IT Channel Insider - July/August 2021

IT CHANNEL INS IDER July/August 2021 | Volume 5

Why Jon Murchison And Blackpoint Cyber Partnered With Robin

Top 10 Critical Lessons Learned From Running A Large Hybrid Event

Page 3

Robins To Grow FAST

How To Know When A Prospect Is Playing You For A Fool Page 7

Page 4

2021 IT Sales and Marketing Boot Camp Recap

Page 6

A Big Red Media Production

Letter From The Editor

Upcoming Channel Events

The enthusiasm for live events in the MSP channel is conta- gious. Starting with our big annual IT Sales & Marketing Boot Camp (summary on page 6) and continuing on with weekly events in the channel just a few months later, everyone is done with virtual events, right? Summer 2021 is here! Everyone is vaccinated! Virtual events are DEAD! Bring on LIVE events!

Producers Club Meetings

When: Q3 - July 15–17, 2021 Q4 - Oct. 7–9, 2021 Where: Cool Springs Marriott, Franklin, TN

The Digital Marketing Blueprint For IT Services Sales

When & Where: Sept. 8–9, 2021 | Washington, D.C.

Not so fast! While it’s common knowledge that nearly every IT channel company would prefer a live event over a virtual one, the facts point straight to virtual and hybrid (live + virtual) events being

Sept. 28–29, 2021| Dallas, TX Oct. 21–22, 2021| Newark, NJ Oct. 28–29, 2021| Chicago, IL Nov. 2–3, 2021| Las Vegas, NV (Plus Virtual)

here to stay forever. Case in point – Our recent annual Cybersecurity Livecast event (100% virtual) was filled with nearly 2,000 MSPs for a full day and night of great content, demos and fun. And

even later this Fall, I can assure you that every large channel event is not only going to have a virtual component, but most likely the virtual attendance will at least double, if not triple the overall attendees at that event. We have opened up a Pandora’s box of virtual attendance that’s not going to go away anytime soon. Nor should it. The chal-

dattoCon When: Oct. 11–14, 2021

ConnectIT When: Oct. 19–22, 2021

lenge for every channel company is how to capitalize on these virtual attendees to grow your channel program even faster.

ITNation Connect When: Nov. 10-12, 2021

Live events are certainly back (finally!), but I guarantee they’ll never be the same again. Don’t be foolish and miss that extra opportunity.

Jeff Johnson Executive Director, Big Red Media

For a complete list of channel events, visit


Big Red Media | A Robin Robins Company

After turning our 2,000-plus attendee annual Boot Camp into a successful hy- brid event, we learned so many valuable lessons. Use our top 10 lessons to ensure your next hybrid event is flawless. 1. ENGAGEMENT is priority one. A passive livestream will not cut it. Your staff needs to be ac- tive in the chats to attract attendee comments and questions. 2. NEVER have ‘dead airtime.’ Your audience paid good money to attend virtually and needs to be educated and engaged every minute. After our main pre- sentations, we immediately cut over to the “Jeff & Mike Show,” where they interviewed MSPs, answered audience questions, and even ran contests. Between sessions is also the perfect opportu- nity to feature sponsor commercials. 3. ALWAYS have a customer service team DEDICATED to the virtual attendees. Virtual attendees are too often neglected. Depending on the size of your event, you’ll need multiple people managing chat and fielding questions from virtual attendees. 4. ALWAYS have a team member ac- tively LOOKING for any ‘Un-Wows’ on the virtual side. At Boot Camp, Robin (inadvertently) wore this important hat. When not presenting, she would jump on the platform and scru- tinize everything : chat. Sponsor booths. Video quality. The more you have someone take this role, the more “wows” and virtual high-fives you’ll get. 5. PRENEGOTIATE hardwired internet separate from your attendee Wi-Fi. Streaming multiple breakout sessions at once combined with the necessity of Wi-Fi for in-person attendees can get expensive fast. Connect with our team, and we can consult with you on how to get more bang for less buck. Top 10 Critical Lessons Learned From Running A Large Hybrid Event

Robin interviewing one of the Sharks, Kevin O’Leary, at the 2021 Boot Camp Hybrid event, as seen on the Big Red Virtual Platform

