Cost savings, simplicity and security… the three major selling propositions of IT as a Service to the Small Business. You don’t have to explain to a small business owner what IT is. He or she already knows that when a patch to the operating system is required, or the print spooler doesn’t work right, or there is an incompatibility issue with files from three different versions of Excel, that is IT! Most SMB owners believe that IT is really a four letter word. At the same time they know that they can’t live without it. But if they could just come in to their office in the morning and know that someone else has taken the burden of administration for that four letter word, they would be elated.
So what is the sales pitch that will get that owner to fork over some of his hard earned cash to achieve the goal of outsourcing his IT? And I’m not talking about a wholesale forklift of the custom applications that many businesses proliferate. You will never get to scale if you use that approach. Why do you think BPOS and Google Apps are seeing success in the market? It’s because they have a pre-packaged “bundle of services” approach that does NOT include heavy customization. So set up a package of services that will best fit the market vertical you are planning to serve and go sell it!
Let’s start with cost. Ask your potential customer what it would cost him if all of the data that is critical to his business was lost or destroyed? He might say, “Impossible, I’ve got one of those watch-ya-call-its… a backup drive!” So you might say, “What would happen if someone stole the drive or your office burned down with everything inside of it?” Next let him ponder the question, “What do you think it costs you each month in time and productivity to continually upgrade your basic software programs such as email and Microsoft Office?” Citrix provides a simple TCO/TOI calculator to help you with this discussion in the CSP toolkit. Once you’ve begun the discussion concerning Disaster Recovery and Office Productivity applications you can then address the reason it is so much simpler to use your bundled services.
Simplicity should start with a conversation that goes something like this…”If I could allow you to access your applications from any device (PC, Mac, even mobile device) and you could work from the office or any other location you choose (like a home office or remote location such as a hotel) wouldn’t that be a benefit to you?” We find that most small businesses do back-flips for this kind of service. The ability for an accountant to look at his clients’ portfolio from home or an attorney to review a case on the road prior to going into a court room is game-changing for them.
Finally you need to let your perspective customer know that having you supply his applications and secure his/her data is a part of doing business with you. In other words, using your service is more secure than if he/she was doing backups on their own. Why? Because the collection and retrieval of data is your business. It’s what you do 24/7 and as a matter of course you provide this service as a professional IT as a Service providers. You need to have a simple one page graphic data flow chart that shows your client how the information enters your datacenter through secured firewall(s) and where it is stored and redundantly backed up. Don’t make it complex. He doesn’t care that you’re using FIPs encryption (unless he works for the Government and then you need to tell him), but he does need to know in layman’s terms how you intend to keep his critical business information safe.
Round this discussion out with testimonials from several of your key customers who do what the prospect does (Accounting, Law, Healthcare, etc) and give him a couple of sources to call.
Make sure that you are fully squared away with all of the terms and conditions of your service prior to meeting with your perspective client and be able to quickly describe the options available for each service. Last and most definitely not least, whether you close the deal or not, always be a pro and thank the customer for his/her time. And remember there are 36 million businesses looking for your service… Go where the money is and don’t waste your time selling to someone who doesn’t want what you have to offer.
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