As a managed service provider, you know the cloud would be the best IT solution for you and your customers (if not yet, check out this blog). The transition is quick, the provisioning and management are automated, and the best part is you can add a steady, high-margin stream of monthly recurring revenue from the cloud.
However, many small businesses, who often lack cloud knowledge as well as IT staff, hesitate to move to the cloud. This blog will reveal how your customers think about the cloud and provide you some tips to help them realize how the cloud empowers small businesses.
How do small businesses think about the cloud?
Some of the common hesitations include:
- The cloud isn’t safe
- There are too many features I don’t need
- I don’t have enough control over my hardware and data
- I don’t know anything cloud technology
Most small business customers are not technical savvy, and most concerns stem from that. The “cloud” is a new, ambiguous term that represents change and uncertainty – it is rational to have hesitations. Big well-known brands can bring certainty and allay fears. For example, put “Microsoft Azure” next to the cloud and they would likely be more comfortable that the technology is the latest, best, most efficient, and secure solution.
Small business owners usually rely on managed service providers to tell them what they should be using, so it is important to understand the benefits of the cloud.
What should they really think about the cloud?
Set aside all the hesitations, your customers already know the cloud is bringing big changes for all businesses, from tech startups in Silicon Valley to urban and small-town mom-and-pop shops.
They need to be assured how cloud benefits can be translated into their day-to-day IT operations:
- Greater cost savings and predictable IT budget: There is no need to own hardware or pay for 24/7 servers while they only operate from 9am to 5pm. Because the cloud does all the updates and patching automatically, they can also save from expensive software updates.
- Enterprise-level security access: With built-in security and industry compliance, the cloud provides small businesses enterprise-level secure access to their files and data, which otherwise would cost a fortune developing in-house.
- Flexibility with a variety of productivity solutions: In addition to basic apps, like Word, Excel, and Mail, the cloud offers easy access and integration with different tools to work faster and more effectively. Activate new applications whenever you want, and quickly deactivate when you no longer need them.
- Availability from anywhere, at any time: For small and individual businesses, software updates or server downtimes cause inactivity during business hours. By using multiple data centers around the globe, Microsoft Azure ensures greater continuity than any other server solution.
3 tips to sell cloud services to small businesses
Follow these 3 steps to start introducing cloud computing to small businesses:
- Demystify their cloud assumptions:
It is key to clarify their cloud misunderstandings before discussing actual cloud solutions. A biweekly newsletter with some articles about cloud technology would get your customers familiar with the idea and benefits of the cloud.
You can leverage our latest blogs on demystifying cloud misconceptions, or send them this e-book with all they need to know about the cloud as a new utility for businesses.
- Customize the solution package, no more, no less:
Once you’ve introduced the cloud to your customers, it’s time to present a few cloud solutions that directly and efficiently solve their needs. To do so, you would need to identify their pain points and provide a good solution to address it. For example:
- Team collaboration: Office 365, SharePoint Online
- Customer relationship management: Dynamics CRM, Salesforce
- Backup, Monitoring, Storage
- Or you can offer a full cloud workspace solution to deliver all in one single cloud desktop.
- Offer a try-before-you-buy model
Try-before-you-buy model is a good way for small businesses to test the waters without taking on too many risks. You can guide customers along the way as a strategic partner, exploring and reinstating exactly how the cloud can solve their specific business problems.
Don’t forget to take advantage of the free trials and apply your Microsoft Partner credits to deliver a seamless, full-feature POC for your customers.
At the end of the day, your customers biggest questions are whether it can save them money and provide excellent service for them to run their business. The answer to both is yes!