that they’re partnering with, which is interesting. So five, five things. Some of them might be a little more surprising than others to the audience, Mark, really interested.

What jumps out at you about this? Great question. The Hab CFO, I think that’s a given because the better MSPs, the best in class MSPs know their competencies. So that, It’s they’re probably outsourcing sales and marketing early. And then they brought in sales and marketing professionals on staff if they’re at that level.

Mark: So CFO is just knowing their lane. That makes perfect sense. The high risk, absolutely. This is a high risk business. There’s no question about that. The MSPs is a, it’s a risk mitigation model where you’re taking risk from a customer and putting it on yourself and then distributing some of that to insurance to Software to vendors, which ties into your last one about satisfied with vendors.

You got to pick ones that you don’t have your back, whether it’s contractually or from a support standpoint selling AI, I’m going to yawn at that one. Because I’m not a believer. I am a huge believer in ai, don’t get me wrong, but I have not seen really good evidence for where MSPs are in a position to sell ai.

And I would love for somebody to change my mind in the area. I’m excited about ai. I just don’t know how that’s gonna happen yet. So I’m a wait and see believer, but I skipped one, which was cybersecurity. The reason I skipped that is I actually sat through a interview with Mike Sil today, who we know as the.

The godfather of compliance and security and disaster recovery, Mike has been just a pioneer in this industry and he made a comment that he, and if you knew Lester Kaiser, many have known him, he’s left the industry for much better job doing yacht charters, but Lester and him saw a van from a lead in supply service in Las Vegas.

That said managed services managed better on the side of the van. And they realized that selling managed services is not what we sell. We sell solutions. We solve problems and manage services is one of those things that even a linen supply company or a uniform supply company in the Las Vegas area could put on their van and it doesn’t differentiate anything about it.

But when somebody says I solve cyber security challenges, I mitigate your risks, I make you insurable. That to me, I think is the one that really stands out. And I think MSPs becoming MSSPs is just the beginning of a rebrand for MSPs to really find their lane. And why there’s such an high adoption rate amongst SMBs for using managed security service providers.

So that’s the one that jumps

Rich: out to me. Very interesting. Very interesting. And I will not attempt to convert you on AI. And I should say for folks in the audience, Mark knows more about AI, is more invested in AI as a productivity tool than anyone I know. He’s like the prompt guru for all of us at Channel Master and he’s always finding really interesting new tools and so on.

So he really is an AI believer, not yet a believer in AI as a revenue opportunity for MSPs. I’ll just say for folks in the audience, there is a Channelholic post recently on that topic, too. Cause, and this probably won’t come as a shock to you, Mark, the distributors, TD Cinex, Ingram Micro, D& H, they are all really evangelizing AI to their partners right now as a revenue opportunity.

Some of that, the low hanging fruit they’ll talk about is Microsoft Copilot. And, sell that you collect the pennies that Microsoft is going to share with you from a licensing standpoint, but you can implement, you can train you can bump up your monthly management fees because now you’re managing and monitoring that solution for them.

And then a little bit more ambitiously, they’re also encouraging partners to get into. Business process optimization. And this is real, you were talking about solutions. This is real kind of consulting heavy stuff where you sit down with a customer and you talk about a workflow that maybe isn’t as efficient as it could be, or as costing them a lot of money, where could we inject AI in that?

And it’s an area where the distributors have their own sort of professional services arms, people who they, so if you’re not feeling confident about that conversation. There are outside resources you can pull in. So I, I’ve spoken to some really smart people who have told me it’s premature [00:10:00] to be doing AI solutions as an MSP that’s coming.

We’re not there yet. I’ve also spoken to some really smart people who have said, get in now. And so that I was just summarizing for you what the get in now argument looks like.

Mark: I will have to go reread the article. I, and I think it’s going to be an absolute requirement that. MSPs understand the role of AI in their customers and where they can serve their customers as a tool, because you’re going to have customers that like MSPs tend to chase shiny objects.

And I think part of the job is to keep the customer focused on making widgets or servicing widgets or whatever their customer’s business model is. And AI. It can be as much a distractor as it can be a productivity tool. There’s a lot of risk in just the time. It’s like social media.

It’s a powerful tool, but it will suck your time like nothing else. How to monetize it. I think there’s going to be more productivity as a result of it than there will be monetization, but I’m anxious to see see me proven wrong there.

