8 IT conferences MSPs should attend in 2016

As the events manager here at Intronis, I’m constantly looking for new opportunities to connect with IT service providers, so I’m particularly excited about this year’s events calendar. It’s action-packed, with everything from local lunches and user groups to training boot camps and industry-leading conferences.

When I think about the different events we’ll be attending this year, it makes me realize how many of them present opportunities for MSPs to get involved in the IT community, learn about new products, and connect with their vendors. I know I’m looking forward to seeing the familiar faces of Intronis Partners throughout 2016!

If you’re trying to figure out which events to attend this year, I’ve put together a list of my top picks for IT conferences and tradeshows that MSPs should attend in 2016:

1. Connectwise User Groups, January-September, Various Locations

It’s always a good idea for MSPs to attend user groups hosted by PSA or RMM providers. Whether you’re evaluating a new tool, interested in learning more about your current tool, or just want to check in with your provider, these smaller-scale events provide an opportunity to ask questions and get answers.

Why MSPs should attend: Connectwise User Groups are a great place to start. I’ve attended many of these sessions because the Intronis ECHOplatform integrates with their business management platform, and I always learn something new. The User Groups meet in various regions each quarter, and they’re free to attend. Each one consists of a full day of hands-on training labs, product overview sessions, and networking receptions. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re a Connectwise customer or not, and there are always a handful of members of the Connectwise team available to answer your questions, which is especially helpful. You can find a complete list of locations here.

2. Xchange Solution Provider, March 8-10, Los Angeles, CA

The Channel Company, which reports on the IT channel, hosts a number of events throughout the year. They’re always well-run and worthwhile, but I especially recommend that MSPs attend Xchange Solution Provider. At this event, more than 800 technology vendors, sellers, and buyers are brought together to network and discover new technologies. The event focuses on the products and business models that have the biggest impact on the IT channel.

Why MSPs should attend: I think that Xchange Solution Provider offers MSPs a chance to gain new perspectives on how to run their businesses. You’ll get the opportunity to hear from your peers and thought leaders, evaluate the latest technologies, and learn ways to make your business more efficient.

3. Robin Robins 2016 IT Sales and Marketing Boot Camp, May 11-14, Nashville, TN

For MSPs looking to grow their business, I recommend signing up for Robin Robin’s IT Sales and Marketing Boot Camp. If you’re not familiar with Robin Robins, she runs TechnologyMarketingToolkit.com, a leading consulting firm in the IT channel. She’s highly regarded as the go-to resource for IT marketing and specializes in marketing campaigns for MSPs and solution providers. You can find Robin’s IT marketing advice featured regularly on our blog.

Why MSPs should attend: At her training camp, Robin teaches IT service providers different sales and marketing tactics to use to grow their businesses. If you’re struggling with your sales or marketing efforts, consider attending her bootcamp. You’ll walk away with tons of new ideas for your business. Even if you’re hitting your sales goals, I still recommend checking it out—I guarantee you’ll learn something new.

4. Gary Pica’s Schnizzfest, June 9-11, Philadelphia, PA

Another informative training event is Gary Pica’s Schnizzfest. Gary broke into the MSP market early, and he quickly became one of the fastest-growing MSPs in the country. Now he’s President of TruMethods and coaches MSPs on how to make their businesses successful. He regularly contributes his business advice for MSPs on our blog.

Why MSPs should attend: At Schnizzfest, Gary and his team share tips and tricks to help MSPs to sell their services and grow their revenue. At the event, you can attend discussions related to business success principles and network with your peers.

5. CompTIA’s ChannelCon 2016, August 1-3, Hollywood, FL

One of the events I look forward to most is CompTIA’s ChannelCon. CompTIA is an association of IT professionals and channel organizations focused on sharing resources and enabling one another to be more successful. Personally, I’m a member of CompTIA and a few of their different communities including the Future Leaders Community, so I always enjoy connecting with other members of these groups at ChannelCon.

Why MSPs should attend: This annual conference is worthwhile for anyone to attend, from your C-level executives to technicians. I often run into MSPs who bring along both their CTO and a technician so they can fully evaluate a new product or vendor and make a decision right then and there. For Intronis, we typically have most of our executive team attend ChannelCon each year. It’s definitely one of  the conferences where we have our biggest presence!

6. Xchange, August 21-23, San Antonio, TX 

Another event from The Channel Company is Xchange. This is the 20th year of the event, and it should be another great turnout. The Channel Company has even reported that more than 85 percent of the attendees are either C-level, VP, or director-level executives.

Why MSPs should attend: This presents MSPs with an opportunity to have face-to-face conversations with leaders in the industry. There’s also a strong cloud and managed services presence at this tradeshow, so you’ll get a chance to connect with your peers and check in with your vendor partners.

7. IT Nation, Nov 9-11, Orlando, FL

Of the larger industry conferences on this list, IT Nation is at the top. Connectwise hosts this two-day tradeshow each year, bringing together influencers across the IT channel. At last year’s IT Nation, there were more than 100 sessions offering in-depth product training and thought-leadership discussions. One of my favorites was the keynote speech from Marcus Lemonis, the star of the CNBC show “The Profit.”

Why MSPs should attend: Not only is the event informative, it’s also fun, and we always send a big group from Intronis. IT Nation offers something for everyone and helps MSPs to learn about emerging trends within the channel and discover new opportunities to grow their businesses.

8. NextGen Cloud Conference and Expo, December, TBD

Last but not least, NextGen Cloud Conference and Expo concludes the jam-packed events season in December. More than 1,000 solution providers focused on cloud and managed services come out for this show each year.

Why MSPs should attend: The Channel Company promises that this event will help MSPs connect, find direction, get educated, build partnerships, and be inspired.

Hopefully my list helps you to narrow down your search and plan out your own IT channel events calendar for 2016. If you’re looking for more events or different events to attend this year, check out CRN’s comprehensive 2016 High-Tech Events Calendar. I recommend getting registered soon so you don’t miss out on early-bird discounts. Hope to see you in 2016!

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