keyBuilding your customer base is important—especially as an MSP. You need to continue to cultivate your relationships with current customers and add new ones in order to grow and develop your MSP business.

The opportunity to grow your customer base is out there. According to the Small Business Administration there are nine million businesses that have between one and 500 employees, and there are 19 million sole proprietors. This creates tremendous opportunities for your business to continually grow—you just need to find a way to catch the attention of the right organizations and demonstrating how your services can help them.

Capturing the right audience

According to CompTIA’s study The Business Relevance of IT in the SMB Market, two-thirds of SMBs indicate that technology is the most important component in achieving their business objectives. As an MSP, you need to understand that those objectives are and how they’re shaped by the SMB’s industry. A full 54 percent of SMBs fall into one of four categories: healthcare, accounting, retail, and construction. One way to grow your MSP is by catering to the compliance and regulatory needs of these industries—what solutions are the those types of clients looking for and how can you address those needs?

According to the CompTIA study, 75 percent of the participants surveyed use a technology solution partner at least once a year, but only 23 percent consider themselves to be regular customers. While not every customer is ready to make the investment in managed services, providing these break-fix customers with good customer service and demonstrating the value that managed services have to offer can you help convert them into managed service contracts.

Aligning with SMBs’ goals

Every business has an area where they want to improve in the coming year. What may surprise you is that the number one goal of the SMBs surveyed for the CompTIA report is renewing and maintaining key customer accounts. A full 50 percent of respondents identified this as their top business priority for the year. Sound familiar? This is probably one of your primary objectives for the year as well.

So what can your MSP do to help your SMBs achieve this goal? Think about how your MSP currently operates and what you can do differently. What technology can you help integrate to deliver a better customer service experience for your SMBs’ customers? Maybe it’s helping them mobile optimize their websites or set up live chat support. If you focus on a specific vertical you can learn the line of business applications needed, which can help your SMB customers run more efficiently—and in the long-run can even help them increase their profitability.

Another way you can help your clients maintain customer relationships is by helping them protect sensitive information and avoid a data breach or data loss disaster. When a breach happens, often consumers are weary of that business for quite some time—especially if personal information was stolen. Whether your SMB is a retail store handling credit card information, an accounting firm working confidential financial information, or a healthcare firm protecting patient data, a data breach can affect the livelihood of the business—and consumer’s trust in them.

If your SMBs want to renew and maintain accounts, consumers need to believe their personal information is safe. This is where you can step in with your managed service offering. Highlight the ways managed services can help their business and make their lives easier, and what you can help safeguard the SMB and their customers against. Do consumer expect their credit card information to remain private? Yes, absolutely. But, once there is a breach or information gets exposed, customers lose that level of trust in the SMB—and your services can prevent something like that from happening in the first place.

Neal Bradbury

Posted by Neal Bradbury

Neal Bradbury is senior director of business development at Intronis MSP Solutions. Neal is responsible for generating greater business value for the company’s MSP partner community and alliance partners. He has held many leadership roles since founding Intronis in 2003, including partner support, product management, and operations. Neal has more than 15 years of experience in networking, security, integration, and systems management.

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