Working with VARs we know all about disaster recovery, business continuity, and business continuation—whatever way you wish to describe it. It’s a frequent entry point into new customers for many VARs. We’ve written lead-generation articles, prospecting value propositions and sales qualification questions about it. We’ve coached sales reps on how to position it in sales proposals and close.
But here at KLA Group, we’d never experienced it. Until Labor Day weekend, when our hosting provider’s server went down Saturday morning—and the provider doesn’t provide weekend or after-hours support. Down went not only our websites and blog, but also our email.
While it was a weekend—and a holiday weekend at that—you’d think we’d be okay to hang on until Tuesday. But then the questions started.
- What about our international clients?
- What about all the people who wanted to access resources from our websites or blog at leisure?
- What about the email work staff was hoping to catch up while things were quieter over the holiday?
The more serious questions quickly followed.
- What if email isn’t back up on Tuesday? How will we do business? Email is a critical business application for all our staff. Projects will stall. Customers won’t be able to communicate with us. Sales won’t move forward.
- What if it wasn’t just our hosted server that went down, and ours isn’t the highest priority when the hosting provider figures out it’s down? It could be more than a few hours like we’re used to. What will we do then? Will the the hosting provider even notify us?
- What if it’s a hardware failure and the host can’t repair it? Again, what will we do if we’re down for days?
It situations like this, knowing so much about IT is both a blessing and a curse. Yes, we logged a ticket in hopes that someone would be monitoring it. But nobody was.
There I was with my IT staff person, on what should have been a leisurely holiday weekend, wondering how we were going to support our customers come Tuesday morning. More importantly, how were we going to support our prospects? We’re a project-based business. Continued sales are critical to our livelihood. Communication with prospects is equally important as communication with current customers.
In your disaster plan you may provide for continued support of your customers, but what’s the support plan for your sales team and your prospects? With medical practices you tell them that they have to be able to continue taking new appointments. In your disaster plan, your salespeople need to be able to continue doing business just as much as your techs.
In our experience, the easiest piece of the business to support was our customers. Our virtual training tools and phones all worked. It was the sales activities that were the most difficult. So I ask you, what’s your disaster recovery/business continuity/business continuation plan for your sales team? What if your CRM goes down? Or email? Or the whole business? How will you sell?
You may make customers the priority, but without new business, how long can you afford to stay in business?
These are the questions to ask yourself. And they are questions to ask your prospects.
How does my story end? We migrated our websites and blog to another hosting company with better support and signed up with a backup hosting company. Luckily, we were already in the process of moving email to the Cloud. We just moved faster than we’d planned. And, we updated our business continuity plan to include sales.
Do you have a disaster recovery story or any advice you'd like to share? Please feel free to add your comments below.