The changes that took place during the past couple of years have been radical and have set the scene for the new way of doing things with information technology. Digital transformation in the last couple of years has been the focus of most companies so they could cope, adjust in this new pandemic environment and continue to operate and make profit. As these new norms become established, it is expected that this growth will slow in pace. Will it though? It is predicted that 80% Of Enterprise IT will move to the Cloud By 2025 (source:Oracle BrandVoice: Prediction: 80% Of Enterprise IT Will Move To The Cloud By 2025). Information technology is advancing and allows for more business success. More importantly, it has set a pace towards the future which, metaphorically, swallows time galloping forward to deliver more and more to businesses. According to Forrester , companies will use technology to dance and spar with marketplaces. With a 48% of companies expected to move to the cloud in 2022 alone, we can only anticipate that the demand will remain high, and growth will continue. So, now is the time for your customers to move to the cloud. But how prepared are they and how can you persuade them to transition to the cloud?
Understand your customers’ needs
The first thing to expect in your meeting with your customer is hesitation. They may not be sure this model will be suitable for them, safe, dependable. Listening and examining their needs, from productivity to backup to security and explaining the benefits of cloud migration might not be enough. Cost concerns as well as resistance to change might hinder the venture. In this case, a gradual migration might suit. You can propose one solution for one specific problem, for example email migration initially and then slowly suggest more. This hybrid approach ensures a smoother transition and a happier customer that is not overwhelmed by tech they struggle to understand.
Present all the risks of using a legacy system.
Is your customer running outdated IT infrastructure, which likely includes an outdated operating system? If so, it is vital that you explain the risks associated with that. Your customer should become aware security vulnerabilities are being widely exploited. Reports from 2021 show that only 20% of companies reported that they didn’t get attacked — as opposed to 32% the previous year, as attacks are increasing in frequency. In fact, damages from ransomware are expected to be more than $20 billion U.S. by the end of 2021. And, according to Cybersecurity Magazine – 43% of all data breaches affect small and medium-sized businesses. For your customers to protect their workloads they need strong cybersecurity solutions.
Furthermore, an outdated system can violate compliance regulations. This could be particularly damaging for a small business customers operating in the healthcare, financial, or legal services industries. Once your customer understands these crucial parameters, they will want to protect their business by implementing solutions that will solve these issues for them. They want to protect their business and you are there to help them.
Explain why information security is the #1 priority
Cybersecurity attacks are rising in volumes and sophistication, and a shortage of skills means that many companies are struggling to manage security in-house. Every year there are a trillion new viruses introduced and this trend can only be expected to continue. Cybersecurity is vital for all verticals. Reports show that all industries are faced with this challenge which is evolving more and more.
In 2020, Marriott disclosed a security breach impacted the data of more than 5.2 million hotel guests (source → Marriott International Notifies Guests of Property System Incident)
In 2016, Uber reported that hackers stole the information of over 57 million riders and drivers. (source → 2016 Data Security Incident | Uber Newsroom)
The financial services industry takes in the highest cost from cybercrime at an average of $18.3 million per company surveyed. (source → Accenture | Security Solutions )
As in the comic books, the stronger the hero (security software) the stronger the villain (cyberattacks). And security needs to always rise above the threat. Most businesses work with sensitive and confidential data, so security is one of the top concerns that clients have with cloud transformation. Your customer might fear a higher security risk should they move their operation to the cloud. They might even have specific high compliance standards that are a cause of worry. Security measures in an on-premise environment largely involve using the right tools and maintaining up-to-date and breach-proof software which is time consuming. But with the cloud, it is the service provider’s responsibility to manage updating software and hardware, giving clients enough time to focus on other important areas of their business.
Showcase the cost of hardware failure
Another risk to consider is hardware failure and the associated costs of maintaining or replacing it. Remote work has increased the average cost of a data breach by $137,000. (source → Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021 ) Hardware is costly and, should there be any issue, it costs not only in monetary value but also in time as there will be unavoidable downtime for maintenance in such a case. Ask your customer if they can calculate that cost and if they have taken all these cost factors into account. In the case that they have not experienced one yet, you can help them and include service cost, equipment, and time, and compare it against cloud backup and the fast bounce back it provides.
Highlight the cost reduction of moving to the cloud
Like in any business, your customer wants the most cost-effective solution. They want to avoid spending too much and the impact this might have. A quite common reason small businesses are hesitant to move to the cloud is the perceived cost they believe their business cannot handle. But this is a truly subjective concern; with cloud applications we provide a subscription-based model, a manageable and – very important – predictable ongoing cost rather than a large up-front investment. This will allow your customer to forecast their spending and have control over their flow.
Review their needs, highlight what their transition will look like and how cost-efficient the overall transition will be
Explain how their productivity will increase
How does your customer operate? How many employees work remotely? Is there more than one location and perhaps the owner splits time between them? Remote workers or mobile workers, like salespeople, have access to corporate information and can stay equally or more productive with cloud applications, when they are not in the office. Cloud computing gives more capabilities to the worker, allowing them to work from anywhere with the same level of productivity, using any device, thus providing a better customer experience which is crucial for any business. Plus, it is safe: a cloud solution encrypts and safeguards the customers’ data while it is stored offsite. People can work on their mobile devices and deliver high-quality results fast and fuss-free.
Support and educate your customer
Does your customer really know the benefits of moving to the cloud? Do they perhaps have any misconceptions about cloud transformations that hinder their growth? Take the time to provide consultation and support and begin educating them. Explain the numerous benefits of cloud services, such as a virtually unlimited storage space, additional security, constant maintenance, and disaster recovery options. Explain how much time will be saved and channeled towards productivity, making everyone’s work better, faster, easier. Explain the difference in service, in comparison to in-house hardware options, and show how your customer will benefit.
Get started with the right customers
Some customers are proactive and already have a good understanding of the benefits of cloud transformation. They want to grow their business and see the value of managed IT services. They want to improve their productivity and understand that cloud transformation will help them reduce any downtime. These customers present a strong selling opportunity and can set the example for the more hesitant ones. The latter do not fully understand the benefits or are just looking for someone to fix their technical issues whenever they present themselves, are the customers to whom it is best to introduce a hybrid, onboarding step by step model, like the hybrid mentioned above. Your overall goal will remain to convince them they need proactive services, and the hybrid model will allow them to buy from you easily and evolve with time.
Prepare a successful presentation
Change requires inspiration, and your pitch should be inspiring. The customer needs to feel understood; they need to feel trust to open up. Adjusting your approach to their individual concerns will help a lot, especially if the customer is hesitant and does not understand how cloud transformation will benefit their business. Here is where to put your relationship-building strategies to good use.
Tailor to your audience: it is good practice to research their company and present your solutions in the way they fit the customers’ business. Make them feel that the change adapts to them, not the other way around. What are their pain points? What are the problems they are experiencing? They will want a full presentation of your services, and it is a good idea to match this presentation to them and their needs. If they have objections, respond concretely to them, educate them, dispel any misconceptions and you are on your way to onboarding them.
You will be enabling digital transformation for a company. You are more than a cloud vendor. You are a partner, a trusted advisor. Once you understand that, so will your customers.