As part of the Pax8 mission to be the world’s favorite marketplace for technology professionals to buy cloud products, we are very agile, yet meticulous, when it comes to choosing the vendors and solutions we offer. In fact, every Pax8 vendor undergoes a rigorous vetting process to ensure that we can provide partners with the world-class Pax8 experience they expect and deserve when buying that vendor.
In this article, we’ll explore not only how our team selects and vets new vendors, but also how we ensure our employees and partners have the proper resources and backing they need to be successful with every solution.
How We Pick Vendors
When it comes to how Pax8 vendors are discovered and selected, our vendor and product teams take a very hands-on approach. No vendor can just simply sign up and start selling with Pax8.
We listen to the channel.
First and foremost, we pay close attention to what our MSP partners and the IT channel are talking about. We also listen closely to our partner advisory council and peer groups to hear directly from them about the types of problems they face and the vendors or solutions that can help them. Our Vendor Acquisition team scours Reddit and other forums to learn what MSPs are discussing as well — whether that’s a specific vendor, product solution, or recurring topic of interest.
We look for the best — not the biggest.
We don’t get distracted by trying to bring on only the biggest vendors in the channel. Instead, we focus on the ones that best meet the needs of our partner base and share the Pax8 ethos. We recognize where we may have gaps in our offerings and look for the best vendor to fill them — even if they’re relatively unknown in the channel.
While the vendors with the lion’s share of the market may have more offerings, their size can hinder them in making quick innovations that also specifically benefit the Pax8 partner base. Additionally, some of the bigger vendors aren’t focused on empowering non-enterprise MSPs and their SMB clients. That’s why Pax8 also keeps an eye out for new, lesser-known vendors that are extremely specialized and cutting edge.
In everything we do at Pax8, we put our partners first. While there are a lot of factors taken into consideration when a new Pax8 vendor is chosen, three of the major things we look for include:
1. Vendor Readiness: Is the vendor ready to go into market? Does their solution integrate with the Pax8 Platform via APIs for automation and multitenancy to enable easy management and support? Some vendors haven’t worked with a distributor before, so they may not have these APIs available when they come to Pax8. That’s when our team can step in to consult with the vendor’s team to build any necessary integrations.
2. Product Gap: Does this vendor fill a gap, provide different benefits, or target different users than a vendor already in our catalog? We’re not looking to offer a bunch of competing products to our partners if there aren’t clear benefits and distinctions between them. That just makes it harder for partners to determine which solution is right for them and their clients. And, we may not offer all of a vendor’s solutions — just the ones that fill a gap or provide added value.
3. Partner Profitability: How is the solution billed and will partners get a healthy margin? Some vendors may have great products, but if they won’t bill the same way (usually monthly) as our partners, they must change their billing structure, or they don’t become a Pax8 vendor. Their pricing can’t be too high either, because many of our partners work with SMBs who have limited IT budgets, and they simply can’t afford them. And, of course, we want to make sure that partners will receive healthy margins on sold products to ensure their continued profitability and success.
Unlike other distributors that haphazardly sell any and every product on the market, Pax8 can say with extreme pride and confidence that we provide the best partner experience possible for each of the vendors we select to sell.
Let’s go ahead and get a glimpse into the pre-launch process.
Preparing for Launch — Just the Tip of the Iceberg
Once we’ve decided on a new vendor, that’s when the rubber really meets the road and several departments throughout Pax8 begin their due diligence to launch the vendor. The Pax8 team goes through more than 150 steps, working closely with the vendor to ensure everyone and everything is ready to hit the ground running on the day of launch.
Below are several key objectives that Pax8 and the new vendor must meet in order to launch.
Ensuring world-class support.
We pride ourselves on the fact that we provide 24/7 support and are our partners’ single point of contact when something goes wrong. We don’t read off scripts and we don’t just immediately escalate tickets to vendors. In fact, we resolve over 80% of all support requests in-house.
Pax8 vendors are required to provide our support engineers with live, in-depth technical training and demo environments so they can learn firsthand how to quickly resolve issues when they arise. The demo environment is especially crucial as it gives our engineers the freedom to test new features and independently troubleshoot.
Additionally, we expect our vendors to hold regular cadence calls that allow our teams to connect with each other to discuss recent issues and how they can be prevented or mitigated in the future. We develop a true relationship with our vendors, just like we develop relationships with all our partners. The rewards of that vendor relationship flow downstream when our engineers can rapidly solve an issue for a partner, saving them and their clients time, money, and stress. It’s for these reasons and more that Pax8 support is consistently considered world-class, with a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 75.
Educating cloud solution consultants.
Making sure the vendor helps set our support teams up for success is one thing, but they also have to make sure our solution consultants understand the features and functions of their product(s). When our team is knowledgeable about a vendor, they can quickly recognize when it may be the perfect solution to fill a gap in a partner’s tech stack, and they can pass that knowledge along to the partner to use when talking to their client. Essentially, we ensure that our people know what they’re talking about so you can confidently use the same information when speaking with your clients.