Rich: Okay. All right. Very interesting. Now, folks, this is the point in the show where ordinarily erick would provide a tip of the week.

Obviously, erick is not on the show this week. But we’re going to do something very similar to that with Mark here and a fun fact in just a few minutes time, we’re going to go into our spotlight interview segment. Our interview guest this week is Carl Bjerke. He is the CEO and Chief Solution Architect at Compliancy, which we’ll as it sounds, is a vendor that focuses on compliance services for MSPs.

It turns out, and erick and I, and this is an interview that erick and I did, we discovered off the air before recording the interview that Carl, once upon a time used to work for Mark, back when Mark was an MSP. And all these years later Carl speaks very fondly of Mark. They are still friends.

And it just got me to thinking, Mark, if we’re going to get into a tip of the week, you clearly are pretty good, or you certainly were when you were an MSP, at driving employee satisfaction, employee loyalty, for Carl to have such fond thoughts about you all these years later, so give me two tips, two things that you might advise the MSPs in the audience to do, Mark.

To, to increase employee satisfaction and loyalty. Yeah,

Mark: sorry to correct you publicly, but actually he didn’t work for me when I was at MSB. I would have hired him a heartbeat. Oh my gosh. He worked for me on the vendor side for one of the big names that we all know. I had the privilege of interviewing him.

I flew up to DC or whatever. And he took a train down from Massachusetts and we met it, whatever it is, grand central station or something. I don’t know what the train station is. I don’t know the Northeast. And ultimately moved down to the Carolinas to hold that role. And yeah, I really enjoyed working for Carl.

Part of the reason I enjoyed working for him, my first tip would be, is I like to listen to fresh ideas. And as a sales leader it’s easy and especially for me with my very humble demeanor to think I always know what’s right. And Carl is one of those people that has a completely different perspective.

So I want to say, if you’ve got some people with perspectives and you do working for you, shut up and listen for a minute. That’s always been my challenge. And Carl is one of those people that when he talks, it’s a really good idea to listen because some of the perspectives. Come from a completely different angle that I just didn’t imagine possible.

So listen more and talk less as a leader especially in a sales environment where you think you have a process and methodology figured out. Don’t be afraid to get uncomfortable in the conversations and let the employees or direct reports have a seat at the table you work for them. They don’t work for you.

We all work for the customers and we work for the customer’s customer, but the sales is your first line of communication with potential customers and existing customers. So listen to them. Remember you work for them, take their feedback and make it a part of. Incorporate it into your operations and processes.

That would be tip number one. I learned from Carl specifically. And I think the second one actually comes from Carl, because as you’re going to find out this interview, Carl is a unique individual and I wouldn’t change a thing about the guy, the crazy haircut the fashion statements he can make the humor it’s all priceless.

Let your employees be real. This, you got to wear this uniform and walk this way and talk this way that is yesterday. Okay, there are some really unique personalities within your organization, and I would not try to change those. I would not try to conform those. Obviously, you’ve got to, you’ve got to have some rules somewhere.

But when it comes to individuality leverage that because the customers you’re working with, especially working with small businesses or medium sized businesses. There are people doing business with people and you’ve got to let your people be real. Let them be their selves. Encourage [00:15:00] individuality.

Let it, let the diversity be a shining factor in your persona as a company. You can have your brand requirements. You can have your logo. You can even have your dress code if you feel that’s appropriate, but I would question that I would let your employees be individuals and let them are. That’s part of why you hired them

Rich: in the first place.

You know what? Two really great pieces of advice there, Mark. I love them both, and they’re both they will contribute to the success of the business overall, but you can pretty clearly see why they would contribute to employee satisfaction and loyalty, right? Your employees are just going to be happier on the job, more loyal, they’re going to work harder if they feel like their opinions matter.

Like you’re listening to them, you’re taking them seriously. That’s an empowering feeling. That’s a feeling that, that conveys respect and appreciation. And everybody, I think, responds to that. And similar kind of thing, if you’re giving people some room to be themselves and you’re not trying to fit them into some cookie cutter mold, that just makes the workplace a better more enjoyable more satisfying place to be.

