Ryan Stickel

By: Ryan Stickel on April 10th, 2024

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The Importance of Good Account Management with an MSP

Business Strategy

One of the most important relationships you’ll have with your Managed Service Provider (MSP) is with your account manager. Your account manager should be more than just a point of contact; they should be your dedicated advocate, ready to guide you on your IT journey.

In this article, we’ll describe what good account management looks like and its critical role in driving business growth. Here at Innovative, we pride ourselves on our account managers and believe they are essential to a successful relationship between our clients and us.

Not every MSP will operate exactly as we do, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Every business is different, and there are plenty of good MSP options for everyone. If you are a good fit for an MSP like Innovative, this article might speak more to your sensibilities than someone else.

Advocacy and Guidance

Above all, your account manager should be your advocate. Navigating the complex world of technology requires a trusted guide, one who understands your business and what it needs to succeed. Your account manager's role is not just to provide solutions but to recommend tools and strategies that align with your growth objectives.

Advocacy also means working with your business when times are tough and adjusting budget priorities to make sure you have the best tools possible without breaking the bank.

For example, it might be important to your business to upgrade workstations every three years. That’s great, but if network infrastructure is past due for an upgrade and the IT budget constraints don’t allow for both, your account manager should be able to help you pivot and put a plan in place to upgrade the network devices while still acquiring new workstations within the industry-standard three to five years.

This type of guidance will get you what you need and satisfy the MSP with an up-to-date environment. It will also stay within budget and ensure better productivity and uptime for your business.

Part of this advocacy involves interfacing with other vendors. Your account manager, armed with an in-depth understanding of your business and IT environment, becomes a strategic partner in assessing vendor recommendations. If a proposed solution doesn't align with your needs, your account manager is there to push back and suggest alternatives.

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Real Business Partnership

At its core, a real business partnership hinges on your account manager being deeply involved in your business's day-to-day operations. Recognizing that most business decisions are inherently tied to technology, we advocate for account managers to play a vCIO (virtual Chief Information Officer) role. This positions them as your de facto IT advisor, ensuring that every technology decision aligns with your business objectives and respects your budgetary constraints.

This involvement is not just in decision-making but also about staying ahead of the curve. An informed account manager should keep you aware of upcoming changes, potential costs and new trends. This insight helps prevent your business from being blindsided by unexpected technology challenges or expenses.

Flexibility and Consistency

Our blog often mentions how each business is different; the same goes for account managers. There’s no one correct way to manage an account. Flexibility is essential when dealing with various types of people and businesses.

Each account manager may operate differently to get the job done, whether it be because of their methods or the business they’re working with. One consistent thread, though, should be regular and meaningful communication. The frequency of meetings depends on your preferences and business needs, but it should always be a two-way street.

These interactions help ensure your account manager is knowledgeable about your business and that your business is up to date with its technology. It also reduces the likelihood of account managers only showing up trying to sell you something. Regular meetings provide space for more nuanced discussions about your technological needs and strategic business goals.

Your meeting should focus on “How are things going right now?” and not “I haven’t heard from you in months, and I need you to upgrade your firewall ASAP.”

Examples of Poor Account Management

While this article has spent time on the positive aspects of account management, it's important to recognize when there might be issues. If any of the following examples resonate with you, it could indicate poor account management:

  • Your account manager is hard to reach.
  • You don’t hear from your account manager regularly.
  • Your account manager has limited knowledge of your business, even after managing your account for an extended period.
  • Meetings are predominantly geared toward selling rather than meaningful business and technology discussions.
  • Your account manager rarely, if ever, visits your business in person.

If you encounter any of these challenges, rest assured that good account management is out there. If you are within our service area and feel that your MSP lacks this essential component, please don't hesitate to contact us. Your account management should be aligned with your business goals.

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