With the improvements in the US economy, businesses – especially small businesses – feel more confident to put technology to work for them. Gaining this competitive advantage is why SMBs are looking to spend more money on IT.
According to the 2015 State of Small Business Report, 38% of SMBs are planning on increasing their IT investments in 2015, and replacing computer hardware remains a top priority for most companies.
These SMBs want to move to the cloud; however, many of them need guidance and are afraid of making costly mistakes. They need cloud facilitators, a term originally coined by IT consultants in the enterprise space, to help get them there. So how do you become a cloud facilitator?
Here are three easy steps:
1. Decide on a cloud platform:
SMBs want the cloud to be easy. They don't want to have to remember multiple usernames and passwords, multiple site addresses, or multiple anything. They want to focus on one thing: getting their work done.
Because of this, you are going to want to introduce your SMBs to a cloud platform that "houses" all of their apps. The platform needs to provide users with a basic infrastructure for using the cloud, like having a link to each cloud app, single sign-on between the apps, and some degree of central user management across apps.
This way it's easy for your SMBs to dive right in without missing a step. Apps like InfoStreet's SkyDesktop, Google Apps for Business, and SalesForce each bring a different type of cloud platform to the table.
2. Get your partnerships in line
Now that you have picked a platform, you'll want to get partnerships in place to maximize the apps you can offer inside that platform.
Some platforms, like InfoStreet's SkyDesktop, will come with pre-made partnerships ready for you to take advantage of. Others, like Google Apps for Business, have data partnerships with tons of other apps.
Keep in mind, you may still have to work out a financial relationship with each partner on your own. The platform you choose really just depends on what the best option is for your company.
3. Stop pitching products and start pitching solutions
Many salespeople are used to having a single product that they pitch, listening to their clients, and offering specifics on how that particular product meets the clients' needs. This sales approach worked when the world did not offer so many choices.
Today, for every single product in the market, there are more than a dozen products that pose as competition. It is best that you leverage the support that you receive from a cloud platform in your back pocket. This provides your clients with choices and the guarantee you are the one delivering the solution, as opposed to the traditional method of losing a sale due to one or two app features that you do not support.
Any one of the cloud platforms mentioned above has no less than 50 apps that you can pick and choose from in order to meet your client's needs. You are no longer pitching one product; you are listening to the client and then pitching a complete solution that you have cherry picked from the plethora of apps you have to choose from.
Following these 3 basic steps will make you an instant cloud facilitator. I look forward to see more MSPs moving companies to the cloud.
- Keyon Thomas is the Marketing Director and Partner Manager at InfoStreet, Inc.
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