And you mentioned address code, I, most of the MSPs I know they want you to if you’re going to be talking to customers in person, they want you to, look a certain way and maintain a certain professional demeanor. But to let your personality, your individual individuality shine through and trust people to do that, without embarrassing the business.

And so I think that too is empowering and rewarding for employees. Absolutely. All right. Great stuff. Thank you so much, Mark. Folks, we’re going to take a break right now. When we come back on the other side, we will be joined by Carl Bierke, who I mentioned before. This is an interview that erick and I recorded.

Just a few days ago so Mark was not part of this, but we will go into the interview here, we’ll speak with Carl Bjerke, and then after that, Mark and I will touch base again in the final segment of the show, so stick around, folks, we are gonna be right back.

And welcome back to part two of this episode of the MSP Chatted Podcast, our spotlight interview segment. We are joined this week by Carl Bierke. He is the CEO and Chief Solution Architect of Co compliancy. And we are going to talk a little bit about compliance, but we’re gonna talk, in particular, I think about reimagining thinking a little bit more broadly about what it means to be in the compliance market.

But before we do that let’s go ahead and meet Carl tell folks in our audience about you and about co

Carl: compliancy. Sure. Thank you so much. So I’m not actually the chief solutions architect. We have someone on my team who’s much smarter than me when it comes to the ins and outs of the actual technology.

I consider myself a solution evangelist though. And the reason for that to be very frank, is that we are at the beginning of what I would consider the compliance wave, not the peak. And so as we look to meet with partners. We really see that a huge portion of that is education. And that, Hey, there is a problem here that your customers are having that, that you can solve.

So yes, I am the CEO I’m based out of beautiful North Carolina. And compliancy is a SaaS solution, and we’re really committed to making sure that small and medium sized businesses, which are traditionally serviced by MSPs can take advantage of the same types of to market strategies where small Compliance becomes a value add as they’re talking to their customers in what has traditionally been a I’m going to say underserved area, just frankly, as a function of resources, whether that be a compliance talent, which is expensive or available

Rich: tool sets.

Carl you have been in the world of managed services. I think almost as long as erick has, which is saying something. But when we first met, we were talking and you said something that was really interesting to me. You likened the moment we’re in with compliance right now to the moment we were in with managed services, call it 20 years ago, that, there was a problem and managed services were the solution.

And the problem at 20 years ago was IT had grown more complex. There was more that. It could do, then people realized MSPs were the answer to that problem. What’s the equivalent problem and solution around compliance right now? Sure.

Carl: So in, in addition to the complexity that new technologies really brought to the table at the birth of the MSP, I would say the other really critical part of that is the value that could be derived from technology.

And when I see where we are now. We know why the MSP was perfectly situated at its time to solve the technology problem, as I mentioned before. Portion of that is complexity. The other part is value. [00:20:00] When we look at compliance now, large companies, large institutions, they have always had access to resources, whether it be people or funds, right?

And the same could be true as for technology. So if we look at airlines and banks, they’ve always managed large, complicated technology. To me, the reason I think this is the beginning of the wave rather than the crest, Is for better or worse COVID taught us a lot. And one of those things was the business we’ve been doing on a handshake can really be affected by things we don’t understand.

And that’s really where compliance comes into play in that it levels the playing field in terms of how your vendors and suppliers and customers view you. And so it is really critical that small and medium sized businesses. Be able to avoid the downside of lack of compliance from a regulatory and, we’ll call it a punishment perspective in terms of fines and other things.

I really to look at it more of a glass is half full perspective where there are a lot of advantages to compliance in terms of the sales process. Where you can differentiate yourself from the competitors and the nature of it is MSPs are ideally suited to pick up just like they did with the technology on the compliance piece.

And there’s a couple of things that are driving that one of those is certainly the fact that more than 80 percent almost 90 percent of small, medium sized businesses in the US are already leveraging MSPs for services. And then when we look at the overall mid market, one of the things that those companies are consistently doing is wanting to have technology call managed again with an MSP.

And so I think the stars are really aligning for the MSPs to solve this problem because they already are managing a huge part of the technology, which drives compliance. But it’s not just technology, and that can be the hurdle or stumbling block for the MSPs, which do a great job on technology, but don’t necessarily have experienced headcount when it comes to the compliance offering.

And so that really is the biggest challenge, and we’ve come up with a way to solve that problem for them.

