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Ditch the Menu of Options: Recommend the Right Backup Solution

Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk https://flic.kr/p/gmK59

There is no shortage of backup solutions available on the market today. There are solutions that back up only files and folders and solutions that back up full volumes. There are solutions that back up onsite to local storage devices and solutions that back up to the cloud. AES encryption, bandwidth throttling, file revisioning, data de-duplication, virtual recovery environments. The list of options and features goes on and on.

With so many backup solutions available, at a glance it could appear that there are multiple ways to solve a customer’s data backup problem. As a result, MSPs oftentimes make the mistake of giving their customers a menu of backup options from which to order, each one with a different set of features and, more importantly, a different price point.

Given this loaded backup menu filled with a bunch of foreign terminology and techno-jargon, take a guess at which option the customer goes with. Wait for it…yes, they choose the least expensive one.

Presented with a complicated mix of backup options, the client inevitably defaults to the one metric that is universally understood: The Almighty Dollar. To the client, everything else is equal. It is their assumption that since you, their trusted IT advisor, put the options in front of them, their data backup needs will be satisfied regardless of what solution they choose.

Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.

Picking a data backup solution is not a choice between less expensive and more expensive. It’s a choice between the right solution and the wrong solution.

Take for example the option to add offsite storage and retention to a backup plan. Doing so will inevitably add some cost to the overall backup solution, but if the client’s business sits squarely in the middle of a flood plain, offsite storage is a requirement, not an option. And, if in the name of saving some money, the client tells you that they will put the backups on an external drive each night and take them home in their briefcase, it is your job as their IT advisor to tell them in a very stern yet polite tone, “I’ve heard that before” and “No you won’t”.

Sometimes an MSP’s most important job is saving the client from themselves. At the end of the day, it’s all coming back to you if something goes wrong and their backups don’t work or aren’t available.

Knowing the price-conscious nature of many small business owners, having a conversation about improving or expanding their backup strategy can be uncomfortable if you don’t come to them with a well-thought-out plan.

To help you out, here are four simple suggestions that will help you more effectively sell robust and comprehensive backup solutions to even your most price-conscious clients:

  • Present your customer with a backup solution, not backup options. Remember, your customer hired you because they weren’t capable, or didn’t have the time, to handle their own IT needs. So why present them with a menu of options when what they really want is for you to order for them? If you give them a choice between two options the conversation will immediately shift to one about price instead of one about the level of backup coverage each option provides. If you take the time to fully assess the client’s backup needs, one (and only one) solution should be presented at the end of the assessment process. Presenting a single backup solution to the client ensures the backup conversation is direct and to the point. It’s a matter of yes or no.
  • You’re the expert. Act like it. Don’t let your customers push you around. If you determine that they require an offsite backup option, present them with a single backup solution that includes offsite backup. The offsite option should not involve the business owner throwing an external drive in their backpack when they leave at night. It’s not going to happen and you know it, so don’t set them, or yourself, up for failure. You should be able to confidently say, “I did a thorough assessment and this is my recommendation. Take it or leave it.”
  • Use a two-step process for presenting the solution to your client. Step one of the presentation process is to sit down with the client to review the plan and get approval saying that it meets their needs. Step two is when you discuss the price. Talking about dollars and cents is uncomfortable for a lot of technical folks. I’m no different. Getting signoff from the client that the solution is the right solution makes the discussion about the cost much more straightforward. The client already confirmed that the solution is what they need.

Follow these simple guidelines and you will be able to sleep easy at night knowing that your clients have the backup coverage they need to ensure seamless continuity of their business in the face of a data loss event.

EDIT: As of September 2016, Gillware Online Backup has been acquired by StorageCraft. Click here to learn more about their backup solutions. Click here to learn more about becoming a StorageCraft Partner.