How Partners Vet Vendors & 3 Cringey Things Vendors Need to Stop Doing

    Table of contents:


    We all do our best to attract and recruit top channel partners:

    • We pour hours into marketing and PR
    • We carefully build ideal partner profiles to target the right partners
    • And, we significantly invest in trade shows that potential partners may or may not be at

    Justifiably so. 

    It’s no secret, potential partners start scoping you out long before approaching you.

    When partners research your company and the claims you make, do they take it all at face value? Or do they turn to peers with firsthand experience?

    Reading just one angry complaint on Reddit can make a prospect stop considering you altogether.

    Sure, it’s easy to brush off anonymous complaints as “unimportant”. But don’t forget, the channel community is listening. 

    Today’s episode brings a new perspective on partnerships.  We welcome someone representing the other side of the channel: a channel partner. We’re giving you inside information straight from inside the MSP community.

    Keep reading to find out:

    • How partners vet vendors
    • How to manage your reputation in the channel community
    • Which common practices turn partners off from working with you
    • How to start delivering marketing that adds more value to your partners

    Our guest has been in the tech space for nearly 30 years. For the last two decades, he's been a tech entrepreneur and an advocate for open-source software. He holds great influence within the MSP community.

    His YouTube channel, Lawrence Systems, has over 280 thousand subscribers, where he talks about Tech, IT, and Cybersecurity. Today, he's the president of Lawrence Technology Services, an MSP based in Michigan. He's got a video called Vetting Vendors, which coincides with this topic.

    He’s here to tell us How Partners Vet Vendors & 3 Cringey Things Vendors Need to Stop Doing.

    How and where channel partners research and vet vendors

    Paul Bird:So let's get onto today's topic and start right with the basics. Why is it important for you as the owner of a managed service provider (MSP) to thoroughly vet the vendors you work with?

    Tom Lawrence: 

    "The challenge with vetting vendors is making sure that the vendor is going to have an optimal relationship with you and support you long-term."

    What channel partners look for in a new partnership 

    If I’m making a bet on a product, I want to make sure:

    1. It does what the vendor says it does
    2. I will be supported 
    3. I can sell it with a straight face and confidently say to my client that this product will do what I say it does

    This sounds kind of generic but I need to know what the long-term partner relationship looks like.

    Currently, we have 74 companies under contract. Anything I add to my stack is multiplied by 74 companies, multiplied by the number of their endpoints. 

    So there's a commitment on me to:

    And hopefully, the product won’t cause issues for my client.

    The relationship has to be there.

    You want to make sure that with VoIP services, for instance, they have solid agreements in place that they won't try to go direct on deals.

    This is something that threw Dell under the bus. Dell got caught going around and violating partner agreements.

    You didn't build the relationship with Dell, just for them to:

    • Undercut you
    • Sell directly to your client
    • Cut you out of a deal

    You build a relationship with everyone working within a channel partner program.

    Communities used by channel partners to vet vendor products

    Paul Bird: I'm sure that leveraging relationships you have with other people working in this space is helpful. Can you define the MSP community and tell us a little bit about where you connect with each other?

    vendors all have a reputation

    Tom Lawrence: One of the big places we connect with each other is MSP Geek. They're not just an organization, they are truly a non-profit organization. It’s just a lot of MSP people helping each other out.

    Then, you have things like Reddit

    Reddit’s good and bad. There are always people complaining about something in there. That's another place where people talk about vendors. Some of the vendors take the time to properly engage and interact with us.

    It’s the same thing with MSP Geek, though they have very strict moderation rules about vendor participation. Vendors can answer questions, but they're not there to sell. And then the MSPs can just ask questions about the product and things like that.

    Those are the big community ones.
    Then there are the meet-ups and all the different peer groups you can join.

    For instance, I'll mention DattoCon. We just went to DattoCon. It was all about relationship building between all the MSPs. It was lots of late nights, having business discussions, and sharing knowledge with each other.

    You know, building a good, solid list of people you can trust and people you know. You can all get perspectives on the different vendors and how their products work.

