October 30, 2014
By N-able Guest Blog 2
MSPs and channel partners are successfully selling cloud services to SMBs by doing two things: 1.) Targeting the right companies and 2.) Not wasting time trying to sell to businesses fiercely resistant to change.
Choosing the right companies to sell to is a crucial step in marketing your cloud services. And avoiding customers who are heavily invested in a capex model is a must. Many of these businesses see the cloud as risky because it means no onsite infrastructure.
A Good Pick Makes a Difference
The right prospects have clear needs, are willing to spend money on new technologies and have budgets to make it happen. These companies typically view IT spending not just as a necessary cost, but also as a business investment.
Another way to profile your prospects and assess current customers is to follow the IT maturity model, which segments your base into five types: break fix, responsive, proactive, managed and utility customers.
The first two–break fix and responsive–are usually not a good fit for managed cloud services because they tend to focus on maintaining their infrastructures instead of investing in new products or services. Typically, they use minimal IT processes and contact their MSPs only when they have problems.
In contrast, proactive customers, managed customers and utility customers present the best opportunities for your marketing efforts. They understand the tight connection between having a highly reliable IT infrastructure and business productivity. Plus, they realize that investing in IT is a way for them to invest in the future of their business.
Timing Is Everything
Sometimes, ideal candidates for managed cloud services just don’t pan out. Why? In many cases it may just be bad timing. The best way to decide whether customers are ready to migrate to a managed cloud service is to discover if they have one of the following scenarios:
Hardware that is coming to the end of its life;
Internal IT resources that are underused or have become too expensive to maintain;
Key software that requires expensive upgrades; and
Their company must make extensive improvements to protect critical data.
Each of these scenarios provides tremendous opportunities to sell managed cloud services.
Pitch Big-Picture Benefits, Tread Lightly on Product Specs
When talking to prospects and current customers, sell them on the big-picture benefits of migrating to managed cloud services. Tell them about the business value of your service; how it delivers a robust, scalable solution that meets critical business and IT needs; and that the service resides in a secure data center.
Emphasize that your service eliminates unnecessary spending on infrastructure, guarantees service levels, and gives users secure access from any devices, anywhere.
Finally, make sure you talk only with company owners or C-level decision-makers. These execs may not even know or care about the cloud per se. But, what they do care about is growing their businesses and hearing how IT services can make that happen faster and with greater predictability and ease.
Mike Cullen is vice president of worldwide sales and business strategy for N-able by SolarWinds. He brings over 20 years of corporate sales experience to his MSP customers, and has assembled an equally experienced sales force. Prior to joining N-able, Mike was vice president of sales (Ottawa Branch) and interim president of the Québec region for IKON Office Solutions. He grew the Ottawa business to $24 million in just five years, resulting in the Ottawa office’s recognition as the branch office of the year in 2000. Mike joined IKON in 1995 as a result of an acquisition of Fulline Office Products, an office equipment company Mike co-founded in 1988.
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