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January 9, 2012
By Axcient Guest Blog 2
cloud computingAs a VAR, you know it makes sense to offer cloud-based services to your small and mid-sized business (SMB) clients. The cloud allows you to provide SMBs with enterprise-like features that are easy to implement and use, without large upfront capital expenses or huge monthly fees, while simultaneously adding recurring revenue for your own business. Yet you’re likely coming across multiple obstacles, including SMBs’ lack of understanding about cloud services or general inertia toward change. Here are five steps to overcoming common SMB objections to the cloud.
1. Don’t Overhype the Cloud. Cloud may be the latest buzzword and technology trend, but some SMBs are wary or may not be ready for it. If you go in trying to sell the cloud, a client may be put off immediately. And it’s understandable, since the cloud itself is not really what people want – it’s the value that the cloud brings that will get their attention.
2. Choose Your Battles. Don’t try to move a client’s entire business to the cloud at once. When you’re trying to get someone to change behavior, you start with something small. If someone asks for advice on getting in shape, for instance, you might suggest beginning with three 30 minute workouts a week; if you tell them to train four hours a day, seven days a week, they’ll never start. It’s a general rule about life that if you want people to say yes, you make it simple for them to do so. Limit your initial recommendations to make it easy for a SMB to adopt the cloud, and build from there. If you come on too strong at first, a client might back off completely.
3. Address a Real Pain. There are many ways the cloud is beneficial for SMBs – efficiency, scalability, high elasticity, etc. But focus on benefits that resolve the strongest pain points for your client. For example, data backup, business continuity, and disaster recovery is an area where a cloud solution can really make a difference for SMBs, since it replaces multiple software solutions with one web-based service.
4. Establish a Clear ROI. A common mistake of vendors selling cloud computing is to focus on getting clients to implement the latest technology without clear examples of what it can really do for the business. Focus on selling value first, putting the methodology second. Show the real dollars they can save each month and provide compelling use cases.
5. Offer More than Cost Savings. Remember that value encompasses much more than cost savings. To convince someone to make a change based on cost savings alone, the solution has to be massively less expensive, or many SMBs won’t want to bother. But if there’s additional value like greater peace of mind, employee happiness, or customer satisfaction, that intrinsic value plus cost savings combines to make a compelling argument.
There’s no doubt that SMBs are moving to the cloud, especially for applications in finance, data storage, CRM, and HR, as well as collaboration tools. While only 3% of businesses in 2011 had more than 50% of their infrastructure and applications in the cloud, by 2015 an estimated 46% will have at least half cloud infrastructure and applications, according to Gartner.
justin moore axcientBy focusing on your customers’ real needs and pain points – as well as the real value of the cloud solutions you’re offering – you can cement your relationships now and be the one your customers turn to as their demand for cloud solutions inevitably grows.
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