Erick: Hey Carl, I really appreciate your perspective and how you’re, looking at the opportunity the way that you are. I think today. If you’ve been in the channel as long as I have being, being a recovering MSP, like I like to joke we’ve seen a lot of pain in the initial journey and then solved it and I would say perfected it for the most part, right?

We’ve got all kinds of MSPs. All over the their business maturity journey, right? We’ve got new MSPs coming in every year. We’ve got MSPs that have been around for a while. We’ve got MSPs that we’ve worked with for 15 years that are, that now we’re helping to exit or maybe go to that next level of growth through acquisition and things like that.

So we really understand MSPs. I think you and I share that. But what do you say? To the talents that we have in getting MSPs to appreciate the opportunity that compliance brings without thinking it’s too complex or too risky. How do we address that? I focus a lot on thought leadership and training and education, but is that where we are with the MSPs today?

As you mentioned, we’re at the beginning of this wave. But they’re concerned about, how complex is it? How risky is it? So what are your thoughts?

Carl: I think there’s another huge concern they have, which is how do they show their value? So when we look back in time not all that far, MSPs could make themselves known to their customers, right?

Disks would fail. They’re going on site. They’re physically managing infrastructure on site, whether they be servers or workstations, et cetera, et cetera. And as we have moved towards the cloud model, and we’ve moved towards to solid state disc. Those MSPs aren’t quote unquote in front of their customers in the same way.

And so I think one of the challenges they face is not being commoditized, right? Because if you’re not seeing my face, you’re not seeing the things that I’m actually doing for you, how do I drive my value? And I think a big part of that value differentiation to be very blunt comes from next generation services and a big portion just from a gravity perspective.

Whether MSPs want to be in the compliance business or not, almost three quarters of end user companies are actively raising their hand and they’re saying we want and we need help with compliance. And there’s only a couple possible outcomes there. One is they can call their MSP who is set up and is capable of delivering that compliance.

Or if that customer makes that call to that MSP and they’re not in a position to deliver that I think there’s really the possibility of losing that Entire business by not having the [00:25:00] compliance as part of their offering as it’s becoming a necessity for their end users. And yes, there is complexity.

Yes, there is the need to adapt. But that doesn’t make it any less part of moving the business forward in what is functionally a different environment in terms of what customers expect.

Rich: So what are the issues maybe that keep. More MSPs from getting into compliance, taking compliance seriously, not, to your point, not doing it puts you at risk in terms of the competitive threat from somebody else who does and there is an opportunity, as you also pointed out, to differentiate yourself from this mass of MSPs out there because you have this Skillset and maybe your competitors.

But what are the issues that keep MSPs from from getting in and taking this seriously, given those two facts? Sure.

Carl: So first I think I want to compare a compliance tool, a little bit to something like QuickBooks, right? So when QuickBooks is up and running, it is an operational system. And any MSP on the planet is very capable.

Of managing that solution from a technology perspective. But in order to have QuickBooks set up and working for you the way that you want, you still have tax questions. And that’s why you’d have a tax attorney or an accountant, right? Do I purchase this building this year? Do I want to amortize over five years or 30 years?

There’s all kinds of questions related to in this case, how do I manage my financial business? And not just the software. And so that’s a long way of saying that. I think the challenge for most MSPs is that they. They don’t have the level of compliance expertise on staff yet. And I say yet, because inevitably they will as it becomes a more core part of their business.

But compliance people aren’t inexpensive. And at Compliancy, we have come up with a way to bridge that we’ll call it knowledge or skills gap. So that MSPs can start to deliver compliance services very quickly without necessarily having all of that skill set in house. The other part that I will say is unlike a lot of other technology, which can be managed by that MSP compliance by its very nature is not just technology driven.

And so it’s really important to have a tool set that allows for what I would call co managed compliance where the MSP manages the technology and the Information that is related to compliance driven by that technology, but there needs to be a way to also integrate the end user organization into that we’ll call compliance task list for lack of a better term which is a little bit different than other types of technology like endpoint or security,

Rich: one of the interesting things about Your product and something that jumped out at me just doing a little research for this interview is you have support built into the product for CMMC and GDPR and HIPAA and so on.