    Red flags partners see when vetting a vendor

    Paul Bird: Let’s talk about some of the red flags and the green flags when you think about working with different vendors.

    As you're going through, vetting vendors through the community, through the forums, and networking events, what are some of the red flags that you tend to notice? 

    What would make you stop pursuing an alliance or a partnership with a specific vendor?

    Tom Lawrence: So there are a couple of things.

    1. How bad is a vendor’s marketing

    When I say that, it's specifically the overstated claims, especially in a cybersecurity world.  For instance, when you hear vendors claim that no matter what the problem is, they would solve it; that, hands down, nothing would ever get by them. Statements saying their product is perfect.

    “Anyone who makes absolute statements about a product is usually over-exaggerating things. It just doesn't work that way.” 

    It's not a realistic statement. It's not something anyone can back up.

    2. A price so low it’s suspicious 

    There are two reasons you're going to have a low price:

    • You're not doing exactly what you say you’re doing. It means you’re taking advantage of gaps in the market. There can be some gray areas where certain vendors will say they can do X for 1/10th of the cost of a competitor.
    • Your pricing is actually that low. However, I look at things like TechCrunch to determine if they might just be making a land grab.

    A land grab refers to when some companies have hopes of being bought. They built a product and they're gonna go way under the competitive price to grab up as many buyers as they can. Then, they'll sell to a VC firm that absolutely knows how to get a return on investment.

    Trying to figure out if a vendor is the right price for your market is a hard thing. MSPs are always looking for a deal because everything scales out. We have to make a margin and this also goes back to a relationship with our clients.

    There aren't hard red or green flags I can tell you about. It's an overall gut feeling I get from vendor companies.

    Green Flags Partners Look For When Vetting a Vendor

    Paul Bird:What about on the other side when you're going through vetting vendors? What are some of the key moments where you say, this looks like a vendor I want to partner with? The ones that get the green flag all the way?

    Tom Lawrence: The vendors you see engaging with the community. They're holding a lot of free webinars or smaller events in your local area

    Some storage vendors are even doing this. There was an event here in Detroit. I got an invite. I was on their mailing list – that's how I knew about it. They didn't mail me any more stuff, but they built a community.

    They left a good amount of time for me to interact with all the other local people that had shown up to the event. 

    They got us some food and talked about their product while we ate. And they only asked for a small amount of my time. I think we were only there for three or four hours – I'll go somewhere for a few hours.

    They raised the bar for education; it wasn’t product-centric. The education was problem-solution-centric, and of course, they have a product that fills it.

    “For vendors who can afford it: good education is also good marketing.”

    That means you’re building some goodwill for the community. You're pushing out a lot of information. Education is near and dear to my heart because as we raise the education of the community, everybody wins.

    By providing free information, people become more sympathetic to your product. MSPs get that you must sell products to fund this education you’re providing, therefore, I like your product.

    1st Cringey Thing Vendors Must Stop Doing: Misrepresenting themselves

    Paul Bird:Now I want to get to the cringeworthy things.

    You did this YouTube video on Vetting Vendors where you focused specifically on misleading claims. Without naming any names, maybe walk us through those claims a little bit. What was being talked about?

    Avoid absolute claims

    Tom Lawrence: It started with the claim that they can absolutely stop all known and unknown threats. This was the statement put out by their marketing people on LinkedIn. 

    Of course, you just can't make a claim like that. It's not tenable.

    Larger companies know better. They know working in the security space you just don't make that type of claim.

    The small companies try to do it as a land grab (to grab market share). They’re trying to say, their product can do X better than companies 10X the size.

    This whole situation turned into an argument. At first, the company doubled down on its claims. 
    And then someone pointed out that they had several security flaws in their adjacent security stack offering. 

    Basically, there was some really bad scripting and some really bad implementations of their product. Their own product was full of flaws and there is nothing security researchers like more than being told they can't break something.

    Obviously, it didn't take long to break. And, then the company making these claims deleted all of its LinkedIn posts.

