5 Keys to Create a Successful Cloud Service Practice Area

| By: Craig Fulton

First came localized break/fix jobs that kept your serviceable area to as far as you could drive. Then the circumference grew a little larger with managed services, thanks to remote monitoring and automation tools, allowing you to work remotely reaching a broader audience. Now with the advent of cloud services, you have the ability to take over the world!

Not really. But you do have the ability to extend your services to anyone, regardless of their location. It’s not necessary to reinvent your managed services practice in order to become an exclusive cloud service provider. All you have to do is create a practice area for cloud services (and consequently, the potential for world domination).

Set your business up for success by journey mapping each aspect of this new practice area. This tried and true method gives you insight and enables you to construct processes that will consistently deliver a positive experience for your clients, while simultaneously benefiting your bottom line.

Step 1: Awareness

Big companies like Microsoft have spent a lot of time and resources messaging for the cloud. Harness the awareness their efforts have created for your advantage.

Send out newsletters, design email campaigns and construct landing pages. Alert the media – alert the social media too! Shout it from the rooftops if you have to, just make sure your clients are aware of your new offerings.

Using a tool like ConnectWise marketing campaign management (formerly ConnectWise Camgaign) makes this first step easy. Create custom email campaigns and landing pages, and let them know you offer these in-demand services.

Step 2: Evaluation

Build the case for your cloud service offerings with a sales strategy grounded in the desire to alleviate your SMB clients’ pain points. Use demos, presentations, quotes and proposals to showcase your value.

An easy opening to start a conversation with existing clients about your cloud services is when their software licenses are up for renewal, or during your quarterly business review. Another good practice is offering flexible service plans to give them options, since most SMBs tend to move into the cloud in stages.

Make the quoting process fast and efficient with a solution like ConnectWise Sell®.  Create professional looking proposals fast, so your sales team can focus on quoting your cloud services and closing deals.

Step 3: Purchase

Your clients have the option to purchase licenses directly from cloud vendors. So why should they purchase them through you? Odds are your SMB clients aren’t fully prepared to implement the Office365™ environment on their own. That’s where you come in.

When your clients choose to purchase their licenses through you (instead of a cloud vendor), they’re really buying your undivided attention. Before they’re even aware of a problem, you’re there solving it and keeping their operations flowing like nothing happened.

With ConnectWise CloudConsole™, you have the ability to purchase cloud licenses through Ingram Micro or Tech Data from within the tool. You then retain visibility and control of your clients’ licenses, giving you a proactive edge over the competition.

Step 4: Delivery

To set a precedent for top quality service, you need the right tools in place to allow you to be proactive. Monitoring and management tools are like a crystal ball. You’ll see (and be able to address) disruptions before your clients even know they’re there.

It’s always better to be the one calling your clients to let them know you rescued them from unexpected downtime. Think of the scenario inversely: if your clients reached their size limitation, or discovered outages before you did, they’d probably wonder what they’re paying you to monitor.

Stay one step ahead of them and continue to provide the service they’ve come to know and expect from you.

Step 5: Billing

When your clients receive your bill, do they understand it? Are they happy with what they see? Your invoices should demonstrate the value of your services, and not just monetarily.

Adopting a user-centric billing model will help ensure that they are able to see value of your services beyond the expenses. In conjunction with streamlining your billing by taking the focus off of individual devices, you’re putting the emphasis on people, where it should be.

When you couple a user-centric billing model with CloudConsole’s monitoring, management, and billing features, your cloud services practice is bound to reach new heights.

Using a strategy like journey mapping makes you take a step back to examine your client’s experience step-by-step so you can effectively account for their perspective in every aspect of your new practice area.

More strategies for creating successful cloud practice areas in your business await you in 5 Steps to Cloud Service Provider Success. Download it today!