6. ALWAYS have a SEPARATE platform training session for virtual sponsors. In this dedicated training, make sure you go over the specific times when they should be in their virtual booth, how badge scanning works, and how to better engage attendees. You’ll be surprised just how many opportunities sponsors will have in a well-run virtual booth! 7. SEPARATE instructions for in-person attendees and virtual attendees. To avoid confusion and also make your virtual attendees feel like they are an important part of your hybrid event, ensure all of your communication speaks only to them. 8. ALWAYS have specific booth hours for your virtual exhibitor hall and make sure booths are staffed. Be sure to carve out specific times for your virtual trade show to be open. Your exhibitors will be more engaged and alert, keeping your attendees happy and getting the best ROI for your sponsors! 9. LIMIT the tech to ONE platform. Multiple platforms invite multiple problems. More things can break, and there are more bills to pay. That’s why we have a mobile app tied to our virtual event platform. All administration is in one single place. 10. ALWAYS have a virtual component to your events moving forward or EXPECT to lose a lot of money and engagement. 2020 was a giant wake-up call! First, you never know what could shut down your in-person event. A riot. A gas leak. A hotel fire. Last year, ALL of us were caught flat-footed. But we should never let it happen again. People today want and expect a virtual component. Turning your in-person event into a hybrid event invites far more ticket sales and more sponsorship opportunities. Follow these 10 critical lessons, and your next hybrid event might just be your best event. n


IT Channel Rock Star Profile

Why Jon Murchison And Blackpoint Cyber Partnered With Robin Robins To Grow FAST

O n Memorial Day, 2021, three organizations had their automated network defenses breached. Blackpoint Cyber’s 24x7 Threat Operations Center saved them from being mass-ransomed and having their data stolen. For CEO and founder of Blackpoint Jon Murchison, an ex-NSA computer net- work operations expert, and his Threat Operations Team, it’s a typical day. The fact that Blackpoint could save them means his mission to protect his custom- ers with the fastest and most effective technology is working. “We take our mission extremely seriously,” Jon said. “It’s common for customers of most security companies to get breached on a fairly regular basis. Our active response arm knocks the bad guys out of the network, isolates boxes, and stops lateral spread in the network.” Jon’s foundation in network engineer- ing gave him the IT fundamentals for an extraordinarily successful career in the

cybersecurity work. Jon worked for the National Security Agency and later be- came a government contractor building technology and developing software. By 2014, Jon could hardly keep up with the growing demand of his govern- ment contracting company when he was injured in an unfortunate skiing acci- dent that left him recovering for many months. He’d successfully completed a diverse set of high-profile government missions over 12 years, which he jokingly describes as being the bad guy for the right team. “I was so hyper-engaged that I couldn’t grow my company more, but I couldn’t pull myself away,” Jon said. “But when I got injured, I had no choice. I thought maybe it was time I take a crack at doing defense for the commercial world. I felt that was where the real bat- tleground was in the cyber game, since in many ways offensive cyber missions is an economic weapon the bad guys use against the commercial world.” Jon sold his company and left govern- ment work to start Blackpoint Cyber. He and the team he put together spent

intelligence community and computer network operations. While in college, he developed an interest in IT and com- puter networking when his brother, Rod, who was working in the Silicon Valley tech scene, gave him three Cisco books. Playing on the Division 1 tennis team at the University of Maryland and studying marketing, he was unclear about his professional future. “I was focused on my sport, training six days a week, and didn’t know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” Jon recalled. “I always liked computers. My dad worked for IBM for 27 years, so we had laptops back in the early ’90s and were dialing up the bulletin board systems before the web existed. But it was networking that intrigued me because you could build something.” Self-taught from the Cisco books, Jon became certified as a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) while still in college. Changing his focus to network engineering opened doors to intern- ships and living in Maryland gave him government opportunities which led to


Big Red Media | A Robin Robins Company

what our mission is.” Jon also appre- ciates the way Robin is teaching MSPs how to professionalize their operation. “As channel partners, having an inte- grated marketing campaign and how to position your brand is important because it’s a partnership where they’re representing our brand as well as entrusting us to represent their brand,” Jon said. “Robin’s events are designed to better the business model for her MSPs while introducing them to quality vendors. We have a lot of sources for leads, but consistently, Robin’s events are the most productive for