    Of course, it was covered publically. And the MSP community all documented it. The people at CRN created an article on it, and I think they had about 70 screenshots included, just so they could parse through what happened. 

    be cautious with the vendor statements you make

    Don't capitalize on disaster

    Paul Bird:Wow, I mean, if it's bulletproof, let's just test it.

    Tom Lawrence:  Yeah. And we're recording this interview on the same day we just got notice of the giant Uber breach. There are already cringe-worthy callouts happening.

    I’ll refer to Infosec, cybersecurity researchers, picking apart the breach. Whoever broke into Uber is just doing it for the fun of it. They're just dumping screenshot after screenshot. 

    Of course, vendors take notice, too. 

    A few cybersecurity people are tweeting right now and basically dumping every vendor that's taking advantage and sending e-mails right now. They’re putting vendors on notice and calling them out on Twitter.

    So it’s cringe-worthy when there’s a cybersecurity incident and vendors say,  “we could have stopped it. Buy our product instead.”

    “A security incident is not a product marketing opportunity.”  

    This actually happened once when I was on SolarWinds’ advisory council.

    SolarWinds had a very large incident. When it happened, other vendor salespeople reached out to me right away. They were saying, “you gotta drop that product and use ours instead. We’re not breached like SolarWinds.”

    Again, this is not a marketing opportunity.

    They were also conflating what actually happened. They completely ignored the truth and started messaging me. Yeah sure, that's crunchy guys, but it’s not the time to take advantage.

    How vendors can earn back trust once it’s broken

    Paul Bird: In the event that you as a channel partner experience a loss of trust, does it affect the vendor's reputation forever? 

    Or, is there any way that a vendor can come back after either breaking or losing your trust through an incident like a security breach? 

    Or worse, when they try to take a sale directly from you – is trust gone for good? Are there situations where they can earn trust back?

    Tom Lawrence:  They can, and one vendor, in particular, has. There’s a vendor we’ve used for a couple of years now. They sent me some spammy marketing and I immediately notified them.

    They immediately replied and said they were gonna look into it and make sure it wouldn’t happen again.

    Then it happened again.

    They said you're gonna get an apology and we’ll make this person apologize for it.

    And because I have forums, there's a company that wants me to use their product.

    I told them I’d look at it – that the product looks nice. So I went around and called the vendor’s people.

    And then, out of the blue, someone who I didn’t talk to but who’s high up the ladder, signs up for my forums. They didn't hide the fact that they were using a company e-mail address or anything.  And they just started posting their promotional articles.


    • “What do you think of this company?” 
    • “I think they have a neat product.”

    That was their first post on my forums and it links directly back to their product.

    So I grabbed screenshots and the link. I unlisted it. Then, showed the e-mail address to their internal team.

    I said, “please tell me you guys didn’t authorize this.” 

    They responded and said, that person has now deleted their account and they have.

    The vendor response is what builds trust back.

    So yes, these companies can come back. 

    I get that businesses put pressure on the salespeople to make numbers. But if the salesperson is really good, they're gonna focus on relationship building and are going to focus on being someone that knows me by my first name. Someone who knows something about me.

    If they're spamming, they're gonna go look at my forums and sign up and post a bunch of links.

    If they take the high road, the long-term road, sure, it's gonna take you a lot longer to build your book of business. But if you take the high road, it’s going to build better vendor relationships.

    You have people like me who see someone move from one company to another.

    I tell them, “you're always cool. Just let me know where you're going because you probably have a cool product that you're going on to [sell]. I'd rather you be my sales rep. So wherever you're going, let me know because I'm interested in your product.”

    Paul Bird:So, it's relationships. 

    How vendors can be more transparent

    Paul Bird:You also mentioned something there that I think is also really key, which is transparency. That's important to have on both sides of the channel.

    From your experience, is there anything that a vendor should be doing more to increase that level of transparency?

    Tom Lawrence:  At any opportunity, simply ask, “how's your day going?”

