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Best Practice for SMB customers

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Best practice for winning, keeping and growing SMB customers

Winning new business is never easy, nor is holding on to new and existing customers. This is especially true in the SMB space, where competitive pricing and scalable services offered by competitor companies can be a huge draw. With any customer, an managed service provider (MSP) must work hard to understand their business’ unique needs; however when dealing with SMBs, it is vital that the MSP invests considerable time in establishing a trusted, personal relationship with the customer, assuring them that they are equipped to support their current and future needs.


Mike Cullen, VP – Worldwide Sales and Business Strategy, MSP, N-able by SolarWinds

There are a number of technical and business skills that a good MSP must have in its arsenal, however there are four vital things that the best MSPs do extremely well:


$11.    They nurture the business relationship

SMBs typically need and want a trusted advisor. Somebody who will listen to their technology and business concerns, understand their market and can provide expert guidance on key challenges.

As an MSP, you must be able to focus on satisfying the unique business needs of each customer. Selling to SMBs is never just about the technology, it is about building one-to-one relationships, ensuring that the client can rely on you and supporting the business as it implements new systems and technologies.

$12.    They understand and take on the client’s strategic thinking

Increasingly, SMBs require MSPs to be a lot more than trusted technology advisors and providers. They want you to provide them with strategic thinking that supports their business plans while meeting their technology service needs.

SMBs need you to take a strategic view of their business because it’s more cost effective for them. They want you to be their virtual CIO, who can assess strategic versus operational IT issues, recommend best practices, both reactive and proactive, and see the ‘big picture’ of their business.

$13.    They are flexible and always available            

Flexibility should be one of your key assets. You should be willing and able to create the precise solution that a customer requests, while ensuring that it is cost effective and highly reliable. At the same time, you should make yourself and your team readily available to answer any questions and solve technology problems as quickly as possible.

‘Flexibility’ may not appear on your business card but it should be the main focus when it comes to managing your SMB relationships.

$14.    They offer flawless service

Providing excellent service, and value for money, is essential to your success when working with SMBs. Each SMB requires different levels of service, often highly customised. For example, an SMB might want you to manage all its devices except employees’ tablets, going against your best practices’ advice. Your response must always be ‘yes, we can do that’, but you also need explain the risk associated, thus showing your value and worth.

Similarly, you must be contactable and reactive. The one size fits all approach of large service providers, designed around rigid SLAs and scaling up, just doesn’t work with SMBs. When an SMB customer calls you with an IT problem, they typically want it fixed immediately, either over the phone or in person.  The best MSPs make sure this happens, thus showing how vital they are to their SMB client.