Last week’s observance of World Backup Day got me thinking about the vast amount of data that is being generated across the globe every single day. At each individual company, whether it’s a tech giant or a small e-commerce site, all of this data is the fuel that spurs growth and keeps the lights on week after week. Regardless of its size, protecting the data that is generated online should be of the utmost importance for any business with an online presence.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Realistically, World Backup Day isn’t likely to bring about the same level of boyish enthusiasm in a small business owner as it does throughout the office of a service provider. Still, that shouldn't minimize the importance that backup and disaster recovery plays in our world. It’s just not front of mind in the daily life of the average business owner.
Hosting providers are uniquely positioned to bridge this gap by explaining the importance of backup to their customers – that is, the same business owners who otherwise would only hear about disaster recovery from a national news station. Because of this unique position, it’s important that hosting providers who are thinking about offering a backup solution must first nail down a solid strategy for marketing and selling it.
Whether you’re an established hosting provider looking to re-build your backup strategy or a smaller provider that is just starting to dip your toes into the BDR game, here are some key steps to take when building out your backup sales and marketing strategy from the ground floor.
1. Assess Your Target Audience
The art of selling BDR, much like selling anything, starts with a thorough assessment of the needs of your client-base. Of course, there’s no one-size fits all strategy, but you can at least get a general outline prepared if you know your target audience.
It’s crucial that you fully assess all of the needs of your clients. A few items that you may want to include in your initial assessment may be:
- What might their existing environments and policies look like?
- What data retention requirements might they need to meet?
- What security or encryption requirements will they be looking for?
- In what other ways could this backup solution improve upon their situation?
Once you’ve gotten a few of those broader questions answered, you’ll really want to dive into the specific needs and wants of your clients. How much control are they looking to have? Do they want to manage their own backup server, or are they looking for a completely hands-free hosted backup solution? How much configuring and customization are they going to want to have?
These are important factors to look at as you pull together different offerings and packages for your clients to choose from.
2. Optimize the Offering
Once you’ve got a full understanding of client needs, it’s time to make a case for them to actually purchase your BDR services. Start by nailing down and strongly communicating the value proposition of your backup solution, which can generally be done through the marketing content on your website. Make sure to drive home the full value of your backup offering, which should include any support or expertise your organization can provide to potentially less technical clients.
You can also drive demand with the way you decide you package your offering. Is it included as a bundle with your other services, or is it sold as solution by itself? If you’re selling backup separately, how will you break up the packages? Is it by feature set? Is it by the amount of storage? Are you reselling multiple, completely different solutions? Consider what packaging style makes the most sense for you and your customers, and make sure you are accurately aligning the pricing of each package with your messaging around your value proposition.
Another way to sweeten the deal and gain your customers’ trust is to back up your own promises with a proper service level agreement. SLAs can go a long way in terms of setting expectations and showing your customers that you’re serious about protecting their data, and that you have faith in the service you’re providing. While you (obviously) never want to promise something that your solution simply cannot deliver, a few items that are generally included in SLAs are:
- Recovery Time Objective (RTO): a measure of how quickly protected assets can be found, accessed, and retrieved
- Recovery Point Objective (RPO): the time in which the service provider should be able to recover or roll back systems
- Recovery Granularity Objective (RGO): the level of detailed storage architecture recovery by file, block and transaction level.
3. Define your go-to-market strategy
First impressions are everything. Especially in an industry that is so focused on trust and reliability, your first foray into the backup and disaster recovery space is critical to future success. To maximize your chances of success, you can’t just throw your new offering up on your website, kick off a massive advertising campaign and cross your fingers. Take the time to set up and follow a structured go-to-market strategy program.
Start by launching a small, manageable number of BDR offerings. Much like a big restaurant on opening night, starting at a manageable pace gives you an opportunity to focus on customer segments and gain experience from repeatable implementations. Starting off too broad could overtax support resources and tarnish your brand from the very beginning.
When you do get those early adopters on board, make sure you listen to them as often as possible. Consume as much useful knowledge and feedback from them as you possibly can, and use that information to your advantage as you grow. Listen to their complaints, understand where they see the most value, and carve out the next steps in your operation.
Finally, make sure you define what success looks like for the backup solution that you’re selling. Set competitive but achievable goals on both the sales and marketing side, and track the results to determine how much revenue you should realistically be able to expect from your solution and whether or not it can sustain itself within your business.
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