“A few years ago, when we focused on driving our growth through the MSP channel, we realized there was a bit of a misalignment [in our sports marketing strategy]so we had to make a tipping point on those investments to engage our partners in the branding,” said Acronis’ Ryan Davis of the company’s #TeamUp program, which connects MSPs with professional sports organizations across 16 states.
CRN: Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Acronis #CyberFit Summit in Miami. I’m Diana Blass, here at CRN. It’s been about a year since Acronis launched its #TeamUp program, and we learn that it has quickly become the #1 sales engine for the company. Here to tell us more is Ryan Davis from Acronis.
Ryan Davis, Director, Corporate Sales: Thank you for having me Diana.
CRN: Thanks for your time. So give us a refresher on the possibilities here for the MSP.
Davis: Secure. So Acronis has been investing in sports marketing for many, many years. We started in Formula 1 in 2014. And when we launched the program, everything was Acronis branding. Acronis was everywhere, on cars, in baseball stadiums. And when we made a pivot a few years ago to drive our growth through the MSP channel, we realized there was a little bit of a misalignment, so we needed to make a pivot in terms of those investments to engage our partners in the branding. For example, instead of having Acronis on the outfield wall at Petco Park, we now have our partner Evotek out there. And now it’s not just about launching the Acronis brand. It’s about getting our MSPs and weaving them into the story.
CRN: Discuss the profitability viewpoint for a partner and how they can add more services to these solutions.
Davis: Absolutely. So I typically see two pillars in terms of ROI for our partners. So, the first part is to use marketing branding to increase net new customer sales.
Michael Goldstein, President, CEO, LAN Infotech: So the #TeamUp program brought me together with the Florida Panthers hockey club. So we’re going to be able to do arena events, signage, TV time, and the team really wanted to be a part of that. They just didn’t want another sponsor, they really wanted a partnership.
Davis: The other point that we don’t talk about nearly as much is that these organizations are big. So Hendrick Motorsports is a really, really good example. So Hendrick Motorsports is a big organization in its own right. And this is how they use us for cyber protection and disaster recovery. you talk about [artificial intelligence] and [machine learning]. So that’s a lot of consumption. But also [Hendrick Motorsports Owner] Rick Hendrick has a large business conglomerate of distributors and other business interests that our MSPs are given access to and then they can promote their services to the broader business hierarchy of these professional sports organizations.
CRN: Later we spoke to Hendrick Motorsports.
Talk about your relationship with your MSP. How does this company help you get even more out of your Acronis solutions?
Matthew Cochran, Director, IT: They have a tremendous amount of knowledge and a wealth of skills that bring experience across the various industries. And so now we can actually learn from them and come up with other solutions outside of Acronis as well.
CRN: Among these solutions is an artificial intelligence application that analyzes the vast amounts of data collected from the cars on a route.
Cochran: We get tons of photos taken during a race. We also get plenty of audio. The photo analysis reports what each car number is and relays this information very quickly.
CRN: The Acronis #TeamUp program is now active in 16 US states with hopes of expanding nationwide as Acronis signs on more sports teams. And the #TeamUp ecosystem includes not only MSPs but also distributors.
Will distributors play a bigger role here as you continue to grow?
Davis: I actually see two sides to this. We have distributors who actually participate in the program as #TeamUp partners, so that’s one aspect. It’s a great way to spread the word about your brand and awareness. And then it’s also a great way for a distributor to attract partners to their platform.
CRN: Climb Channel Solutions is among the distributors working with #TeamUp and actively recruiting MSPs to work with the sports teams.
What are some of the top questions MSPs might have for you before getting involved in something like this?
Tim Popovich, President, North America, Climb Channel Solutions: can i afford it The cost may vary depending on who the organization is and what level #TeamUp partner you are at. But it’s more than just some sort of marketing stunt for an MSP. They can move their customers, they can get more customers, and they can put them all on Acronis, which helps pay the marketing bill for the information they’re getting back across the ballpark.
CRN: More coverage here from the Acronis #Cyberfit Summit in Miami. Be sure to follow us on CRN.com. Until next time, I’m Diana Blass.