    “Some of the small talk can lead them to knowing something about you. I like the rapport I've built with vendors and sales reps. It feels more transparent. I always want vendors to get to the point, but I like the reps who actually knew something about me.”  

    For instance, the ones who say, “hey Tom, I see you have a YouTube channel”, or something like that.

    It's not just transparency, it's more personalism.

    “I always want to know what their intent is. Please get to the point where you tell me the price relatively quickly."

    We don't need to have three meetings, just tell me:

    • What does your product do? 
    • What's the pain point it solves? 

    I make sure vendors are clear on those things.

    I usually start with a lot of these questions and get the vendor to show me what they can do.

    Some vendors I've told flat-out, “I've looked at your website, and I don't know what you do. 
    I can't tell what pain point you're solving.

    I need to know this so I can see how you fit into what I'm doing.

    Should vendors be transparent on pricing?

    Paul Bird:So, you brought up two good points there.

    First is a great debate on pricing. Should vendors be more transparent with pricing? If there are different pricing models for different people is that something that they should be sharing? 

    should vendors be more transparent on pricing?


    Where do you stand when it comes to how vendors price products?

    Tom Lawrence: I think vendors really need to be more transparent.

    This was a funny talk from, I believe, Simon Sinek. He's at a conference and it was for some association about landscapers. 

    He says, how many of you list prices on your website pages?

    And all of them said, “No. We don't. We don't want our competitors to know our prices.”

    Then he asks, “who knows their competitor’s prices?” 90% of the hands went up.

    If you can have a more transparent way of showing pricing, we can see if you're in the ballpark range.

    Either way, you can Google product price + product name + Reddit and get any pricing. In fact, Google auto-completes the search that way. And then you'll land on someone on Reddit who's posted all of your pricing.

    Sometimes that person is wrong about your pricing. 

    “You could now lose that partner because someone says you’re charging $12 a seat when you actually only charge $6.”

    People don't want phone calls on Saturdays. They don't feel like putting 10 pieces of information into your contact form just to find out your pricing.

    I really push for vendors to be as transparent as possible on pricing.

    I don't think the problem is what they think. Vendors think it's because our customer doesn’t know how much we charge because then they know how much we mark up the product.

    I can pretty much guarantee:

    1. The customer doesn’t care what tools we're running. That's not their concern. They don’t care what security stack we're running or how we're auditing things.
    2. They don’t pick apart what we charge for a service versus the line item of each cumulative piece.

    If they're price shopping like that they're probably just an aggravating client to begin with.

    Even in all my years doing co-managed IT and dealing with very technical people who are curious about our tools –  even they don't complain about our markup.

    Here's the product, and here's what I'm charging on this product.

    Most MSPs are going to stack the pricing altogether – what I refer to as our “stack”. We charge a price for the service that we provide to manage the vendor tools.

    On tooling prices, price does matter. But it's still payroll. That's the labor price to manage those tools. Those prices are always going to be substantially higher than the tooling itself.

    What information do partners want in your product demo?

    Paul Bird:Now, the other part that you mentioned was the marketers, right?

    So a lot of the product feature pages, the pricing pages, are created by marketers and the product demos they do are more like sales calls than anything else.

    How should a vendor really position their products so it does what it says it does and doesn't come across as over the top?

    Tom Lawrence: It’s just showing me: the problem and the solution.

    I try to walk through that when I demo something:

    • Here's the challenge I have
    • How does this product solve that problem?

    We could go way off topic with:

    • Storage server videos
    • Here’s how much data I need to store
    • Here’s the tools I need to do it

    Just show me the pain points instead of running me through all the highlights, like the vCIO reports.

    Here’s what MSPs really want to know:

    • How do we get the data there?
    • What am I doing?
    • What's the labor cost?
    • What’s this going to cost me internally?
    • What’s this going to cost me for my staff to manage this?
    • How long will this take me to get deployed?
    • How long will this take me to deal with all the false positives?

    For instance, I like when companies say, “we are very low noise, high fidelity. And we can show you how we do that.” 

