Microsoft Office 365: Top 3 Answers to Customer Objections

CCNS Consulting owner Karl Bickmore has warmed up to Microsoft Office 365 over the past few years since Microsoft first introduced its cloud-based office productivity suite. He shared his answers to customer objections to moving Office documents to the cloud.

CJ Arlotta, Associate Editor

June 17, 2013

3 Min Read
quotA great way to introduce cloud offerings to your clients is through Office 365quot said CCNS Consulting owner Karl Bickmore
"A great way to introduce cloud offerings to your clients is through Office 365," said CCNS Consulting owner Karl Bickmore.

Microsoft (MSFT) Office 365 received a mixed reception from the software giant’s channel partners when the cloud-based office productivity suite made its debut a few years ago. Intended to leverage Microsoft’s stronghold in the business productivity space but also answer threats posed by Google’s cloud-based suite Google Apps and Google Docs, Microsoft’s first iteration of its cloud offering provided only direct billing from Microsoft and a handful of syndication partners. But some partners have warmed to Office 365, and are even pitching it to customers.

CCNS Consulting owner Karl Bickmore is one of them. He sells Office 365 to customers and has developed a series of answers to common sales objections from customers and leads. He provided this inside look to MSPmentor.

“Office 365 has addressed all my concerns and offers so much more than ever before,” Bickmore said, adding that Microsoft has a long record of getting things right after a few tries.

While CCNS Consulting receives some rather interesting questions with regards to Office 365, security, migration, and pricing are three concerns that have made it to the top of his list.

Security, Security, Security

Security, a concern with any cloud-based service, outranked other customer questions or concerns. To handle this particular issue, Bickmore makes it a point to show Microsoft documentation on security, including the provider’s willingness to sign liability agreements for HIPAA and other compliance issues.

“To my knowledge they are the only major cloud provider doing this,” he said.

Bickmore also showcases how much more physically secure a datacenter is when compared with a customer’s own office.

Migration Complexity

To address this concern, Bickmore advises customers to pick their partners wisely.

In addition, there are several free backend tools from Microsoft that can help customers ease migration woes. In addition, some third party vendors will perform the migration — possible win/win if you incorporate these costs into pricing, Bickmore said.

“You will be able to assure the client that the migration happens with extremely little interruption and is very smooth at bringing over all their email, email folders, calendars, task lists, contacts, etc.,” he said.

Pricing Structure

Many customers worry about paying monthly fees forever. Bickmore shows them a simple return of investment (ROI) calculation.

“If you take just the email services alone, you can easily show how the cost per mailbox to maintain an on premise solution is far more expensive,” he said. “Then you can point out that Office 365 includes Lync and SharePoint with SkyDrive. This provides compliant cloud solutions and a whole new set of opportunities that they may not even have considered yet and that are included.”

Bickmore also offers customers desktop licensing for Office 2013, which enables customers to pay for the solution on the regular update schedule, but allows them to install it on to up to five computers.

“MSP need to realize that if they don’t begin to offer cloud services they will be left in the dust,” Bickmore said. “A great way to introduce cloud offerings to your clients is through Office 365.”

Bickmore’s way of thinking and sales efforts around Office 365 is leading the way to a more mainstream use of cloud productivity suites in the near future. A new forecast from Gartner, Inc. (IT) says that while only 8 percent of office system users are using cloud-based solutions today, that number will rise dramatically in the next few years. The research firm predicts a major shift to cloud systems in the first half of 2015 that will increase penetration to 33 percent in 2017.


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About the Author(s)

CJ Arlotta

Associate Editor, Nine Lives Media, a division of Penton Media

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