It's important for MSPs to adopt a partner mindset. Here’s why.

June 25, 2019

5 Min Read
Question Mark Guy

By Tiffany Bloomer


Tiffany Bloomer

Successful companies today, and specifically MSPs, are investing more time in becoming partners with their customers and dropping the vendor mindset. Why? It’s pretty simple, really. We’re living in an era of personalization and hypercustomization.

Companies have raised the bar for vendors at every level and aren’t just looking for MSPs that will simply sell them products and services. Instead, they’re looking for an MSP that wants a partnership. They’re looking for a company that will analyze their unique situation and offer creative, budget-conscious IT solutions that will truly help them succeed. That’s why it’s so important to look for every opportunity to add value to a partnership. Here are three factors I see driving this change:

1. Customer Experience = Customer Loyalty

The industry is moving away from the old school vending arrangement where an MSP identifies a need, the SMB purchases a product or service to fill that need and the relationship is complete until the next need arises. SMBs are expecting more personalization and customization and if you aren’t offering it, there are plenty of other MSPs who are on board with this concept and will offer customization. In other words, if you don’t care, your customer won’t, either. According to an industry research report by customer experience consulting firm Walker Information, customer experience will end up overtaking price and product as the main brand differentiator by 2020.

What does that mean for us? It means we need to up our game. We need to treat every SMB as a partner and get involved enough to know what IT solutions will work best for them in both the short- and long-term while also making the most budgetary sense. We must anticipate every concern and question and deliver consistently reliable products and services. It’s in our best interest to do so. Acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer, so why not make our current customers into long-term partners? By being an active partner and delivering value without the sole purpose always being about trying to make a sale, you’ll start building a solid relationship.

2. Industry Consolidation

Consolidation is also making an impact. Last year, there was unprecedented consolidation among MSPs, and I only see this continuing to rise. So, what does this mean for MSPs and SMBs? It’s hard to say, but MSPs as a whole have been open to better integrations between vendor solutions as consolidation means more open platforms to leverage. However, on the flip side, SMBs seem to be interested in a single, more consolidated solution for managing their IT which allows them to work with fewer vendors and manage fewer relationships. When all is said and done, it could be a win for both sides. Once again, though, to be successful we need to be that single-source partner that offers full, robust solutions.

Vendors can use their experience in hardware fulfillment, private cloud, security, VoIP and managed services to meet client needs. Offer a list of options for including …

… firewalls, switches, laptops, desktops and accessories in a monthly IT support services bundle. This can keep client’s upfront costs to a minimum, eliminate a barrier to entry for new clients and reduce the time technical support personnel need to spend requesting assistance from other suppliers.

3. Protect Your Partners

I know many of you are sick and tired of hearing about security, but the challenges are increasing and the cybersecurity threat landscape is only getting scarier. A recent research report found that SMBs are not just targets of cybercrime, they’re its principal target. If that doesn’t make us all sit up and take notice, I don’t know what will. While enterprises have the staff and budgets to implement and protect their IT infrastructures, many SMBs face even greater pressures with more risks and less tools and resources.

We, as MSPs, are their resource, so we need to do everything in our power—and within their budget—to protect them. We have the tools and resources and need to be creative in our approach to designing solutions that work. And, once again, this is part of becoming that one-source partner for IT needs, security and otherwise. For example, managed-antivirus software and firewalls have obviously been a staple service offered by MSPs for more than 10 years now; however, managed security information and event management (SIEM) is a relatively new MSP offering and the price-per-seat continues to drop as more vendors lure MSP partners. Managed SIEM offers dramatic improvements to threat remediation.

It’s time to develop partnerships or perish. This customer-driven demand for personalization isn’t limited to just one area of business or one company size. Companies of all shapes and sizes are making the effort to become better partners and are leaving the vendor mentality in the past. If you’re not looking for opportunities to provide value and build trusted partnerships, you’ll never have a shot at keeping loyal customers.

Tiffany Bloomer is the president of Aventis Systems Inc., a leading provider of information technology hardware, software and services, where she fosters interdepartmental collaboration and communication. Her previous positions included stints as financial services manager at Epana Networks, regional sales manager at Viscom International Inc., and field marketing manager at Fusion Marketing. Tiffany earned a master’s degree in international business and marketing at Georgia State University. Follow Tiffany on LinkedIn or Aventis Systems on Twitter @AventisSystems or on LinkedIn.

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