If you're able to show SMBs the value proposition the cloud offers – including how the technology improves their businesses, decreases costs while increasing productivity and network performance – how could they refuse from a business perspective? If you want SMB customers to come to you for cloud computing, you'll want to show them the technology's business advantages throughout the sales cycle, while assuring them that the cloud services you provide are reliable and secure.
The biggest challenge to selling cloud computing to customers is their confusion on the topic. People won't buy something if they're not sure what it is or why they need it. It's no wonder customers are confused. Since application service providers (ASP) arrived on the scene ten years ago, the terms managed services, software as a service, network-based services and infrastructure as a service have all emerged as well. For the sake of simplicity for our already-confused customers, all of these terms can be lumped together and described as “cloud computing services”. They all have one thing in common: they become the responsibility of the MSP rather than the responsibility of the customer. Software is hosted on the MSP's cloud network instead of on the customer's server or computer, for example.
Less responsibility and less time and effort on behalf of the client to maintain these technology aspects is a definite benefit to their business – and one they can appreciate. Selling cloud services to enterprises requires that you show each customer how it minimizes their total cost of ownership, minimizes their supplier management responsibilities, delivers on SLAs and provide a wide range of services that are useful now and that can evolve to meet the future requirements of the business.
Once you've eliminated some of the confusing surrounding cloud computing services for your clients, you need to translate how cloud computing technology provides real business advantages. Benefits like faster deployment, lower cost of operation, increased flexibility, access to data and applications from anywhere at any time – and how these benefits will give businesses the edge over the competition.
As a Managed Services Provider, your ability to clearly explain cloud computing benefits to your customers will help bring the technology into the mainstream, and position you as a reliable expert in the industry. The real value an MSP offers their clients is not in the technology offered, but in the expert knowledge you provide and the ability to meet the needs of your customers even while those needs are continuously changing.
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