    OK, great. You're telling me how you're going to save me time on a specific thing. But, is that accurate?

    And the vendor says, “here's how you can see incidents.” 

    Alright, cool. Now, you've established that the product doesn't just make noise.
    It's actually showing things when there is something to see.

    Now, walk me through that process and your integration. 

    When I get sales demos. I get my employees involved because they're ultimately the ones that have to use the product.

    I come in at the high level to get demos with the technical people, the sales engineers. Just not the marketing people.

    And then from your own perspective as an MSP, you poke at the edges and figure out what the product doesn't do.

    “[Limitations with your product] aren't going to stop the sales process. I just need to know where you end. Because the next product I need, begins where you end.” 

    I need to know:

    • What is the limitation? 
    • What's on your roadmap there? (Hopefully, there’s one)
    • And where are the edges of your product?

    As an MSP, you want to find out what their answer is and hear their responses.

    2nd Cringey Thing Vendors Must Stop Doing: Acting poorly to criticism 

    Paul Bird:I'm going back to your video. I want to keep kind of picking this one apart. 

    Let’s talk about how people react to criticism within these environments. You mentioned a firestorm erupted. Can you recap that piece?

    Tom Lawrence: Yeah. It's just the back and forth, the doubling down, and as a result, more and more people calling out the vendor. It’s not the first one I've seen, either.

    Right now, here's someone who's offering pen test for little to nothing. And it’s the same thing, vendors doubling down on their claims.

    This is the wrong response because you look like a fool in the end.

    Admit your mistakes

    Tom Lawrence: I did a video yesterday where I literally said, I was wrong about something. And that's all the video is about. All I did was tweet something and someone pointed out I was wrong.

    So I showed the humility of saying, “hey, thank you for enlightening me.”

    I actually referenced the tweet by the person who pointed out I was overzealous.

    I wish more vendors would admit mistakes. It would have been a better response to just say, OK, maybe we don't stop all threats. This is how our product works.

    That would have been a better response for the constant doubling-down on previous statements.  It just makes you look bad. Especially when you delete a public claim later on. 

    “At the end of the day, the person who deleted all their posts doesn’t look they're in the right in any measurable way."

    Paul Bird:I think as soon as you post something, once, it’s out there for good.

    Is there anything that that vendor could have done to save face in that situation?

    Tom Lawrence: That's a hard one. If at first, instead of doubling down and deleting the post, we all might have forgot about it.

    There wouldn't be talk about it. There wouldn't be a CRN article about it. It would have just fallen off right there.

    “The moment you double down on a claim, you become committed to your first statement, even if you're wrong.” 

    I think that's where the biggest mistake was made; going further with the claim because then there's no end.

    Once you have five responses about why you're right, and the community knows you're wrong, you sometimes have to back out of it. 

    Just say, “yeah, I overstated myself. My bad.” And delete it.

    Paul Bird:And it sounds like you have taken that at that point where you've owned up to your mistakes.

    Examples of vendor transparency that wins back confidence

    Paul Bird:Do you think that more vendors, if they're clear in their communication and own up to their mistakes would that help instill confidence in partners that may want to join their program?

    Tom Lawrence: Yes, I’ll go ahead and throw Huntress out there. This is a fun story that a few people were shocked about.

    Huntress had a demo lab 100% separated from any of the real stuff. They spin these things up.

    The auto spin-down didn't work; it didn't shut down all these extra RDP instances they had. In the script that built them, a built-in opened up RDP under AWS incident.

    The reason we know this, is this was all well documented. Huntress did their own incident report, because they, internally, have a testing team that realized they weren't spun down.

    The internal team realized the RDP was open and attacked themselves. Nobody externally saw this, but then they did their own incident report on themselves.

    channel chiefs managing company reputation

    And they did this to be as transparent, and be able to say, this is how it's done. They created a very detailed incident report that gave us all this insight about an open RDP port that nobody external found.

    "That is a level of transparency some vendors have." 

    Cisco is really transparent too. MSPs love the Cisco incident report by Talos.