Align with like-minded partners: “Partnering with TMT gives us great exposure to Robin’s wonderful custom- er base. Robin really cares about the performance of her MSPs, and we care deeply about protecting our customers, which I feel makes us naturally aligned.” Help MSPs be more profitable: Blackpoint does joint webinars with TMT to help enable MSPs to successful- ly build a profitable security offering so that security becomes a profit center for MSP businesses. Blackpoint also

three years and millions of dollars building the Blackpoint Cyber platform from the ground up. With a reputation for successfully executing the most challenging and high-priority missions, Jon also assembled a world-class board of directors with heavy hitters such as Chris Inglis, former deputy director of the NSA and the first national cyber director nominated by President Joe Biden; Ron Clark, former DHS and NSC; and Hamid Akhavan, former CEO of T-Mobile. He became focused on helping MSPs after the MSP community convinced him to build a multi-tenant cloud platform and run it as a service. “Companies weren’t running what I’d call a real security oper- ation center,” Jon said. “It was alert-driv- en, but there wasn’t an action side to it. Breaches have an extremely short time window to stop them, especially if they’re from a criminal group, and I didn’t see any tech on the market doing that.” Today, Blackpoint Cyber’s track record is one of the best in the busi- ness. Blackpoint prides itself as having some of the fastest and most effective response in the game, offering a 24/7 Managed Detection and Response (MDR) service using their own software platform, SNAP-Defense. The threat operation center is the action arm for detecting and stopping breaches at the earliest stages and providing real-time response when needed using its patent- ed live network map and lateral spread

invested heavily in sales enable- ment. “Robin does an extreme-

Robin vets vendors and cares about and wants to understand their business goals as well.

us. As a vendor, it’s been worth partnering with TMT all day long.” Blackpoint has a huge amount of success at the TMT events,

ly good job at helping MSPs

think about the business physics —what is my cost, what’s an effi - cient tech stack, and so on. We’ve

tried to draft off that good

and has developed relationships with the community unparalleled for its business. “Twelve years of being on the other side of the coin has enabled us to be extremely good at cyber defense,” Jon said. “We operate like a pro sports oper- ation. Everything is results-based. Our team of pros have deep, deep experience matched with world-class technology, and like Robin, we are extremely com- mitted to our mission.” n

message to enable our MSPs by providing them with prebuilt marketing materials.” Look for synergy: Jon’s found huge synergy working with TMT. “A lot of shows take anyone that writes a check,” Jon said. “Robin vets vendors and cares about and wants to understand their business goals as well. She’s the first and only trade show enterprise that chatted with me to understand where we’re trying to go as a business and

detection techniques. How Jon Fueled Over 100% Growth

Blackpoint’s growth is off the charts, growing well past 100% in less than a year with renewal rates at 94%. Tech - nology Marketing Toolkit (TMT) has helped drive Blackpoint’s fast growth. Blackpoint has partnered closely with Robin and TMT, sponsoring events like the annual Boot Camp (both live and virtual) Producers Club meetings, the Fall Roadshow, the Cyber LiveCast, and author book signings. Here are a few of Jon’s insights. Understand the MSP community: “When we got into the MSP space, we knew very few MSPs,” Jon said. “It is such an ecosystem. Robin Robins and TMT is well-run, and it opened our eyes to how this community operates.”

Blackpoint Cyber’s Booth At The 2021 Boot Camp


2021 IT Sales and Marketing Boot Camp Recap

I hope you didn’t miss out on our 14th Annual IT Sales &Marketing Boot Camp (May 11-14)! Here’s a quick recap of the event:

First post-pandemic 100% hybrid (virtual & in-person) event in the MSP channel ● 3 1/2 jam-packed days of speakers, highlighted by Marcus Lemonis of “The Profit” and Kevin O’Leary of“Shark Tank” ● 64 total sessions (all streamed virtually and live in-person) ● Raised over $459,555 on behalf of St. Jude Children’s Hospital and achieved our goal of raising over $1 million for this wonderful organization

Total Attendees 2,508

Virtual Attendees: 1,657

851 In-person Attendees

Congratulations to Michael Bazar (Bazar Solutions), our 2021 Better Your Best champion and winner of a brand-new Aston Martin!

