Cloud Computing Benefits For SMBs – A Sales Guide For IT Providers
This is the third section of our Comprehensive Sales Guide, How to Sell Cloud Computing Services, which is designed to help you sell cloud services to your clients and prospects. In the previous section, Cloud Computing Examples and Analogies, we explored some techniques that can help you to convey the principles of the cloud without using technical jargon and acronyms.
This sales guide reviews the most relevant cloud computing benefits for start-ups, small businesses and larger publicly traded enterprises. After reading this guide, you’ll be better prepared to explain how cloud services benefit your prospective client based on the size of that client’s business. By communicating the most relevant benefits that the cloud offers to each of your sale prospects, you’ll be better equipped to approach prospective clients and close new business.
- Enabling Start-Ups & Entrepreneurs to Open Shop
- Providing Agility to Small Business & SMBs
- Improving Security & Forecasting for the Enterprise
- Identifying Universal Benefits of Cloud Services
- Becoming a Cloud Reseller
1. Enabling Start-Ups & Entrepreneurs to Open Shop
The cloud provides start-ups with the same hardware and software technologies that are enjoyed by enterprises, without the upfront capital expenses that virtually all new start-ups are unable to shoulder. The cloud’s metered-service pricing model enables start-ups to open shop and enter markets that would have otherwise been off limits. Here are a few benefits that are especially relevant to start-ups.
- Reduced Upfront IT Expenditures: A start-up’s budget is typically extremely limited, often sourced from the founder’s personal reserves, and designed to support innovation and growth, not upfront capital expenditures. As a services provider, you’ll find start-ups are extremely receptive to the cloud because there may be no other feasible alternative to deploying IT resources. It’s entirely possible that the potential start-up you are pitching to would be unable to open shop without cloud computing’s pricing model.
- Acquisition of Enterprise-Level Software: Start-ups have historically been faced with the prohibitive cost of acquiring industry-standard software solutions (e.g., Adobe Photoshop). Prior to the introduction of products like Adobe’s Creative Cloud, many design professionals were unable to acquire the tools needed to hone their skills outside of the office. The cloud’s pay-as-you-go pricing model requires affordable monthly payments and makes it possible for the smallest one-person shop to utilize enterprise-level software and communications capabilities with products like Microsoft Office 365 and Adobe’s Creative Cloud.
- Anywhere Access: With the cloud, employees can work from home or from anywhere they have an Internet connection, any time of the day or night. This is an extremely important benefit to communicate to a potential start-up because it means that their partners, contractors, and freelancers can work from their home offices while the start-up builds the client base necessary to justify moving into an office space. This benefit also reduces the need for costly furniture and other physical-space requirements.
Keep in mind that start-ups will primarily benefit from reduced upfront expenditures as opposed to things like tiered security and forecasting improvements.
2. Providing Agility to Small Business & SMBs
Not to be confused with a start-up, small- and medium-sized business have their own unique sets of needs that cloud services can address. The key cloud computing benefits that you, as a cloud-services provider, should communicate relate to business agility. These improvements in business agility are accomplished via implementing managed IT services that free up valuable time and lead to employee productivity. Reducing capital expenses is another key benefit for small businesses because upfront IT expenditures can be reallocated for the generating of activities such as marketing and sales.
- Managed IT Services: SMBs may not have the resources to retain an in-house IT team or dedicated IT staff member. Cloud computing allows small businesses to outsource their IT needs while maintaining remote off-site monitoring and top-notch maintenance. They won’t need to pay internal staff to monitor hardware or software as the managed service provider offers that value as part of a migration to the cloud. As an added benefit, the cost of outsourcing is generally less expensive than it is to hire a single in-house IT professional.
- Company Productivity: With cloud computing, small-business employees have more time to focus on revenue-generating projects that contribute to long-term growth, instead of handling ad-hoc IT issues. Dealing with ongoing IT issues can be so distracting that many companies have migrated to the cloud for the sole purpose of avoiding the lengthy process of troubleshooting technology. AwesomeCloud recently completed a cloud computing case study with one of our partners, BCG Systems; with the assistance of AwesomeCloud, BCG Systems leveraged a full cloud-based solution that enables one of their Georgia-based clients to spend far more time on strategic issues and less time dealing with technology.