But you also provide functionality for complying with frameworks like NIST and probably some others out there. And it just got me thinking about a larger question, not so much tied to your product, which is just, are we thinking too narrowly about compliance? When we talk about getting a compliance practice off the ground, delivering compliance services, are we thinking too purely in terms of regulatory compliance?

Whereas there are other forms of compliance for the SMB end user to be thinking about to take a really obvious example, their cyber insurance policy and compliance with that but others as well.

Carl: I would say that is a 100% true statement. And every MSP. Wants to differentiate itself from its counterparts, right?

Drive better value. And strictly when we think of compliance, yes, we think of regulatory, we think of internal frameworks, we think of cyber insurance, but I think one of the kind of unspoken use cases, and this is one that does play to us very well, just as a function of our flexibility is. If you were to take any given partner that manages technology, one of the things that they would really like to do is to be able to create their own branded solution.

And so lots of companies can go and offer CMMC or NIST or PCI. But the flexibility, and again, specifically in terms of our platform, an MSP can create its own framework, its own set of standards. And we do have partners that will leverage our solution to make sure that all of their clients are being managed to a common standard that they have defined.

Right? And when you put that on a quote, that’s very different than CMMC compliance, which is, or NIST compliance, or FINRA, whatever it might be. And again, I like to think of solving problems [00:30:00] not just because there is a downside, but really because there is a tremendous upside if you’re looking at these types of things in the right way.

Specifically when we mentioned cyber insurance it used to be the challenge was applying and getting a decent rate once the actuaries and the people that are very good at math actually could calculate risk based on numbers of years of data, premiums really exploded. I think that’s a fair statement.

And I think you would both agree. The challenge now though, isn’t just being in an idealized state. To qualify for a good rate. It’s how do I maintain that affirmatively to be able to prove to my insurance company that I’m doing the things that I am supposed to do. And so again, within our platform, we have the ability to take a cyber insurance policy as issued and create a framework out of it, which allows us to affirmatively manage to the requirements that are within that.

So if there is a breach. The likelihood of someone of a company being able to basically clawback and rescind the policy is hugely decreased.

Erick: Yeah, we talk about that quite a bit these days, Carl is this reliance on having a minimum bundle or portfolio as an MSP that every one of their clients must subscribe to, including some sort of an enhanced cybersecurity service that helps at a minimum for an unregulated.

And we can see here, in this particular case, a client aligned with the requirements of their cyber insurance policy for the specific reasons you just stated. So, getting back from an MSP’s point of view, how do you see an MSP building a profitable compliance business or business unit in their organization?

Do we start off with a project based approach that says, hey, we’re going to do an assessment? And we’re going to see how far off from whatever compliance standard we’re targeting for, and then we remediate to that point to demonstrate we, or is it an ongoing kind of compliance as a service?

Cause you know, MSPs love that MRR, the valuations of our organizations are really predicated on that. Or is it a combination of both?

Carl: I go very strongly into the operational approach, okay? I do not run a managed service provider, but MRR is king. Eventually people look to exit their business and projects are a liability and MRR is an asset.

The other part of that is there are so many advantages to operationalizing. Compliance, because now you can track monitor and manage if I took a test last year and I passed and I do no preparation, I don’t know what the changes are for this year. My organization changes, my customers have different demands of me.

What assurance do I actually have that I’m meeting the requirements? Almost none. And so I think a big part of deriving value from compliance is the operationalized nature, frankly, of it. Part of it is the MRR component for the MSP. Part of it is frankly, the end user customer paying for this as just an ongoing part of their business.

One of the real challenges is that a lot of the competitors really want to sell their product in a traditional project based or VAR transaction to their end users. And that, that is not how the MSPs want to build their business. And so again I can speak for our approach when we designed our tool, it was multi tenant by design, right?

That’s a gotta have it. If you don’t have that, you’re not going to be effective in the MSP space. And so we actually spent a significant amount of time in focus groups, even though I’ve been doing this most of my life. And so my colleagues, we still want to go talk to people and we’re smart enough to know we don’t know everything.

And so we came up with a go to market model that is not based on what we thought would be great. It’s what our partners told us they actually need. And some of that can come down to, how the product is licensed, whether or not you sell a direct business or not, how you aggregate discounts, what you consider a customer, all those types of things.

