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Distributed Work Creates New Opportunities for MSPs

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As they adopt distributed work, SMBs need expert guidance and ongoing help. Read on to learn about the vast opportunities for MSPs.

In reviewing data from the most recent Cybersecurity Workforce Study from (ISC)², it’s clear that small and midsize business (SMBs) are facing major challenges in 2022 and need managed service providers (MSPs) to throw them a lifeline – or better yet, a help line.

Budgets, lack of time and IT staff shortages remain SMBs’ biggest challenges. Now, as remote and flexible work have morphed into "normal work" and cybersecurity threats expand, businesses need expert guidance and ongoing help. All of this makes the market ripe for MSPs.

Two perfect door-openers for MSPs: cybersecurity and efficient remote collaboration

Cybersecurity: The world remains short some 2.7 million cybersecurity professionals, according to the Cybersecurity Workforce Study. Even if an SMB wanted to hire one or two and they were available, their salaries have skyrocketed to the point where they would place undue burden on the SMB’s budget. So, get the conversation started by discussing the fact that 100% of SMBs with over 100 employees were targeted for a cyberattack in 2020 and 2021, according to The Verizon 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report.

Stress that your MSP services make you an MSSP (managed security service provider) as well. Point out that the cybersecurity issues you navigate on behalf of clients every day are the very same issues your prospects will likely face again this year and in 2023.

Efficient remote collaboration: The second door-opener focuses on efficient remote collaboration. It’s a step beyond enabling stop-gap remote work solutions. Here, you are introducing the fact that the quick-and-dirty solutions which SMBs adopted to ‘just get through’ the pandemic aren’t necessarily secure, productive or cost-effective. As a modern MSP, your knowledge of how to combine multiple siloed products into a unified solution makes you a valuable advisor. You can reveal dramatic efficiency and time-saving measures for virtually any SMB.

Once a door-opener has landed you that first key prospect meeting, there are 5 key areas to hit on that are sure to excite any SMB executive.

5 key opportunities for MSPs to attract SMBs

1. Consultative advice

Many SMBs do not have an official IT department. "They need someone that can understand their business and their technology, make the right recommendations, so that business leaders can feel like they're investing in technology rather than having it just be an expense item," wrote Gary Pica, President of TruMethods, in a recent Redmond Channel Partner article.

Business leaders respond well to a consultation offering that incorporates a quick review of their organizational and high-level processes. Follow up with concrete recommendations that tell them how they can free up (or avoid hiring additional) internal IT staff while leveraging either MSP services or a combination of SaaS solutions.

2. Expertise in the most popular (industry-specific) SaaS offerings and integrations

SMBs really want to know that they can get best-in-class applications and have them all work together smoothly to streamline workflows and processes across all departments. Countless businesses rely on partners to manage their ERP, CRM, eCommerce and industry-focused applications due to a lack of internal expertise. They need an MSP to bring it all together for them.

Tip: Having evidence of as many solution certifications as possible will make you even more attractive to prospects seeking guidance.

3. Desire to work as an extension to their IT department

SMBs need an MSP that can manage across providers and solutions. For example, acting as a liaison between the SMB and their eCommerce and ERP solution providers. They need you to manage upgrades across solutions and ensure bug fixes are handled fast, without impacting internal IT staff.

If you have not developed a way to benchmark the time savings such a service provides, you should do so soon. It’s a great ongoing sales and customer retention tool that can show each customer exactly how much time and effort you have saved them versus their old way of managing vendors and solutions on their own.

4. Rapid response capabilities

With globalized customers, partners and cloud-based solutions, SMBs recognize that they need 24x7, on-demand service in a pinch. SMBs will strongly consider working with you, whether you roll rapid response services into your “extension of internal IT” offering or as a stand-alone offering.

Your offering should provide different service-level options (such as 1-hour email response, ability to connect to a live (Tier 1) help desk person immediately, live Tier-2 help within an hour, etc.). The value comes in your prospect feeling like you have them covered at all times under any circumstances.

5. Cost savings and ongoing improvement

Stress the staffing costs of each and every aspect of the services which you can provide. Generalizations will not suffice. You need to develop concrete cost projections.

Develop the most common scenarios for your target base of prospects and the associated cost savings across all areas. These include downtime, lost sales, salaries, efficiency of new solutions you can introduce, etc. Time-crunched SMB executives will appreciate the forethought and expertise.

Take advantage of the opportunities provided by distributed work

When markets are in turmoil and uncertainty abounds, innovative teams thrive. SMBs are facing challenges that MSPs are uniquely equipped to handle. MSPs have plenty of opportunities to tap into a vast market of SMBs. These 5 opportunities are just the tip of the iceberg.

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