Guest Column | April 3, 2013

Use BDR To Evolve From IT Provider To Trusted Advisor


By Mark Swendsen, VP Sales for Axcient

One common misconception of IT providers is that backup and disaster recovery (BDR) is an ancillary part of their job. It’s actually the most important. The right BDR solution not only prevents IT downtime and data loss, but can also help IT providers build strong customer relationships that will pave the way to massive profit growth.  Here’s how IT providers can offer deeper value and become trusted advisors.

#1: Think of the Hierarchy of Needs

A business owner has a hierarchy of needs when it comes to IT services. Staying up and running will always be at the top. The most successful IT providers meet this need with BDR and business continuity, guaranteeing the availability and protection of customer data and applications.

#2 Establish Credibility: Answer the Question of Today

IT providers who know the market know that the future of BDR is data analytics and intelligence, with storage and security as basic-level functions. But business customers are experts in their own fields, not in IT. They’re not thinking about the future of BDR. They’re thinking about today. And their most immediate question for you as their IT provider is, “Can you keep me running?”

No matter how right you are about the future, “security” and “storage” are still the first two words business owners associate with BDR. To show your immediate value, help them see BDR as a way to fulfill these two needs.

#3: Build Customer Trust

Build genuine customer trust through transparency. Give them a demo or a free trial. The more they see for themselves, the more they will trust you to keep them running. Then they’ll start trusting you with other parts of their business.

Before they trust you, businesses have to believe that you have their best interest at heart. Take time to familiarize yourself with how they operate, and then demonstrate that you have thought through their specific technology needs. 

#4: Add Advisor to Your Role

Once you prove your ability to keep them running, you are no longer just a provider. You’re an advisor. And as such, you’re welcomed into conversations about areas of your customer’s business that you otherwise would be excluded from. This is your chance to offer the strategic guidance around BDR.

#5: Generate High-Recurring Revenue

From this advisory position, you can demonstrate the value of a top-quality BDR solution – something that many business owners do not fully understand. Those who can best explain this value have the greatest opportunity to turn BDR into a high-recurring revenue stream.

Now you can leverage your knowledge of the BDR market. Explain to your customers that, today, backup is not enough. They need a solution that goes beyond backup; a complete business continuity solution that will not only keep them up and running, but also help them run smarter, more efficient businesses.

If you categorize BDR and business continuity solutions into three tiers of quality, the bottom level would simply backup and store data. Move up a tier and you would find low-level integration and restoration capabilities. Top tier solutions keep all data and applications safe and available from anywhere by instantly virtualizing business infrastructures. They can also integrate easily with a wide range of other business tools like CRM, PSA and email applications.

Businesses are accumulating data at an enormous rate. Technology is always changing. As this continues, the question from businesses will transition from “Can you keep me up?” to “How can you help me use all of this information and stay ahead of the technology curve?” The biggest differentiator of a top business continuity solution is the opportunity to derive analytics from the data stored to help businesses figure out what they can do to operate more efficiency. It satisfies the needs of today, while preparing their business for tomorrow.

Such a sustainable solution is a rarity in the channel. If you offer such a sustainable, differentiating solution and can effectively become an advisor, you’re in the best possible position to demonstrate the long-term value of BDR. That’s the greatest opportunity to exponentially grow your revenue.

As Axcient VP of Sales, Mark Swendsen enjoys working with channel partners to increase their recurring revenue and market reach through cloud-based BDR and business continuity.