We really focused on hyper simplifying. Our product set so that when an MSP is going to their customer, they do not have to go back to that customer to get additional information to quote. If I’m doing business with Bank of Americka and I’m going to close a three and a half million dollar deal, it should be complicated by design.

There’s a lot of customization that needs to happen. And I’m going to hop on a jet and I’m going to come out and see until we get that deal closed. MSPs need to be op be able to operate transactionally and repetitively. And a big part of that, even though it sounds so silly, is [00:35:00] just ease of licensing and doing business.

And so we have a really flat model again, in terms of our tool set, where we don’t charge for frameworks. Our users are defined the way that every other user defines. Or every other product at an MSP defines a user. So when they’re going to talk to a customer we slip right into their existing sales process rather than breaking it in some way.

Erick: You speak very strongly about creating an ongoing recurring revenue stream, building that, that stickiness with a client, aligning your approach to what an MSP’s approach is. And. And building that as a service model over time. And I think it, it aligns well with the reality that, the powers that be keep moving our cheese in terms of regulations and compliance, right?

We’re now at NIST 800 171 REV2. We’re at CMMC 2. 0. Do you feel that even non regulated businesses today that enjoy, Hey, I don’t really have a model that is regulated for me. Are ultimately going to be regulated in some form or fashion. Opening up more opportunities.

Carl: Yeah great question.

And first of all, the changes in frameworks, that is one of the really beautiful things about a SaaS solution, right? It’s, our teams are managing that as the tool is being delivered. You don’t have to worry about your own um, updating your your own requirements based on the new requirements.

In terms of the regulated industry, I actually look at it again in terms of an opportunistic perspective rather than a pessimistic one. So if I were working an organization and I had a certain series of certifications, you can see this for people that work in the insurance industry and others, right?

They have all of these certifications behind their name. If I was calling on a customer I would say something effective, Hey, Mr. Customer, whether you decide to do business with us or not, there are some things that are really important that I think you need to just know about. And here are a couple of those.

And I would mention potentially a cybersecurity framework, which is standardized and some other things. And then I would say, whether you decide to do business with us or not, I would really encourage you to make sure that the people you are talking to meet these standards. When I do that, I set myself apart that, and those things are important and certainly the next person who’s going to sell to that MSP, if I’ve done my job and I’ve expressed the importance of these things, educated that buyer, they go and they do their own research.

They’re going to knock everybody who doesn’t meet those requirements, whether they’re regulated or not. And so I really see it as a huge competitive advantage.

Rich: All right interesting topic. It’s striking to me the degree to which compliance has become, or is becoming a sort of must have offer for MSPs, but also the degree to which MSPs are still trying to apply it.

Wrap their head around what that entails and cope with the skills requirements and so on. So I think there’s a lot more to be said about compliance going forward, but I really appreciated your time and your insights, Carl. Thanks for joining us. For folks in our audience who would like to follow up with you, learn more about you, learn more about compliancy where should they go?

Carl: Sure. Just as we’re getting ready to sign off here, I do want to say just one final thing in terms of removing those barriers to entry for MSPs, right? So there are companies in the security space like Arctic Wolf, which offer that managed model on behalf of the MSPs, right? That allows them to overcome the the staffing needed within that MSP to manage their security tools effectively.

Unlike a lot of tools in our space, we offer that same level of service. So if a managed service provider is interesting, interested in getting started with compliance, but have not validated the market yet to their own satisfaction, we can really be the entity that is providing the expertise on their behalf.

With that said, if someone would love to or even just or tolerate talking to us LinkedIn is a great place to start and it’s just compliancy. So compliance with why is where we are on LinkedIn. Our website is compliancy. com. If someone would like to have a conversation and I am old school, not every call that I do is a video based one.

And with a face like this, I’m sure you understand. They can just call us direct. In fact they can call me direct. And if you’re okay, I’ll give you my phone number. We are. 603 233 0213. And the final thing I’ll say is whether MSPs decide to work with, um, us or not, I think the real big takeaway is that businesses need to adapt, and MSPs are no different, to solve the problems of the future, not of the past.

And compliance is a present and future problem that needs a good solve. And MSPs are ideally situated to be the entities that [00:40:00] solve their problems on behalf of their end users.

Rich: Said. Said, and I completely agree with that. So thanks again, Carl. For our audio only audience, I’ll just point out, if you’re looking Carl up on LinkedIn, his last name is Bjerke.