- Reduced Capital Expenditures: Most SMBs can’t afford large, upfront IT investments. If they can shoulder an upfront capital expense, it’s generally followed by cuts in revenue-generating activities, like sales and marketing. While not entirely cost prohibitive for some SMBs as it is with virtually every start-up, communicating the benefits of redistributing budgets to revenue-generating activities is invaluable.
On the whole, small- and medium-sized businesses are most in tune with the agility and productivity benefits that the cloud can offer, as well as the redistribution of upfront IT expenses into revenue-generating activities.
3. Improving Security & Forecasting for the Enterprise
Larger businesses and enterprises are often in very different financial situations when compared to SMBs, so their individual cloud computing benefits are quite different. In view of their steady cash flows and established budgets, pitching cost-savings to an enterprise may not be as effective as showcasing benefits such as forecasting and security improvements. To complicate matters, enterprise decision makers may be more sensitive to the fallout from data-security issues than to the reduction of their IT budgets.
- Budget Forecasting: Enterprises, especially publicly owned enterprises, are concerned with accurately forecasting future expenses for quarterly projections. The cloud enables even the largest organization to more accurately forecast their expenses and manage the collective expectations of their shareholders with metered services. If you’re courting a publicly traded company and you have the good fortune of meeting with members of the finance team, we encourage you to make forecasting part of your pitch. Winning the support of a finance professional is a rare opportunity.
- Enterprise-Level Security: Enterprises require the highest levels of business continuity and data security. Don’t be surprised if an enterprise is hesitant to migrate to the cloud due to perceived security issues. Fortunately, cloud computing is actually more secure than on-site IT solutions; however, your audience is likely to be skeptical. Be prepared to mention that the largest healthcare providers and government agencies rely on the cloud. Our data center, the NAP of the Americas, enables each of our partners to offer cloud services that provide peace of mind due to their full compliance with federal regulations such as HIPAA and PHI.
- Executive Productivity: C-Level members (CIO, CEO, CFO), who need to work remotely and securely, can do so from anywhere and at any time after migrating to the cloud. With the latest security solutions, the C-Level can remotely access sensitive data and increase their organization’s overall productivity, profitability and competitiveness.
If you’re courting a larger business, we highly recommend focusing on the qualitative cloud computing benefits, such as forecasting and security, instead of pushing ahead with a generic ROI presentation. The liability associated with a less-than-optimal security plan far outweighs the cost-savings that you can deliver.
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4. Identifying Universal Benefits of Cloud Services
While key cloud computing benefits vary based on the size of the business you’re courting, there are universal benefits—such as availability, flexibility, and performance—that you can mention when you’re attempting to win over a prospective client.
- Availability: With purpose-built data centers, your clients will always have secure access to their files. This provides business owners with the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing their teams will always have access to their data, even in the event of a natural disaster. The cloud is especially helpful when employees are working from different locations or for those who travel—they can work securely and access software and files from any location at any time as long as they have a computer device and an Internet connection.
- Scalability: Cloud computing offers businesses of all sizes the ability to adapt to the ebbs and flows of seasonal demands. Businesses can quickly add users, applications or storage, and they can run applications both locally or on a global scale with less time-and-money investment than doing so with on-site servers and software. This is especially helpful for businesses operating in construction, retail, or real estate, where demand often fluctuates seasonally.
- Increased Storage and Speed: The enormous computing and storage resources in the cloud are invaluable for professionals who work with large data sets and need to transfer that data securely. The days of sending data through email or traditional mail are fading away as the cloud provides the ability to quickly and securely store and transfer large data sets.
5. Becoming a Cloud Reseller
Just as information technology has increased the productivity and efficiency for businesses today over the last several decades, cloud computing is now doing the same, but at an exponential pace, as illustrated in our cloud computing infographic. Once a business is introduced to, understands, and starts using cloud services, they’ll begin to realize any number of the benefits that we’ve reviewed.
The growth of cloud computing offers you a tremendous opportunity to generate recurring revenue by offering cloud services as part of your product line. For more information about becoming a part of our Cloud Reseller Program, please email Cara Pluff, our Director of Sales, or complete a brief online form.
We hope that the above guide to identifying key cloud computing benefits for businesses of all sizes was helpful.