    Talos noted all the misspellings of the command. They went through every command that was running. 

    That didn't make me think any less of Cisco. Basically, there was a security incident and they gave such a level of detail that I absolutely still trust their product. 

    Matter of fact, I now know, and so do threat actors, that they have a level of logging most companies want to achieve. They even commented that they miss-typed a command. That means you're logging everything from the command line. That's a lot of insight!

    That’s a level of trust you don’t get out of every vendor. They run a tight ship at Cisco. They know how to run security.

    That level of transparency with their reports - they’re not trying to hide anything.

    Okta learned a hard lesson too. They were vague when they first had their incident. But then they became clean and the more detail they gave, the better. They won back confidence in their products.

    So for any of those incidents I mentioned, they are really good reads on how vendors can remain trustworthy: be as transparent as possible about processes, both internal and external. It makes MSPs think differently about them.

    3rd Cringey Thing Vendors Must Stop Doing: Aggressive, over-the-top marketing

    Paul Bird:So let's talk about the marketing side, another cringeworthy topic: aggressive, over-the-top marketing.

    There was a post shared with me from Reddit where an MSP owner had mentioned the best marketing that a vendor could do, is none at all.

    Marketing can get pushy at times – it is a competitive market. What's the right balance of not being over the top and not completely silent either?

    Partner marketing doesn't have to be boring 

    Tom Lawrence: There's a little thing I participated in where I got an action figure of me. It was all part of something sent by a vendor because I participated in one of their events.

    They bring a bunch of us in the MSP community together for a fun event. They do this one where they set up a Jurassic Park security incident (but it was all really cybersecurity). 
    They also did a Star Wars one.

    It's just kinda these fun things certain vendors do. 

    Is it marketing? Yeah, it's all sponsored by [Insert name of Vendor]. But the other side of it is cool! It was a neat thing to do. So that's an example of non-cringy marketing.

    I went to the offshoots of Dattocon and these big conferences we've been going to. 

    I look for:

    • The vendor-led parties 
    • The other fun things vendors have

    At one of them, we got beer mugs that say Breaches & Brews. It was cool. The vendor themed the party, talked about breaches, and gave us cups with their logos on it. 

    Cool, I got a cup out of it. I had some fun hanging out with other security people and just talking. 

    Is that marketing? Sure. There's a bunch of people, they're handing out shirts. Their logo’s pasted on the wall. I'm fine with that type of marketing to get me engaged and talk to vendors in a loose conversation.

    That's not too cringy. They’re not doubling-down on any particular topic.

    I also went to a few different after-hour things with vendors – all were good and well received. I ended up having a conversation with a CEO of one of the big vendor companies.

    We just sat down and had some small talk. Turns out, he’s just a really nice guy. So that’s a good way to engage us.

    When are partners ready to engage a vendor?

    Paul Bird:So I imagine that while you're going through kind of the vendor vetting process, there's going to be a point where you reach out to be able to get some real information about what the partnership entails, right?

    Really get some meat off of the bones, at what point in the process do you go through, where you're ready to reach out to them? And say, hey, I'd like to put something together with you.

    Does that happen early on? Is that point after these events? Is it when you have an opportunity? At what point do you engage the vendor?

    Tom Lawrence: For a lot of them, I start with the question, “Who's got a good sales rep for [insert name of product]?

    I'll reach out to my community first. And see if they're using the product. I leverage this a lot. 

    If you use peer groups and have MSP friends or you use MSP Geek, there are a lot of people you can leverage.

    You get to know a lot of people and can say:

    • I know you're using this product, what do you think of it?
    • Who's your sales rep? 
    • Are they responsive?

    And sometimes you'll get:

    • We are on our second sales rep
    • This is who you want to talk to
    • This is the rep who replies the fastest

    I'll have the same kind of conversation over e-mail. I'm an easy sell. I’ll say, “I really like your product. Just tell me when we can set a demo up.” That's my intro, if I e-mail them.