That’s B J E R K E if you want to find him there. So once again Carl, thank you very much for joining us. We’re going to take a break now. When erick and I come back after the break, we’re going to share some parting thoughts. Or final thoughts, rather, on the conversation we just had with Carl.

Maybe have a little fun and wrap up this episode for you. So stick around, we are going to be right back.

All right. And welcome back to part three of this episode of the MSP chat podcast. We wrap up the show a little bit here. You erick and I did the interview as opposed to you, Mark, but very interesting conversation with Carl. I’ll just say and get your impression on this, that the thing that I found most interesting and important about what he had to say is MSPs really need to broaden their perspective on what it means To be offering compliance services.

Absolutely. That’s HIPAA and GDPR and CMMC and regulations like that. It could absolutely be cyber insurance and staying in compliance with the cyber insurers requirements, or if you’ve adopted a framework like CIS or NIST. You need a, you need some help staying in compliance with that, but he goes even beyond that basically, any kind of checklist, process, anything that a business has decided it wants to do in a certain way.

Is potentially an opportunity for compliance services, and you as an MSP can help them stay in compliance with whatever that is. And I would just encourage folks in the audience who enjoyed the interview if you’re not doing compliance at all right now, rethink that. Because I think this is a huge need among end users right now.

But if you are doing compliance, take a step back, see if there’s an opportunity to think even bigger about what it means to help people comply.

Mark: Absolutely. Great interview, Rich. Thank you.

Rich: Thank you. Actually I probably didn’t say it before, but we owe you the thanks for introducing us to Carl and very glad to meet him and have him on the show. We thank him one last time for for joining us and folks that leaves us.

With time for just one last thing, which comes to us from Auburn University now, for the golfers in the audience, think about the longest putt that you’ve ever made. In my case, that’s probably about six feet, and it was blind luck, but just think about the longest putt that you’ve ever made.

Now imagine a situation where you’re participating that In one of those like halftime contests at a college basketball game. In this case I think this actually happened during the second half as opposed to halftime, but I don’t know, Auburn University basketball game they brought somebody onto the court, from the audience, gave him an opportunity to win a car if he could sink a length of court putt, which turns out to be 94 feet.

94 feet marked in front of an audience, you get one shot at And by golly, this guy made the shot. You can find we’ll have a link to this in the show notes for the episode. You can get the video online, 94 feet, full length of the court with all that pressure, all those eyes on him, he makes the shot, he gets a car, a Toyota out of it, and just for part of why I was so interested in this, I looked it up cause I was curious.

The longest putt in tournament play that Tiger Woods ever made was 91 feet. This guy in the audience Connor Boyle, Has outplayed, out putted Tiger Woods. How do you, what do you think about that, Mark? I

Mark: think that windmill gets in my way every time I try to sink a putt. So that’s, it’s really killed my golf game.

I’ll keep trying.

Rich: All right. All right. Some, someday we’ll get out on the links together and

Mark: let’s get some warm water.

Rich: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Better where you are than that, than where I am. Folks, that is all the time that we have this week for the this MSP Chat Podcast. We thank you so much for joining us.

We’ll be back again in a week with another episode. If you are listening to the audio version of this podcast right now, did you know that there’s a video version as well on YouTube? You can look us up there. You’ll find all our episodes. If you’re watching the YouTube version, but you’re also into audio podcasts, Go to wherever it is that you get your audio podcasts, Spotify, Apple, Google, you name it, you’re gonna find MSP Chat there.

Wherever it is that you find us, please subscribe, rate, review, so that other people like yourself can find the show too, it really does help us out, and we appreciate it. This show is produced by the [00:45:00] great Russ Johns, he’s part of the team here at Channel Mastered. He would be happy to produce a podcast for you if you’re interested.

And if you want to learn more about Russ and the work he does with his clients, go to russjohns. com. If you want to learn more about Channel Master and all the great things we do for our clients here just go to www. channelmaster. com and you’ll get the whole story there. So with that, once again, folks, we thank you for joining us.

We’re going to be back again in a week with another episode. Until then, please remember. You can’t spell MSP. Look at me at the very last moment. I’m screwing this up. Mark. You can’t spell channel without M S P.

Mark: There you go. He nailed the landing.