Channel partner programs, Business continuity, Storage

Datto MSP Partner Program Rewards Monthly Recurring Revenues (MRR)

Samantha Ciaccia
Samantha Ciaccia
Sue MacGregor

Datto has launched a new global partner program that rewards MSPs based on monthly recurring revenues (MRR) -- a key shift from the previous program, which ranked partners based on storage consumption.

Moreover, training and marketing services will help partners to move upmarket from the SMB sector into midmarket customer opportunities, the company says.

The new program, effective immediately, initially supports Datto's backup and disaster recovery (BDR) offerings. Over time it will extend to include the company's new networking and UTM (unified threat management) products.

Datto's partner program evolution was several months in the making. Key leaders in the effort include Director of Partner Marketing Sue MacGregor, and Partner Marketing Manager Samantha Ciaccia. "Sam and the team have been working tirelessly on this for at least the past five or six months," said MacGregor, who joined Datto in January to play a key role in the effort.

The goal: Datto wanted to better align its product portfolio with partner growth opportunities and partner business models -- particularly the MSP model.

Datto's old partner program, based on storage capacity, had four tiers:

  • Registered (an entry level that allowed partners to sign up but didn't require purchases)
  • Authorized
  • Premier
  • Elite

Those designations are now retired.

Datto: New Partner Program Tiers

The new approach starts with an access program. It's a first touch point that gives new partners 60 days to try Datto's online portal, marketing materials and more. It's somewhat akin to the old Registered tier, but now it's broken out and designed to better engage partners with that 6o-day trial period.

The new partner program tiers, meanwhile, include:

  • Business: Roughly 50+ percent of partners will likely land in this category, Datto estimates.
  • Professional: Roughly 30+ percent of partners.
  • Enterprise: Roughly 10+ percent.
  • Blue: Roughly 2 percent. Blue, by the way, pays homage to Datto's corporate brand.

The figures don't add up to 100 percent because they're based on rough estimates. Also, I don't know the specific MRR requirements for each tier, so it's difficult to say how effortlessly partners will scale from one tier to the next.

Still, Datto has taken some key steps to ensure peace of mind for partners. For instance, all tiers are based on local currency -- rather than fluctuating conversion rates back to the U.S. dollar. In other words, partners in the U.S. will pursue monthly recurring revenue (MRR) tiers based on the U.S. dollar; partners in Australia will pursue MRR based on the Australian dollar (AUD); and so forth.

Datto will most likely extend the MRR partner program to its networking equipment around the end of Q2, the company estimates.

Datto Partner Program Perks

Some of the program highlights, according to Datto, include:

  • MarketNow: A marketing automation platform designed for non-marketers, with pre-built promotional campaigns, co-branded and customizable collateral, and streamlined social media content.
  • Benchmark Analysis: Partners can evaluate their businesses against research and benchmarks from top Datto partners, identifying opportunities for growth and training with their Datto Account Managers.
  • Not for Resale (NFR) Program: Datto’s NFR Program allows partners to receive one device per product family -- for internal use and customer demos.
  • Advanced Sales Tactics Training: This new course focuses on the benefits and opportunities of going up market and unique sales strategies for mid-market organizations.

Navigating Market Shifts?

Sources close to Datto suggest the company has maintained a torrid growth rate, but CEO Austin McChord and executive leaders are working overtime to navigate multiple market shifts.

Steve Herrod
Datto Founder Austin McChord

Chief among them: The convergence of networking, storage and security. Datto's recent networking business launch takes aim at Cisco's Meraki business -- though that would mean portions of Datto's partner base will need to push hard into the midmarket...

Meanwhile, Datto board member Steve Herrod (a venture capitalist and former VMware CTO) recently predicted major M&A activity in the security sector, though he wasn't necessarily referring to potential Datto M&A targets.

For today -- right now -- all eyes are on the new partner program, which aligns business continuity and data protection opportunities with MRR. Next up: Extending the MRR-driven partner program to networking and UTM equipment sometime in mid-2017...

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.