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Four Smart Ways to Build a Strong Relationship with Your MSP

Establishing trust in any relationship, business, or otherwise takes time. As someone who’s spent a decades-long career in staffing and recruitment, I deeply understand the criticality of building long-term partnerships with my colleagues and peers in this people-first industry. However, if you’re new to the industry or maybe working with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) for the first time, there are several ways to ensure you can find success early on.

Understand (and empathize with) the Role of the MSP

If you’re approaching a partnership with an MSP in the first place, you’re probably focused on growing your business, but to grow you need to understand the role of MSPs within the staffing ecosystem. Depending on your goals, the MSP can act as an extension or part of your company’s procurement, HR, or other human capital function. It will manage the entire contingent talent life cycle from requisition through invoicing and payment. It’s a big operation, and one that requires an incredible amount of detail, attention, and focus – not an easy feat when the pressure is on.

But, if you approach the relationship with transparency and a commitment to collaboration, the MSP can help you prioritize initiatives and implement services appropriately. You’ll likely reach your goals faster and start to build credibility and trust to deepen your working relationship.


How frequently do you meet your vendor account managers? If you said, “Not very often,” then you should consider a new approach. Try scheduling a meet and greet with them even outside of your pre-determined business meetings. Hold regular feedback sessions to assess the gaps in your understanding as well as any ongoing challenges or pain areas. These touch-bases can uncover new ways of working, help you create efficiencies in the process, and establish a level of personalization that could result in a longer-term partnership.

Establish Trust & Credibility

It goes without saying that the quality of service is of paramount importance in any business partnership. And with a commitment to quality, comes trust and credibility. However, it doesn’t mean committing unrealistically for appeasement and then falling short on those promises. Building trust and credibility require being open and transparent about your skillsets and talent capabilities, thereby leaving no room for assumptions or false expectations.

And while you continue to understand the evolving needs of your MSP and their clients, up-skill your teams or hire lateral talent, so your business is also evolving to match the expectations of your partners’.

Think Long-Term

The road to becoming your MSP’s preferred partner is a long one. And even though quick fixes and small wins can build an impression, planning for a long-term partnership is critical. This may involve saying no at times or disagreeing with the stakeholders in some cases.

Acknowledge your shortcomings, if you have any. It is better than underdelivering on your commitments while leaving your partner in the blind. Just like any relationship, honesty is the best policy in MSP partnerships, too. Conduct regular conversations and hold open communication with the account managers to anticipate the clients’ needs and then stay ahead of them.

Remember, consistency in performance is vital to any business, especially if you want to scale and grow. Nurture your partnerships, empathize with your stakeholders, communicate, understand their needs, and when you can, surprise them with a value-added service. That way, you will not just be a good partner to your MSP, but also a preferred one.