5 Ways MSPs Can Win SMB Cloud Computing Services Deals

Selling SMBs The Cloud

SMBs are investigating their options in the cloud computing services space, and in many cases they're turning to managed service providers (MSPs) to help them sort out what's what in the cloud. This puts MSPs in the unique position to demonstrate the value of cloud computing services and solutions to their SMB customers, but that's not always easy.

"SMBs range from having their most technology-literate employee overseeing their computing needs to having a full-blown IT department," said Jacob Kazakevich, president of cloud computing services platform startup OS33. "But regardless of size, all organizations are looking to leverage the economic benefits, simplicity, and accessibility of cloud-based IT. MSPs who understand what cloud services are in demand by SMBs and can tailor their offerings to satisfy these demands will ultimately be the most successful."

Here are five tips offered up by Kazakevich to help MSPs sell the cloud to SMBs.

Talk Cost Savings

To win over an SMB when it comes to the cloud, it's important for MSPs to emphasize the cost savings of making the leap to cloud computing services.

"SMB customers won't buy your cloud-based IT offerings unless you can clearly demonstrate both immediate and ongoing cost savings," Kazakevich says.

While moving to the cloud is expected to reduce costs, MSPs are challenged with showing customers savings specific to their environments. It is critical to provide a detailed quote that clearly demonstrates the savings in hardware, management and operations cost that will be realized by moving IT assets to the cloud.

Get Integrated

To bring SMBs into the cloud and sell the cloud story, MSPs must offer solutions that feature integrated platforms.

"Merely promising to help control recurring IT costs alone won't close a sale," Kazakevich says. "Even less tech-savvy SMB customers are becoming well aware that scattered cloud-based assets have somewhat limited benefits."

Kazakevich cautions that a cloud offering that frankensteins together products from multiple vendors won't always work and end users need solutions that tie together all of their IT resources, like infrastructure, applications, management and delivery into a single ecosystem that is accessed and supported on the same platform.

Make It Simple

MSPs are charged with helping SMBs simplify their IT environments. One way to make things easier is to make solutions centralized and accessible through a single interface.

"The cloud is not a major competitive plus unless everything is centralized and organized through a simple-to-use and easy-to-access interface," Kazakevich says. "To get all of the benefits inherent to cloud computing, SMBs need an interface that provides them with unified access to all of their IT assets -- applications, data and service -- on one screen, on any connected device, anywhere."

Guarantee Performance, SLAs

What good is the cloud if it isn't reliable? SMBs won't stand for downtime; they demand enterprise-level performance and availability for the applications running in the cloud.

"From what we have seen, most end users are willing to give up any and all benefits associated with cloud computing if their line of business applications do not meet their SLA or performance expectations," Kazakevich says.

Service, Support Are Key

Exceptional service and support are necessary to win over SMB customers. Kazakevich cautions that the cloud computing sale for an MSP doesn't end when the contract is signed. SMBs demand strong support and support with swift response times.

"A lack of adequate support results in a major loss of productivity and some very unhappy end users," Kazakevich says. "It's critical for your MSP practice to support any cloud-based service that you offer as if it's your own product. Too many deployments fail due to lack of prompt, knowledgeable support."