Selling Small Business Owners on the Value of Backup and Disaster Recovery

Posted by Ben Austin on Dec 3, 2015 9:30:00 AM


For hosting providers, bringing a new product or service into your portfolio can be an exciting new challenge or a horribly daunting task. It's an opportunity to improve the overall satisfaction of existing customers, a chance to differentiate yourselves from competitors in the eyes of prospective customers, and - probably most importantly - a great way to add a new revenue stream and grow your bottom line.

One of the most common ways that providers are currently trying to expand their portfolios is by adding a backup and disaster recovery solution into the mix. More and more we're seeing hosting providers that are upselling their customers with packages that include BDR, rather than just throwing it in as a free add-on. 

And while it absolutely makes sense to include backup as a paid service, you're not going to be able to differentiate yourself simply by throwing the service into your package and hoping that customers automatically see the value. Whether it's a dedicated page on your website, a cross-sell email, or on a phone call with a new customer, you've got to be able to educate your audience on the actual value of a backup service. You've got to put in some effort to prove to them that backup is not only a worthy investment, but a must-have for the future of their business.

So how do you position your BDR offering in a way that gets it flying off your figurative shelves? Here are a few strategic tips from our own sales team that can help your organization be more successful in your BDR sales and marketing efforts.


Position it as Peace of Mind

Let's be honest with ourselves, FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) can be a very powerful strategy for selling backup products. It's probably the most common tactic for selling BDR, which is likely because it also happens to be the simplest tactic.

In case you've never heard of it, this FUD-style sales technique involves gently reminding your customers about a few scary, undeniable truths:

It's simple. It's straight forward. It triggers powerful emotions. That said, some customers may not buy into the negative tone that comes with FUD. They may just say, "well... that all might be true, but I'll risk it for now and reconsider it later." And why do people have that reaction? Because rather than solving a problem for them, you're really just giving them a new problem to worry about. From a business sense, it may be more expensive and time consuming for them to solve that new problem, so they simply try to ignore it.

This is why it is also crucial that you're able to position your backup offering in a more positive light. Rather than focusing on all of the doom and gloom that comes with an outage, sell them on the peace-of-mind of never needing to consider it. 

Explain to them that making an investment in a backup provider is an easy way of taking some weight off of their own shoulders and putting it on someone else's. Position it as an easy way for them to remove one of the hundreds of worries that comes with running a small business. Sell them on the idea that it's an insurance policy for their most valuable assets. If nothing else, it should allow them to focus their efforts on revenue-driving activities instead of worrying about how and when the next failure will occur. 


Educate them with Statistics

End-user education is a slightly more complicated, but often more powerful, technique than relying entirely on FUD. The truth is that many of your customers really won't understand the impact of an outage until it's too late. And when talking with business owners, anecdotal disaster scenarios can only go so far. Having some hard stats on hand can really help get your point across - especially for number-crunching, budget-conscious SMBs.

Again, there are a lot of industry stats out there to drive home the FUD if that's the route you want to take. If that's the case, you absolutely must make sure that your statistics have credible sources and are at least somewhat timely. Whether you're talking to an old-school business owner or young webmaster, we're at the point where just about anyone can Google a statistic in a matter of minutes to figure out whether or not it's junk. If you are relying on sloppy or outdated statistics, you're going to completely lose their trust and their business.

What's even better than educating your customers with industry statistics is educating them with your own, original data. Dig into the information you have available within your own customer base and use that to your advantage. Depending on how they look within your own customer base, a few extremely valuable stats could be:

  • Percentage of your customers that are using some form of backup (assuming it's at least 50%)
  • Total number of customers that rely on you as their backup provider
  • Number of restores that you've done over the course of the year
  • Amount of data that your customers would have lost if they had not backed up regularly

There are plenty more figures just like those that make it extremely difficult for your prospects or existing customers to turn away. The trick is finding out which statistics look best for your own organization, and figuring out how to best position them for your audience. 

Don't have any original data that you can use? Not a problem. Try reaching out to your backup vendor or partner to see if they have end user statistics that could be re-purposed for your own sales team.


Emphasize Business Benefits Over Technical Features

This is something that is under-utilized across the hosting industry. While it may be easiest for us to think about the technical features that come with one tool or another, that's not necessarily the best way for your end-customer to relate to a backup solution. They care less about the tech specs that make up the product and more about how your backup offering will make their lives easier

This might seem like minor semantics, but it's more important than that. You're going to see more success if you talk about how often you back up their data or how secure the data is, rather than explaining the technical back-end details that make it possible.

And just to clarify: This isn't about dumbing anything down. By all means, if you have customers that ask for more technical information you should be prepared to talk shop with them. This tactic is more about messaging the backup in language that business owners will understand and easily relate to. It's about understanding the pain points that they have at their business and solving those problems for them. 


Offer Flexible Packaging

Along with speaking their language, it's important to make it easy for SMBs to consume your products or services. Rigid, long-term contracts can be extremely difficult for small businesses with tight IT budgets to agree to.

For the same reason that public cloud options generally appeal more to small businesses, it's beneficial if you can offer consumption-based, flexible packages whenever possible. Sure, you may not see as much money up-front, but you're much more likely to see more revenue throughout the duration of your relationship with that customer.

Here are a few simple examples of how providers can position or package a backup solution to make it much more palatable for small business owners:

  • Bundling with other services
  • Charge for restores
  • Charge for amount of storage used
  • Charge for standalone backup service
  • Include agent free with service for first 60 days and bill for after, etc…


Do you have other techniques for marketing and selling backup services? Have you seen a major increase in BDR revenue by positioning it in a way we didn't mention above? Let us hear about it by commenting below!


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