By Jay McCall, originally seen on Ingram CloudTalk
As a managed services provider, you have a lot of choices when it comes to selecting your IT vendor partners — especially in the cloud backup space. The reality is, however, the solution you select won’t often be what ultimately sets you apart from your competitors. More often than not, what separates one IT solution provider from another is the customer’s perception of one provider over another.
If you think about it, it’s not a whole lot different from the way most of us shop for food or general merchandise. Out of all the big box retailers, for example, you probably shop at one more than the others. What is it about that one that you like better? It’s probably not cheaper prices that brings you back to that retailer’s store; rather, it’s more likely something less concrete such as a nicer atmosphere and/or a more helpful/knowledgeable staff.
The real question is how can you give your company that kind of advantage over your competitors? One way is to help customers see your company as having a little more expertise than your competitors. Here’s a specific example I want to share to better illustrate this point. When it comes to having a conversation about disaster recovery, be willing to engage with your customer on topics beyond just backing up and recovering data from the cloud. For example, did you know there are fire suppression products available that can be used in a data center that will put out a fire without water, which would preserve your customer’s servers in the event of a fire? Are your customers currently using, or do they plan to install these kinds of fire suppression devices? Sure, their data is safe in the cloud, but wouldn’t it be nice if they were at least aware of something that could preserve their servers and possibly save them from having to recover their data onto new servers?
Here’s a really good article on data center fire suppression tips that I highly recommend you check out. Start thinking about how information like this could be used to boost a customer’s perception of you as a disaster recovery expert who’s a little better than other IT companies that are also vying for their attention. Even if installing fire alarms and sprinkler systems is too far outside your wheelhouse, just being willing to bring this information to your customer’s attention can be enough to give you an edge over your disaster recovery competitors — and win more business.