One of the top obstacles IT service providers face when selling any IT solutions — but especially cloud-based solutions — is a price objection. If you’re new to selling cloud, it’s a good idea to prepare for this inevitability now, and when it happens remember this: what the prospect is really conveying is that they haven’t seen enough value in your solution.
It’s important to remember the distinction between price and value because you’re going to lose the cost-per-gigabyte price discussion most of the time (How can you compete with all the freemium cloud offers out there?). However, when you engage clients in a discussion that focuses on value, it’s a whole other matter.
There are a lot of topics that can potentially fit into a value-based discussion, but here are the top two I hear from successful IT service providers:
1. RTO. Recovery Time Objective is defined as the duration of time (backed up by a service level agreement) whereby a business process must be restored after a disruption or disaster. This is really eye-opening to some end users who faithfully backup their data to tape and even replace old tapes with new media from time to time. But, they never think about the fact that if their server was to crash and they had to build a new server and load the tapes to it, it would be a good week before they’d see their data again. With your managed cloud service on the other hand, you can show them how you’re able to guarantee a recovery time that can be measured in hours (maybe even minutes) instead of days or weeks.
2. Regulatory Compliance. Nearly every market is driven by some kind of industry regulations nowadays. Those who don’t comply with regulations such as PCI, HIPAA, Sarbanes Oxley, FIPS, etc. can face serious fines, in addition to a massive blow to their business reputations. When it comes to the cloud, nearly all the regulated industries require members to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access. While it may seem that a security-related issue is a whole other topic, backup and security are actually very much interrelated. To provide a cloud backup solution to a client in a regulated industry, it’s important that your solution can encrypt the data [e.g. AES 256] during transit as well as at rest and that the cloud provider has physical security measures in place to protect clients’ data.
Both of the value points mentioned above can help you move the business discussion away from price and toward the pain points your clients are experiencing, which takes you around the obstacle and one step closer to making the sale.