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As an IT professional, chances are you love the cloud. And you aren’t alone. A recent study by Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) showed that about 65% of resellers across North America are selling cloud services and making good money from it.

But just because you understand the advantages of the cloud, it doesn’t mean it is a simple product to sell. Some customers have done their research and can see the benefits immediately, but what about the customers who will give you just about any cloud objections? There will always be traditionalists who are hesitant to embrace the cloud.

So what is your strategy for dealing with customers who are unwilling to take the leap? Mark them down as a missed opportunity and simply move on, hopefully on to some lower hanging fruit? Your business won’t last long if you keep doing that.

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There are a few steps that you can take to frame the conversation positively while handling their objections:

Uncover Their Pains

You have to keep in mind that for your SMB customers, moving to the cloud isn’t simple. They will see it as you asking them to change their entire business plan. This means that you can’t just talk about general advantages, you have to make direct links that relate to their individual challenges.

To do this effectively, you may need to change your selling technique. Develop a new skill set to address business decision makers directly; don’t get bogged down in technical details, show them how the cloud is the perfect solution to their business pains.

Reframe Their Expectations

Don’t avoid their objections, ask about them. Tackle them head on and use them to your advantage. Are they general objections because of a lack of understanding when it comes to implementing cloud technology? Or do they have specific problems due to preconceived ideas over costs, compliance or security? If you manage to answer their concerns and reframe their expectations, you’ll have a better chance to convert them into real clients.

Offer the Solution They Need

To begin with, you should prepare some cheat sheets, and make sure to note every question that comes your way. Add every new cloud objection you get to the list and make sure you are better prepared to answer it the next time around.

We have put together a list of some of the most common cloud objections to help you get started. Use this as a base and add to it as you go along so your customers can clearly see how your services will bring value to their business.

Cloud Objection #1:

“I can’t justify the cost of investing in cloud servers.”

The customer’s current infrastructure is aging and reaching its capacity limit. Performance and security are no longer reliable. As computer hardware becomes more obsolete, it can put a considerable strain on a company’s finances. The consequences of potentially defective equipment would be very costly. But instead of moving to the cloud, they are considering upgrading their hardware.

Identify the pain:

  • Has your IT infrastructure reached end-of-life?
  • Do your IT requirements exceed your budget forecast?
  • Do you find yourself forced to make significant investments to maintain and renew your local IT infrastructure?

Present the solution they need:

The cloud gives you access to high-end infrastructure, for a fraction of the price. Not only do you pay solely for what you use, but you also reduce the financial pressure associated with maintaining the equipment. As a result, your IT expenses go from CAPEX to OPEX. Also, with the subscription model you don’t have to make any upfront investment or pay for upgrades.

Cloud Objection #2:

“We only have a few employees working remotely and they use free file sharing services when needed.”

The productivity of mobile teams (no matter how small) can cause business owners a lot of headaches. Being able to securely share information on a variety of mobile devices is a constant concern. Real-time collaboration with external collaborators is key to business efficiency.

Identify the pain:

  • Do your employees have the right tools to collaborate from anywhere and from any device? How do you ensure your data travels securely?
  • Does your company use the Office suite? Which version(s)? Are your licences up to date?
  • What do you use as an email solution?
  • What solution do you currently use to store and manage your company documents? How do you share your documents?

Present the solution they need:

With software in the cloud, your teams can access their tools from anywhere. Sharing and collaborating both inside and outside the organization becomes simpler and a lot more secure. Moreover, with the subscription model, you don’t have to make any upfront investment or pay for upgrades.

Cloud Objection #3:

“I work with very sensitive data, and my industry has tough security compliance standards. I can’t risk a move to the cloud.”

Every business must ensure that it complies with industry specific standards. Automatic backups, versioning, granular permissions, centralized document lifecycle management and archiving are just a few examples of the essential functions of compliance.

Identify the pain:

  • What are the challenges you have with managing your documents?
  • Which regulatory body must your business comply with?
  • Are your software licences compliant?