    I make the inbound lead super easy. I reach out to them either directly through e-mail or LinkedIn. I like the LinkedIn approach a little bit, because I see if they’re watching and paying attention to something like LinkedIn.

    I don't expect a response on other platforms, necessarily. But I may reach out to them with an e-mail and open up the dialog to get things rolling. 

    I've already done some due diligence ahead of time, of whether or not I know them. It's cool to be able to go to events and meet them in person, but that's not always reasonable. There are only a few events a year and I may need a product in between.

    I can't go to every event, nor do I have the time to go to every event.

    when is a partner ready to talk?

    How to manage your vendor reputation

    Paul Bird:Any advice that you could give a vendor that is dealing with an issue that's negatively affecting their reputation today?

    Tom Lawrence: Just own it. 

    “Be honest about [your mistake]. Post some lessons you learned. Talk about what you got wrong. If you do wrong by the community, do right about it.” 

    It may solidify the error, but being able to reference it and see where you are and that have the humility to see it, is a positive.

    I've done that, too. 

    Going back a couple of years, I met quite a few vendors doing some DNS analysis and trying to compare them. I got a couple of things wrong with my content. So, I did a follow up video. It was funny and the vendors didn't jump on me.

    They actually liked it. 

    Two vendors even got blog posts out of it that I go back and reference because we had a good conversation. I ended up head of their security team because I was wrong on a couple of these things.

    That's part of how I've always felt. I've built a lot of my following because I lay it all out there. I'm just like anyone else. I never claim perfection.

    I've been doing this for quite a long time. My first tech job was in the 90s. It's one of those things you lay out – that you’re gonna make mistakes.

    As long as I keep pushing forward and showing how I made those mistakes. We can always learn from lessons, but why not learn from someone else's lessons? Those lessons are a lot easier.

    Even if that someone's me, I will help you learn from things I did wrong.

    Paul Bird:Here's the critical question: if these vendors stop doing cringe-worthy things, they stop the misrepresentation, the poor reactions to criticism,  the over-the-top marketing, what results can they expect? 

    Tom Lawrence: You see vendors that really spent a lot of time getting it right and they're well loved within the channel.

    And that's a weird thing because some of the vendors that are well-loved, you don't notice it until you go to the events. You see their competitors scowling from across the room. 

    Quit being jealous because people like another vendor. There's a very public and transparent reason why people like these vendors. It’s because they're always making things fun.

    Then there are the other ones that were put on blast by the community and they’re over there scowling. They just can't play nice. You can see certain companies emulating that.

    It helps when you're looking to raise capital, which a lot of vendors are. A lot of VCs take the temperature where they can. They consider what the Reddit posts say.

    I've done some VC consulting on this. They’ve asked questions like: what do you feel about this product?

    When you do VC consulting, you get a behind-the-scenes look at the decision-making. 

    “VCs may not be technical, but they are checking the heat maps.” 

    They're trying to figure out whether or not the vendors have good community engagement before they throw money at them because community is a key marker for success.

    If you're trying to get funding, VCs care about the market perception of your product.

    Tom’s Background in the MSP Space

    Tom Lawrence: I worked in the enterprise space for a while, so my MSP business is a little bit more recent – over the last 5 or 6 years. We approach things differently.

    At Lawrence Technology Services we offer IT and managed services. We focus on the co-manage side of things. We help internal IT teams do some of that heavy lifting so they can stay focused on the internal facing problems.

    I come from the early days of the hacking space, then moved on to enterprise security before launching my MSP. 

    Lawrence Technology Services

    Tom Lawrence: I've got a good team built out. There are nine of us, mostly tier two or three engineers.

    My YouTube Channel is mostly in-depth tutorials where I'm talking about storage servers, and the results of projects we’ve done

    Connect with Tom Lawrence on LinkedIn or on his forum.

    Connect with Paul Bird on LinkedIn, book a demo with him, or contact him via email


    MSPchannel partnerspartnershipschannel saleschannel partnershipschannel strategypartner engagementmsp communitypartner trust

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