One of the first questions many managed services providers (MSPs) ask is why should I even be selling data protection or backup in the first place? It’s true there's lots of competition out there already; there are plenty of services online, and there are plenty of other vendors. In fact, your customers might even have a backup solution already in place, and yet you're supposed to go in there to convince them a change makes sense. How does that work?
There are a lot of reasons why you might say, “You know, maybe I'm just not going to bother trying to sell backup.” But the reality is you need to. In your role as an MSP, your customers are looking to you to figure out what they should be doing with technology. You're the one that's going to teach them not just what they should have in place already, but what they should be doing next, and what's possible. In a lot of ways, you're the trusted advisor. You’re the one entrusted with managing their digital business data, so protecting them against downtime and data loss is a natural part of the value you should provide.
Here are three big reasons you should definitely include data-protection services in your offering:
You’re most likely already controlling most of the technology your customers have—we’re presuming you're doing remote monitoring and management (RMM), and you're maybe even doing some security services. So whenever there's a real problem in the network or disaster strikes—whether it’s a major hurricane, a fire, or a laptop getting infected with ransomware—they're going to ask you to solve it.
Since you’re the one that’s going to be in charge of recovery, it makes sense that you should be the one that's in control of everything included in that process—and that includes backup.
Plus, of course, backup provides you with a revenue stream and a way to continue building that relationship with your customer. By offering data-protection services, you’re doing more than just managing some backup software they may already have in place. You’re providing the necessary assessment, backup storage management, DR testing, and of course, recovery as needed. So backup is a good choice for you to add to your service offering.
Something else that holds people back from backup is fear. While there are a lot of good choices in the backup market, there's also a lot of fear that if you don't do it right, not only could you lose data, you could end up losing your customer, or worse, you could even be held liable. And the truth is, you might be right. Which is why it's so important to pick a professional-grade product and surround it with professional services, including regular backup testing. Since your customers’ needs (and budgets) will vary, it’s best to create several service tiers, at different price points, with different RPOs and RTOs. Fear is probably the biggest barrier to entry, but learning how other successful MSPs structure their programs can help you overcome it.
While some MSPs may have concerns about adding backup as a service, the biggest problem is actually NOT adding it. The biggest disadvantage to not selling backup is that you're not offering a complete coverage solution, and this is extremely important when you’re looking to build a layered security offering. By not offering backup, you are quite literally inviting your competitors to sell into your customer base. And I don't mean that, figuratively, I mean that literally. You might as well just open your books, call your competitors, and walk them through line by line—at least that way you might actually have a chance of controlling the conversation.
You might think I'm joking, but I'm dead serious. You're not being competitive if you're not FULLY protecting your customers. Full protection includes things like antivirus protection and firewalls, but you also need to ensure they can recover in the event something goes wrong—and that’s all about backup.
So, if you’re not already selling data protection, then you’re not only seriously missing out on an opportunity to grow your business, you’re also putting that business at risk!
The next step in knowing HOW to sell backup, and our three-part webinar Selling Backup the Easy Way will guide you through everything you need to know to get your backup sales up and running as quickly as possible! Click on the links below to watch the full webinars.
When selling backup, it’s tempting to sell on technical specs. However, customers often buy for other reasons, like continuity, availability, operations, and ultimately, peace of mind. Find out more about what you’re actually selling when you sell data protection services.
Once you know how to position backup services based on what customers actually buy, you should focus on figuring out how to scope your services. This video talks about determining what customers’ objectives are and what you need to provide to meet those objectives.
At a certain point in your backup sales process, you have to get down to brass tacks. This webcast provides some ideas on what to think about when defining both your SLAs and pricing—including what to protect, how often you’ll back up data, and how quickly you must recover that data.
Carrie Reber is senior product marketing manager for SolarWinds MSP.
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