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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreement (SLA)

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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

SLAs are the foundation of your MSP business. They are essential to building strong client relationships and must be clear, reasonable and well-constructed.

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Marketing and Selling Business Continuity: How to Prove Value

Posted June 9, 2016by Brandon Garcin

Marketing and Selling Business Continuity: How MSPs Can Demonstrate ValueFor organizations across nearly all industries, data is one of today’s most valuable business assets. Businesses and consumers demand 24x7 access to information and applications, regulatory restrictions around data retention are becoming increasingly strict, and the potential risks and penalties associated with any data loss can be severe. The need for effective backup and business continuity planning—particularly in the SMB space—is clear; but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for MSPs to actually sell these services to small businesses.

BDR sales can be difficult, and the technology doesn’t sell itself; without an effective value proposition and marketing strategy, it can be difficult for solution providers to break ground in the market. When bringing a BDR offering to potential customers, there are a number of important things to keep in mind:

Sell Value – Not Tech Specs

Chances are, your clients aren’t too interested in blocks, files, deltas and the inner-workings of your backup technology – they just want to know whether or not it works. When marketing BDR, it’s important not to get bogged down in tech specs or features. Disaster recovery as a service is about providing peace of mind, and that’s the mindset you’ll want to have when building content, messaging and talking points. Everyone understands the headaches associated with data loss, whether they’ve experienced an entire site outage or lost the latest version of an important presentation. Present your solution as a way to never experience these problems again and to eliminate downtime should disaster strike.

 

Conduct Thorough Assessments

Like any outsourced IT offering, assessing a potential client’s network, infrastructure and existing backup strategy are essential components in a good BDR sales process. Take the time to learn which systems are most important to a given business, what existing backup technologies (if any) are in place, and how they’ve dealt with previous disruptions or data loss incidents. By capturing and formalizing this information in a business risk or impact assessment, MSPs can build a strong case for outsourced BDR that helps demonstrate expertise as well as the value of the offering.

 

Develop Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

SLAs are a key component of effective BDR. Customers want to know how quickly they can expect to recover in the event of an outage or unplanned downtime, and different businesses and industries have significant variation in things like Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO) which establish how quickly data must be recovered and how far back in time information lives that must be restored. Having these guarantees in place helps justify the cost of a BDR service offering, and helps provide prospects with added peace of mind that they’re not leaving recovery to chance when the time comes.

 

Identify Your Ideal Opportunities

Existing customers are likely the lowest-hanging fruit when bringing a new BDR offering to market, as they’re already purchasing some level of support or service and already know your organization and brand. You also have the added benefit of knowing what their infrastructure looks like, whether they’re backing up data in-house or partnering with a competing provider, and can more easily develop an effective sales pitch to upsell them on your continuity offering. When looking for net new customers, consider targeting a specialized industry or vertical with strict compliance or regulatory restrictions such as healthcare or finance. These organizations can face severe penalties for small data backup, retention or storage violations, and they’re willing to pay a premium price for the right solution.

Note: Once you’ve identified some potential BDR customers, a great way to demonstrate the value of your offering is to help them calculate the cost of downtime at their business. This post contains some background and a helpful formula you can use to do just that.  

 

Conclusion

The need for effective backup and business continuity planning has never been greater, yet many SMBs are hesitant to purchase BDR solutions from MSPs and service providers. Some don’t appreciate the need for true business continuity technology, others think that their existing in-house policies are sufficient, and some have difficulty justifying the cost.

For MSPs, the challenge lies in crafting the right marketing and sales messaging to not only effectively explain the need for such technologies in today’s business environment, but to demonstrate the risks and potential costs associated with data loss—and convince prospects that their solution expertise and hands-on management of these solutions more than justifies their cost. With the right mindset, language, content and conversations, providers can attract and win BDR deals and yield some impressive margins.

 

For more information about BDR sales strategies and tactics, check out our white paper Three Steps to BDR Sales Success!

Three-Steps-to-BDR-Success-White-Paper

Brandon Garcin is Continuum's Senior Content Strategist, and is responsible for the creation and execution of a variety of resources designed to win new business and support existing customer accounts. He has authored more than a dozen eBooks which have generated thousands of downloads, and has consulted with hundreds of Continuum partners to help improve their marketing and lead generation efforts through website optimization and content development. Brandon is also the host of The Weekly Byte, a video and audio series produced by Continuum that provides quick, digestible tips and best practices that MSPs can use to help their business succeed.

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