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How To Make Money With The Cloud

As a technology solutions provider, you absolutely need to offer cloud services. Why? Because by the year 2020, it’s estimated that nearly one-quarter of all IT spending will be budgeted for the Cloud. And while IT spending is on the rise, the spending on cloud infrastructures is climbing even faster. This means that your potential to capture revenue from selling cloud services is growing!

Think about it… Although you might earn $500 to $1,000 by selling a physical server, that’s where your revenue stream ends or at least takes a big downward dive. When you sell the Cloud to your customers, you create an ongoing revenue stream. As long as you keep providing excellent service to your customers, they’ll continue to depend on you for all their technology needs.

But to make real money in the Cloud requires partnering with the right Cloud Service Provider; one who will:

  • Provide personalized service,
  • The flexibility to choose different partnership models,
  • Provides the timely and expert support you need to ensure your clients’ needs are met,
  • Can help you with cloud migrations,
  • Offers all the cloud-based marketing materials you’ll ever need, and
  • Has worked as an MSP in the past so knows the obstacles you face.

CPU is that partner.

We’re providing this whitepaper to help you with your decision-making. It’s a big step going from an MSP to selling cloud services, but with the right cloud partner, you can make some healthy recurring revenue without much effort.

How Can You Sell Cloud Services To Your Customers?

The standard IT infrastructure is changing, and customers are looking for someone to not only migrate their systems into the Cloud but manage them as well. You should find new ways to establish your business as a trusted advisor in the cloud arena.

Start with your existing customer base. Show them that the best, most efficient ways to benefit from the Cloud. Sell your expertise as well as cloud services to give your clients the peace of mind they need with the Cloud.

Here are four tips to consider when selling cloud services:

  1. Market to your most forward-thinking clients first.
  2. Make a plan to convince those stubborn legacy clients.
  3. Explain the benefits of moving to the Cloud.
  4. Conduct quarterly business reviews to show how cloud services are benefitting them.

Are You Thinking Outside The Box When Selling The Cloud?

Once you’ve got them on board with your cloud services, many will want you to manage their network as well. And be sure to promote online backups and disaster recovery through the Cloud services you offer.

Hard drives and flash drives can fail. CDs are antiquated (fossils, even). But cloud backups are different. All you need to store your customers’ data is a stable and secure internet connection. The challenge is to generate revenue from this.

Here’s the answer… Think of your company as being a full-service IT shop for all of your clients’ technology needs. In addition to the Cloud services you provide, also offer backup, antivirus, recovery services and cloud solutions.

Bundle backup services with internet security or email and spam filtering. Then educate your customers on the security of your backup services, while fully supporting their new solutions.

Education is key to marketing and selling bundled cloud solutions. Let your clients know that the large cloud service vendors don’t offer comprehensive backup and recovery options. Tout your ability to provide fast, granular recovery of their data. This way you’ll have an edge over the big guys.

Are You Selling Cost-Effective Cloud Technologies?

As you know, cloud services don’t have to be expensive when used correctly, and can actually help your clients save money over traditional IT solutions. There are many distributor incentive programs and discount opportunities out there for IT service companies to take advantage of when selling the Cloud.

Along with your cloud services, be sure to market your expertise, value-added services and excellent customer service. Set a high enough price right from the start to cover licensing and other expenses. But not so high that it will send your customers to the competition. Find a balance that works for you and them.

Have You Broadened Your Reach?

Keep in mind that when selling cloud services that your clients can be anywhere. The area you serve can be as large or small as you want it to be. This may seem daunting at first, but you’re already offering cloud services, so as long as your customers have an internet connection, they can take advantage of them. Market your remote service and support along with cloud backup and disaster recovery to your “global” customers.

Other tech service providers are already doing this. Don’t let them corner the market before you jump onboard the global cloud market. Soon everything will be tied to the Cloud.

Also provide other value-based cloud solutions like Microsoft Office 365 for Business, so your clients remain sticky and stay with you.

