After covering the IT industry for 13+ years, I’ve had the privilege of talking to hundreds of VARs, MSPs, and other channel IT professionals. It would seem sometimes that the market must be saturated with resellers, but a study by analyst group Gartner reveals just how big of an opportunity that exists — within the SMB market in particular — which is projected to surpass the $1 trillion mark in IT spending by 2015, representing 44% of total IT spend worldwide. Even though our national debt makes the term “trillion” seem like something that’s tangible, the reality is that it takes a million millions to equal one trillion! While estimates vary, many would agree that there are approximately 200,000 resellers worldwide, which further reveals the potential that exists per reseller within the SMB market.
For those of you not currently selling to the SMB market, here are three recurring themes I’ve observed based on my conversations with IT service providers selling into this space. Check them out and consider how your current product and services offerings could be adapted to fit this market.
1. SMBs have many of the same IT needs as enterprises, but smaller budgets. This is likely the primary objection some resellers have for avoiding selling to this market because it suggests that you have to lower your profit margins to make them fit this market. That doesn’t have to be the case. However, you may need to offer applications and hardware that’s geared toward this market.
2. SMBs lack internal IT resources. When I think about the explosion in managed services, this is the reason that first comes to mind. Through remote monitoring and management (RMM), even a small MSP can serve as the outsourced IT department for dozens of SMB clients, at a cost that’s much lower than what it would cost an SMB to hire more full-time IT employees.
3. SMBs prefer simple. Sometimes referred to as “One stop shop,” or my personal favorite “One throat to choke,” this need is very common among SMBs because the business decision makers (often the owner) wear multiple hats and would rather not sign up for working with one solution provider who handles their printers and copiers, another company that handles their phones systems, and another one that handles their workstations and servers. The more of those core IT-related headaches you can alleviate, the more value you’ll bring to this market, and the bigger piece of this $1 trillion pie you’ll enjoy.