We require vendors to conduct live trainings with our team, and we provide them with a list of training resource requirements and templates to create trainings in our standardized Pax8 style. They are expected to provide resources such as a sales training deck, a sales playbook, and a knowledge assessment. By requiring the same general training resources and the use of Pax8 templates, we’re able to provide a level of quality control that ensures that each new vendor training is in a similar format, making it much easier to educate and train our employees.
Empowering partners with resources from day one.
We expect our vendors to share the Pax8 ethos of empowering MSPs and IT professionals to fill the gaps in their tech stack and achieve business success. Pax8 vendors are acutely aware that we have partners of all shapes and sizes —many of whom serve SMBs — so their bandwidth and ability to create marketable content is limited.
This is why we adamantly push new vendors to provide or create resources that our partners can use when talking with clients. We make it clear that any white-labeled resources or marketing materials that the vendor can provide will only help them, because our partners can utilize those resources to close more deals.
We Don’t Hoard Vendors. We Curate Them.
Pax8 is extremely selective of what vendors we bring on because we are all about quality over quantity. Our marketplace has been carefully and strategically curated to ensure we’re always providing the best partner experience. Wondering which vendors have made the cut to become part of the Pax8 ecosystem?
We want to give a special thank you to the Pax8 team members that contributed to this blog. Just like bringing on new vendors, this was a team effort.
Sophie Merrifield — Senior Director of Vendor Launch
I lead the vendor launch and product operations teams at Pax8, ensuring a smooth and successful experience for all new vendors and products. I’ve been at Pax8 over five years, beginning my career here right after college, when the company had only 25 employees. In 2020, I was named one of CRN’s “100 People You Don’t Know but Should” and, in 2021, I was featured on CRN’s Women of the Channel list. I earned my bachelor’s in Economics & Business from Colorado College. One fun fact about me: I started playing pickleball a few years ago and cannot get enough — I absolutely love it!
Alexander Skelton — Manager of Service Desk
At Pax8, my primary goal is to enable people to manifest their most potentiated self in the way they define. I have done my best to refine pain points experienced across the board on billing usage issues and to promote a kaizen mentality to our workflow daily. I am grateful every single day for the opportunity we have to be agile and grow together in today’s cloud market. Before Pax8, I was a Wilderness First Responder and Mountaineer, guiding adventures in tracking, foraging, climbing, yoga, and survival. I have a Masters in Neuroscience and Religious studies. One fun fact about me: In the wilds, I have fought off bears, coyotes, and packs of wild dogs, but the scariest thing to me for most of my life was doing my taxes.
Dominickus Wells — Vendor Acquisition Manager
Over the past three years as a Security Solutions Consultant, I’ve helped hundreds of Pax8 partners design and build their MSP security stack. This ranges from evaluating specific tools for them use, to helping them create their go-to market strategy. Now, as a Vendor Acquisition Manager, I get to discover and vet technologies that best fit our partners’ needs and complement the Pax8 line card. I’ve been in the sales and technology space for six years and have loved every minute of it. One fun fact about me: I love cars, whether it’s drifting them or going four-wheeling. You can always find me at the local Cars & Coffee event!
Dustin Bastin — Manager of Technical Support
As Manager of Technical Support at Pax8, I assist both the Productivity and Infrastructure stacks with day-to-day processes and case escalations. I’ve been working in the MSP space for 10 years, supporting clients ranging from small businesses to large international corporations. I earned my Bachelor’s in Network and Communications from Devry University. One fun fact about me: Mark Pender and La Bamba from The Basic Cable Band on Conan sat in with my band for a set in my hometown.
Jamie Baker — Training Specialist
As a Training Specialist on the Pax8 University team, I’m responsible for vendor launch training, which means I work with vendors to help them prepare to train our solutions consultants on how to sell their product. Before starting at Pax8, I worked in a variety of fields, always with a focus on learning and development. I was a late bloomer and completed my undergraduate degree in 2013, at the age of 30, and then completed my graduate degree in Information and Learning Technologies, in 2016. One fun fact about me: I love animals and currently have four dogs, two cats, a frog, a salamander, a Russian tortoise, and three snakes (all rescues).
J.B. McKoy — Manager of Learning Development
At Pax8, I lead a team of instructional designers and curriculum developers who create custom eLearning courses empowering employees across the company with the skills and information necessary for high performance. I also oversee the Pax8 LMS administration function and work closely with relevant vendors to provide breadth of content and an excellent learner experience. Additionally, I play a role in the design and delivery of technical sales training for every new product, which includes live vendor-led training and a streamlined interactive course based on its content. I graduated from Dartmouth College, where I majored in French and Computer Science. One fun fact about me: I once played an onstage part in a Metropolitan Opera performance in Minneapolis as a monk. (Not a singing monk. Not a flying monk. Just a monk in a robe.)
Nathan Doty — Support Efficiency Manager
As the Support Efficiency Manager at Pax8, I’m responsible for managing department development projects that position Support for improved performance and continued growth. I have 11 years of IT experience, including owning and operating my own MSP, and 5 years as an engineer at a Pax8 partner MSP. One fun fact about me: I love exploring abandoned places. I’ve visited more than 500 sites, with another 1,000+ planned.