Present the solution they need:

Cloud solutions offer a variety of features to help you manage your documents. The subscription-by-user model also ensures that your software licences are always compliant.

Microsoft has industry-leading security staff who know the latest regulations. Here are some of the regulatory bodies they monitor: HIPPA and Sarbanes-Oxley, Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), ISO 27001, European Union (EU) Model Clauses, U.S.-EU Safe Harbor framework, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and the Canadian Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

Cloud Objection #4:

“Keeping data in the cloud is less secure than on-premises.”

Lost data is a scary thought for any business. But some security solutions can be costly and some customers may feel like it is a high price to pay, when really, what are the chances they will be targeted?

Many believe they’re on top of their data protection because they religiously conduct local backups. Of course, this will not protect them against natural disasters, ransomware attacks or hardware failure.

Identify the pain:

  • Do your employees use their personal devices for work?
  • Do you use public and free collaborative services like Dropbox or Gmail?
  • Is your confidential data safe from both internal and external intrusions?
  • Is your IT infrastructure well protected in the event of a disaster?
  • Do you have a system to back up your data in a location away from your on-premises hardware?

Present the solution they need:

It isn’t just attacks or natural disasters you have to plan for. The biggest threat to business security will usually come from within your company itself, either through a genuine mistake or revenge. An employee may fall for a phishing scam or unsuspectingly download a virus to their laptop. Alternatively, they may lose access to their device; 60% of IT admins reported at least one smartphone had been either lost or stolen in the last year. A local backup will be next to useless in these cases.

Data security has grown into a full-time job that requires a team of experts. SMBs can’t handle this by themselves, and they don’t have to. You can entrust your security to a cloud solution provider, whose job it is to offer support by providing the most secure solution that is right for your business needs.

Protect your data in the cloud with passwords, prohibit the installation of certain applications and even delete data remotely. The cloud provides the ability to fully restore business data and ensure fast business recovery.

Cloud Objection #5:

“Cloud migration in one go is too much for my business to handle at the moment. My business may suffer if I make the move now.”

Even though the customer sees the benefits of cloud, and understands that they will have to make the move eventually, the jump they need to make seems insurmountable. There never seems to be the right moment to transition. They rely on legacy software to run their business and they worry about integrating cloud apps with them.

Identify the pain:

  • How much time to you estimate your employees are losing in productivity to legacy apps?
  • In a hybrid approach, which application could easily be moved to the cloud as a starting point?

Present the solution they need:

No one really advocates the idea of fork-lifting an entire enterprise to the cloud over a weekend. Most implementations start with a hybrid approach, moving a single application at a time. It isn’t an all or nothing approach, just because some legacy apps aren’t cloud based doesn’t mean that the rest of your company has to avoid cloud computing.

Could Use a Little Help with Handling Cloud Objections?

Download our free customizable Cloud Maturity Assessment (.pptx format) that you can brand as your own and use to lead the cloud discussion with your potential customers.

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From Objections to Solutions

Many companies have chosen to dip their toe in the cloud by moving their productivity workloads to the cloud and seeing where they go from there. This is a great way for MSPs to get their foot in the door; offer a few simple solutions, such as email, and show the customer the benefits of cloud computing without overwhelming them with too many changes all in one go.

When selling cloud computing, you don’t need to re-invent the wheel. You may need to hone your sales skills, but the key to success is explaining everything completely and confidently in a way that will get these hesitant businesses over the hump. Discuss their cloud objections, listen to their concerns, and then match those concerns to solutions that will alleviate the pains.

 

Written by Sophie Furnival Marketing Communications Manager @ Sherweb

Sophie leads a team of expert marketers in charge of building Sherweb’s brand awareness. Responsible for activities such as email marketing, social media and driving organic web traffic, her role is critical to ensuring Sherweb is recognized and respected by prospects, partners, competitors and other stakeholders. Sophie has extensive experience working in journalism and corporate communications for different industries, including science, technology and the non-profit sector. When she’s not championing SherWeb’s brand, Sophie enjoys diving, cooking and watching The Office.