Heather Gordon Worldwide Small & Medium Business Segment Leader at Microsoft

Small business: the opportunity for business transformation

Small business employee standing in stockroom and using handheld tablet

Successful small business owners are likely to agree on one thing: you cannot do it alone. Running a business with tighter margins and fewer staff than larger enterprise customers, small businesses can benefit from bringing in outside expertise to provide specialist capabilities that are not always available in-house. For decades, Microsoft partners have been the go-to collaborators for small businesses around the world, bringing to reality the advantages of technologies and digital solutions that help them not only grow—but thrive.  

The US Small Business Administration recognized National Small Business Week during May 1-7, 2022, to celebrate the resiliency and tenacity of America’s entrepreneurs. The Microsoft Partner Network joined in observance of this week by compiling the resources, tools, and programs Microsoft offers partners to support sales and growth within the small business segment. But the work is not done yet! 

Small businesses are digitally transforming at a rapid pace and driving innovation across industries. They make up 99.9% of all US businesses and are vital to our global economy and tech community. However, eighty percent of small and medium-sized businesses aren’t yet taking full advantage of digital tools. Lacking in-house capacity, many SMBs heavily rely on external support from managed service providers and other IT specialists to run their technology. In fact, SMB spending with managed service providers (MSPs) and systems integrators has been on the rise since 2020 and is growing at a rate of 11% per year

There is a rich opportunity for partners to help. By offering solutions built on Microsoft platforms, partners can claim a portion of the USD1.4 trillion global SMB IT spend that is projected for 2022. But many partners are unsure how to approach selling to SMBs who don’t fit into their enterprise sales strategies—this is where the Microsoft Partner Network comes in. From products specifically designed for business with fewer employees, to thoughtfully designed sales playbooks, to online communities, we are committed to supporting partners who want to sell to SMBs. Reflecting on the themes from National Small Business Week, now is the perfect time to explore these resources and consider how you can engage with and support small business customers:

  • Security is top of mind for all customers, including Small Businesses. Microsoft Modern Workplace plays for SMBs let you connect SMB customers with the programs they need to securely bring their workplace up to speed, from Microsoft 365 to Microsoft Defender for Business
  • Azure-related sales resources for SMBs: Customers are rapidly moving to the cloud and Microsoft Azure is experiencing 50% year-over-year growth. Take advantage of this opportunity by helping SMB customers along their path to cloud adoption. 
  • New Microsoft Cloud Partner Program Partner Capability Score: The upcoming realigned solutions partner designations provide two qualifying levels to differentiate to customers of all sizes: solutions partner and specialist/expert. Under the new Partner Capability Score, the levels can be obtained by partners big or small, who focus on customers big or small. 
  • Partner SMB Community: Find Partner Area Leads (PALs) in your region to connect with and stay up-to-date on the latest from the SMB community. 
  • Microsoft Action Pack: This partner resource includes software, support, and benefits for businesses that want to begin, build, and grow their Microsoft practice in a cloud-first, mobile-first world. In order to be eligible to access Microsoft Action Pack, a partner must have an MPN ID and pay the $475 program fee.

As we continue to evolve the Microsoft Partner Network into the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program, changes will be designed to support partners of all sizes in selling to customers of all sizes. We believe that Microsoft partners are in a unique position to support these customers as they drive innovation, and we will continue to invest in your success in SMB sales engagements.  

We are proud to celebrate small businesses this month and recognize the value and contributions of entrepreneurship in our world.