That is one of the findings of a study of SMEs carried out by Prodata in its "Partners' UK SMB strategic review and decision tool kit" 2002.
The survey found there was "a strong interest in purchasing packages that take the pain away from putting a system together on a piecemeal basis and a strong latent interest in services such as unified messaging, which make managing communication more simple and effective and enable an SME to look big despite the actual size of its business".
It suggested there was a large opportunity for these services because they had not been properly marketed for SMEs.
Encouragingly, it also stated there were "very distinct segments of the small business population that purchase more on service criteria than price".
But Prodata warned that as long as SMEs viewed technology as a cost rather than a business expander or enhancer, attitudes would be centred around price.
If resellers could help SMEs appreciate how they might use technology to enhance their business, they could start to sell systems and move away from needing to be the cheapest, it claimed.
Partners should "spell out the [business] benefits, not the technology" to ensure SMEs understood what they were buying, the report stated.
It also urged resellers to nudge small businesses in the direction of e-business with education programmes and easy-to-understand explanations of how their systems fit into the e-vision.
As part of this strategy, the report suggested resellers should draw customers into an electronic-based relationship so they could gain an understanding of the benefits of the approach.