The day before our interview, Mike Bloomfield, President Geek of Tekie Geek, signed on a new client, the victim of a ransomware attack. The client’s business lost six servers and 16 workstations. “If they had a business continuity solution in place, it’s true that it would have taken work to get it back up, but they wouldn’t have lost anything,” he says.
That scenario could have taken place in any business, in any vertical market.
Where Vertical Markets Come Into Play with Business Continuity Sales
Bloomfield, a member of The ASCII Group whose business is based in Staten Island, New York, says although every business and organization needs a business continuity (BC) plan and the technology solutions to support it, MSPs can take a vertical approach to business continuity sales and marketing by monitoring regulations that apply to specific industries.
For example, HIPAA spells out requirements for a healthcare provider’s business continuity plan, and the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) requires the insurers and other organizations it regulates to execute business continuity and disaster response plans. “Watching changes in regulations and compliance requirements is a great way to find and target opportunities,” Bloomfield says. “Businesses want to comply, and they need business continuity solutions to do it.”
What an MSP Can Offer That an In-House IT Guy Can’t
Bloomfield points out that sometimes businesses attempt to manage BC on their own, and the responsibility falls to in-house IT resources. The downside to this strategy, however, is the variability in in-house resources’ expertise and bandwidth. Smaller organizations sometimes rely on IT resources with informal training or who are stretched too thin to adequately address BC. On the other hand, large businesses and enterprises may hire full-time resources whose expertise includes business continuity, but, with the cyclical nature of IT work, these employees are sometimes overworked — and sometimes idle. Managed services providers (MSPs), however, can provide comprehensive business continuity solutions and services more cost-effectively.
“It’s my job to know the best of what’s out there, to keep up with the latest technologies and offer those solutions,” Bloomfield says. “In-house IT resources understand the need, but they often don’t have the time or expertise to research and implement the best solutions.”
Protecting All of Your Clients
Bloomfield stresses, though, that MSPs need to ensure their offerings are comprehensives business continuity solutions — not just backup solutions. “If you’re only backing up data, you aren’t protecting your clients, and you’re doing them a disservice,” he says.
Bloomfield adds that the business continuity solution vendor partner you choose can have a big impact on your success. Tekie Geek partners with Datto, which offers training for his sales team and technical staff that handle certifications. “What I love about them is that they have my back. If disaster strikes or something goes wrong, they’re there,” he says.
Bloomfield says it’s unfortunate that some MSPs do the math and decide to limit their offerings only to backup and disaster recovery (BDR). “When you offer backup, it’s easy, and you make more margin,” Bloomfield comments. “But I offer business continuity for the ability to sleep at night, knowing my clients are truly protected if disaster strikes.”
Tekie Geek’s business continuity solution consists of a BC appliance, services, and time-based retention of either one year or infinite cloud, which, unlike size-based retention, enables his clients to budget with no surprises. The offering also includes daily checks on all backups and periodic virtualization tests to ensure all backups are available and complete. Data restoration, when needed, is billed separately.
Bloomfield says he will take a business continuity client that isn’t a managed services client — but won’t agree to the reverse. He says, “Business continuity is mandatory with managed services. How can I protect a business if I can’t guarantee their data is safe?” And with BC-only clients, Bloomfield says that foot-in-the-door relationship gives Tekie Geek the chance to display their expertise and the value they provide, which often turns into additional work.
Giving Prospects the Right Perspective on Business Continuity Solutions
When Bloomfield encounters a prospect who asks why they need a BC solution, he tells them it’s an insurance policy. “It’s an insurance plan that lets you know your data will always be there,” he says. With the possibility of natural disasters and more reports of ransomware attacks in the news, most prospects in all vertical markets are aware of the need for business continuity. He comments that, in light of that fact, selling solutions isn’t as easy as it should be. “So many people still think ransomware or disasters can’t happen to them,” he says. “It should be an easy sell. People should be banging on my door.”
About The ASCII Group, Inc.
The ASCII Group is the premier community of North American MSPs, VARs and solution providers. The group has over 1,300 members located throughout the U.S. and Canada, and membership encompasses everyone from credentialed MSPs serving the SMB community to multi-location solution providers with a national reach. Founded in 1984, ASCII provides services to members including leveraged purchasing programs, education and training, marketing assistance, extensive peer interaction and more. ASCII works with a vibrant ecosystem of major technology vendors that complement the ASCII community and support the mission of helping MSPs and VARs to grow their businesses. For more information, please visit www.ascii.com.