This week Tracie Orisko reports back on her takeaways from the SolarWinds Empower MSP event in Atlanta!

Tracie Orisko chats with Solar Winds Partners at the Managed Sales Pros coffee space.
Coffee is For Closers

Build Partnerships.

Automate and adapt.

Think long term.

Although security was the focus of the agenda, these are some of the themes that also developed this week at the SolarWinds Empower MSP conference, both on and off the stage and Managed Sales Pros was pleased to be asked to sponsor this year’s event, held in Atlanta, on September 5- 7.  We have a long-standing relationship with our friends at SolarWinds , and this was the next step in building upon that.

The networking event opening night was the first chance to engage with the solution providers and it was a stroke of genius to not hand out the Sponsor Badges until the next morning.  It allowed people to simply engage for the sake of it, rather than engage in their “pitches” right out of the gate.  This marries quite well to what I have long believed to be the basis of making a good sale – Get to know someone before you try to sell them something! As I made my way among the different groups, I saw partners helping their “competitors” solve issues, watched SolarWinds staff greet partners like they were old friends (which, it seems, they are) and even came across a few Managed Sales Pros raving fans!

It was obvious that SolarWinds partners were here to engage in growing their businesses. It was small by today’s conference standards – 300 or so partners and a handful of sponsors who are all, in some way, integrating/partnering with SolarWinds. When SolarWinds MSP GM John Pagliuca took the stage, he highlighted the five pillars that can help MSPs grow:

Developing Security Services

Automating for efficiency

Monitor everything

Choose the technology that works

Work On, not IN your business

These, of course, are not new ideas, however, he went on to highlight three partnerships that SolarWinds MSP has in place to help on the security front – SolarWinds Endpoint Detection and Response (through a partnership with Sentinel One), a new partnership with Flexis for Enhanced Threat Monitoring and a strong password management system through the recently acquired Passportal.

Panel discussion at SolarWinds Empower MSP

Keynote speaker Erik Qualman (whose glasses, I have to say, are cooler than my own!) talked about the balance between online and offline relationships in this changing world. He suggests that we can increase our brain processing power by creating Not-To-Do lists rather than To-Do lists (I am putting that on my list of things to try!) so that we are taking things off our plate rather than adding them on. The thing that resonated the most with me from his keynote speech, though, was “The worst time to network is when you need something – be sure to network before you need to network.”

Can we just stop for a moment and talk about the food?? I have never been so well-fed at a conference before!  From the bacon, egg and cheese stuffed biscuits to the cherry cobbler it seemed that Loews Atlanta wanted to make sure that we were hitting the amazing gym facilities. (Pro Tip – bet someone else at the event that you will for sure be in the gym at 6am to make sure you get there!)

I got the chance to speak with Eric O’Neill, former FBI Counterterrorism and Counter Intelligence Operative and Author of Gray Day, in the Managed Sales Pros Coffee Lounge after he spoke. Instead of focusing on how he played a major role in arresting spy Robert Hanssen, however, we talked about how excited he was to get home to his family later that day. We shared some quick road-warrior stories and then he was off to catch his plane.

One of my favorite people, Joe Paneterri,  was also on site, Live Blogging the entire event – catch his recap here:  

He and I got a chance to sit down and chat about what Managed Sales Pros has been doing and where we go next! (If you are not a Traction shop,  I highly recommend you call me to chat about how it has changed our business and our lives!)

SolarWinds MSP ran a great event, and you can see why their partners stay engaged year over year. I look forward to following up with those I met at the event to see how they are putting their new-found knowledge into action!