Are You Selling Public Cloud Services Yet?

When the public cloud first became available, tech service companies thought it was necessary to virtualize their customers’ servers. You don’t need to.

Instead, migrate their workload application-by-application into the Cloud. Locate the proprietary services your customers need in the public clouds, and just use theirs. Don’t virtualize if you don’t need to because this has the potential to increase performance issues.

If your clients have servers that are specific to a particular task that’s not in the public cloud, this would be the time where you can virtualize their server. Doing this will further establish you as their trusted technology service provider and help you keep them for the long term.

What About Partnering With A CSP?

You’ll have a faster time to market if you partner with a reliable Cloud Service Partner like CPU. We will take on the costs of building your infrastructure and handle all the maintenance. You’ll also have access to all of our marketing collateral. And we’ll will fix any problems if there’s an outage.

Your differentiator to your customers will be your technical expertise and great customer service. And, with a cloud partner like CPU standing behind you, your company will shine!

How Should You Position Your IT Business When Selling Cloud Services? Should You Refer or Resell?

Your IT company can sell cloud services by simply referring customers to a cloud provider. But what does it mean to refer vs. resell?

When You Refer/Resell Cloud Services:

  • You directly send your customers’ cloud business to the hosting provider.
  • The CSP pays you a percentage of the profit.

CSPs typically focus on finding referral partners to generate leads, as opposed to partnering with them.

Referring Customers: This is the easiest way to get into the “Cloud business.” It enables you to help your customers find what they need without taking on any responsibility for the service or risk. However, you won’t make as much money as you would reselling cloud services. Plus, your customers have to go through you and possibly the CSP to get the customer service they need.

Reselling Cloud Services: When reselling cloud services, you basically own the end customer. The hosting provider will bill you based on a discount structure so you can add your margin on top of the fee.

White Labeling: The next step would be to white-label a cloud service. With this, you can sell more advanced products that you can mark up. You’ll have the responsibility of offering the first or second tier of support. What you can’t support the cloud partner will.

Both reselling and white labeling offer you the opportunity to make more money, add value to your existing schedule of solutions, and help to build credibility for your IT company. Your customers will like this because they only have one point of contact if they have issues with the cloud service (you).

What Should You Sell?

Ask yourself, “What do my customers need?” Their demand for cloud services should drive your decision. How can you fill the gaps?

You can pick and choose the cloud services you provide to your customers, such as:

  • Virtualization Services
  • IaaS
  • PaaS
  • SaaS
  • Migrations
  • Backup and Disaster Recovery
  • e-Commerce Solutions
  • Billing Systems
  • Database Services

Remember… It’s All About Your Customers

Most customers want to use companies they already trust (like you). They don’t have the time or knowledge to make the right choices when it comes to the Cloud. As their trusted IT Partner, they are more likely to depend on your advice for what’s right for them.

Let your customers’ needs help you determine which cloud services to provide. This may change, and you always have the flexibility to do so as well. When choosing your Cloud Partner, make sure they have the hosting expertise you need, and they won’t take over customer accounts (like some of the big cloud providers do).

In Conclusion

We know that It can be confusing trying to decide which Cloud Service Partner to choose. With the dependence businesses have on the Cloud today, you need the confidence knowing that your CSP will genuinely be there for you and provide technical support when you need it.

Plus, some are so large that when you contact them, you could be hanging in level-one support for a week before your issue is escalated. In the meantime, you or your clients are left without the vital cloud solutions you require.

CPU provides personalized services, and we have the expertise that years of service provide. If you require, we can jump in and handle any issues with focus, efficiency, and determination to make things right.

There’s definitely money to be made in the Cloud. Partnering with CPU will do this for you. We can help you repackage the value you already offer to make the money from the Cloud that you’re looking for. And if you choose CPU, your IT service company will gain as much as your customers do from the Cloud!

Need more information? Check out our Tech Articles to learn more about how to sell the Cloud to your customers.

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