65 10,286


Total in-person sponsors:

Thanks to All of Our Wonderful Sponsors!

Total virtual sponsors:

All in all, this event was a wonderful “return to events” for the MSP channel. If you didn’t make it this year, mark your calendar for April 19-22, 2022, in Nashville, Tennessee, where we’ll host our 15th annual event! Diamond Sponsor: Datto Platinum Sponsors: ID Agent and Threatlocker Gold Sponsors: Blackpoint, MSP360, Webroot and IT Glue

Total in-person sponsor badge scans (leads):


Total virtual sponsor badge scans (leads):


Big Red Media | A Robin Robins Company

Each month we bring you some of our favorite articles from the MSP Success website. From bulldozers to the death — and rebirth — of the salesman, these killer stories are worth the price of admis- sion and are guaranteed to spark interest around the water cooler. 10 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Direct Mail Now

doing better than ever. On the other hand, I was always waiting for “the other shoe to drop.” I knew my business wasn’t sustain- able, and with the market shifting quickly toward security, I would be up nights, worrying that my clients would get hacked. While we’d hired people to help with ca- pacity, the processes and systems weren’t working anymore. We were still operating as a one-man band, and we needed to change if we were going to continue to grow. Q: In 2020, you had a lot to deal with. How did you persist through all of that and still manage to grow your business? A: The hardest thing was the incon- sistency when the school was open one day and closed the next because I didn’t know when I was working from home and when I wasn’t. And it was hard when my gym closed and when my exercise routine changed because of cancer.

In 1923, advertising pioneer Claude Hop - kins wrote the perennial bestseller “Scien- tific Advertising,” putting forth the radical concept that advertising should be evaluated with facts, mathematics, and reason over emotion and opinions. This is the foundation of all the marketing and sales strategies I teach. The ultimate measure of success for any campaign is based on sales generated and the ROI, not followers or what is easy. I have always been media-ag- nostic and believe you need a combination of strategies to get the best results. When I start talking about direct mail, I know a lot of ears flop over. It doesn’t work with my clients. It’s too expensive. It’s too slow. But if you’re a serious advertiser, you’d be foolish to not incorporate it into your arsenal. To read the full article, visit How To Know When A Prospect Is Playing You For A Fool There are some people you shouldn’t sell to, like the cheapskate who is going to fight you over every cost. Close to them is the no-payer who wants extended credit on everything. Then there’s the raging jerk who is downright nasty to you. Another is the guy who insists on doing some of the work him- self, leaving behind a giant mess for you to clean up. Some simply won’t take your advice but still expect the same results. Often, these people reveal themselves in the sales process and should be passed over immediately. This is one of the reasons why having sufficient deal flow is critical to not only the stability of your business but also to your sanity and confidence. But how do you know when someone is kicking off warning signs of “Danger, Will Robinson!” or simply not “sold” yet?

To read the full article, visit

Come Out Swinging In 2020: George Foreman Knockout Business Secrets Two-time heavyweight champion, re- cord-busting salesman, author, and serial entrepreneur George Foreman became famous in two very different careers. The second richest boxer of all time, Foreman is the only boxer in history to have amassed more wealth outside of the ring than he made inside the ring. He had a troubled childhood until he found boxing. Joining the U.S. Olympic box- ing team, he captured the gold at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City at 19 years old in his 25th amateur fight. Turning pro shortly after, he became the Heavyweight Champion of the World in 1973, when he knocked out the undefeated Smokin’ Joe Frazier. After a 19-month reign in which he was undefeat- ed (40–0), he lost to Muhammad Ali in the eighth round of a brutal fight known as “The Rumble in the Jungle.” It’s still considered by many to be one of the greatest sporting events of the 20th century. He retired from boxing the first time in 1977. To read the full article, visit

To read the full article, visit

How Leah Freiman Grew Her Company 300% Without Selling While Battling Can- cer During A Pandemic Q: What made you decide to stop selling in 2020? A: On the one hand, my business was mak- ing nice money, covering the bills, and I was


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