How (and why) to bring your customers into the cloud

Did you know that 33% of small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) have not yet moved to the cloud?1 That means approximately 9 million SMBs2 need assistance migrating to the cloud—and you can help.

What’s in it for me?

Three out of five SMBs want a partner to provide knowledgeable advice on their business challenges.3 Not only can you increase your profits by up to 65%, but you can position yourself as a Cloud Ambassador. By doing this, you become more than a partner—you become your customers’ trusted advisor.

How do I navigate the cloud conversation?

The key is to start with empathy and end with facts. Future sales depend on how you handle these conversations, so make sure you tend to their concerns and properly address the root issue.

  1. Listen and learn. By fully understanding your customer’s pain points, you can customize your pitch with solutions that address their issues head-on, giving them personalized answers rather than cookie-cutter options.
  2. Propose the right solution. A common mistake is to jump to the full cloud proposition, which can overwhelm the customer. Break down the solution into pieces to address core concerns with minimal business disruptions, and then build a roadmap to a full cloud experience.
  3. Focus on the benefits. Convey the benefits of the cloud by highlighting advantages such as increased productivity, flexibility, and collaboration. The cloud can sound scary to someone who hasn’t used it before, so prioritize showing customers what it can do first, then tell them what it is.
  4. Lead with empathy, close with facts. Addressing your customer’s concerns empathetically and with supporting facts is incredibly important. Make sure your customer feels heard, educate them on the advantages of migrating, and reiterate that the cloud is secure and here to stay.

What challenges might I face?

Many SMBs have not migrated to the cloud due to misperceptions around cost, security, and business disruption. Below is a list of common SMB worries and how the cloud combats them.

Why cloud? Why now?

The cloud provides innovative ways SMBs can grow their business while staying nimble. Common SMB pain points such as decreased productivity, security threats, and budget limitations can all be identified and solved with a cloud solution.

SMBs use email more than any other software/app today.6 Many of your SMB customers may still be running email from on-prem servers or free online tools. Start small with products like Exchange Online or inexpensive Office 365 subscriptions, such as Office 365 Business Premium, and remind your customers of the benefits the cloud offers.

What do I need to start my practice?

Check out the resources below, and wonder ‘Why Cloud?’ no more:

In the meantime, you can find out how to go to market faster with an indirect provider. Get started now at aka.ms/indirect-providers. You can also join the US SMB Partner Insider conversation on Yammer, Twitter @SMBInsiderJoe, and LinkedIn.

1 Bredin, an SMB market research and content marketing agency
2 2018 Small Business Profile, U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy
3 Bredin, an SMB market research and content marketing agency
4 Microsoft, “Cloud Security, Privacy and Reliability Trends Study,” June 2013.
5 “The Total Economic Impact™ Of Microsoft Office 365,” a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Microsoft, November 2016
6 Bredin, an SMB market research and content marketing agency