This article also appears on The VAR Guy.
There’s a common trend in IT services to sell clients things based on price alone. Heck, plenty of IT buyers ask the price question first when considering a purchase. But as some of us know, affordability is a relative term and it’s often tied closely to the value an end client perceives in a product or service.
Part of your value is in your ability to meet client requirements, ease IT burden on their business, and help them have a more productive work force. The trouble is that many buyers are so stuck on price that they may never stop to consider that technology can be an investment instead of an annoying cost. Many will have some idea of what their requirements are, but requirements can change when they see what’s possible and how their workforce will benefit. With that in mind, a good approach is to go over basics with clients, but also help them see what’s possible if you take things one step farther.
Here are some areas to think about.
Security and Antivirus
Are there compliance requirements like HIPAA and SOX that affect security? Who can see what information when, and how? What’s preventing malware from invading the network? Are clients protected from the latest viruses?
Mobility and BYOD
Do employees need to work remotely? Could some be more productive if they’re allowed to work on things at home? Would employees be more capable if they could bring some of their own devices to use at work?
Is there aging hardware that ought to be upgraded? Can an older server be repurposed as a BDR appliance? Shoddy hardware is bound to have a shorter life, but can you improve lifespan by providing better equipment to clients? Can you provide better overall performance with better hardware?
Backups and disaster recovery
Do clients have backups? Do clients realize what downtime can cost their business if they don’t have a way to prevent it? Are there ways you can improve their RTOs and RPOs? Do they have any idea they’d do if their systems went down tomorrow?
Is there abundant space for storage or could there be more? Is there a plan for archiving in place for industries that need it (financial and legal industries come to mind)? Is it cost effective to move files to cloud storage?
Are there programs clients don’t need? Are there ones you know of that might make things easier for them? What about solutions that can save money like Office 365? Could they save money by moving to open-source solutions?
All too often, clients pick a price they think is reasonable for services, but that amount might not buy what they need to meet requirements in the long run. If requirements aren’t met, they can end up paying more to have things fixed or upgraded, or just lose workforce hours trying to use systems that don’t cut it. Plus, industries with compliance concerns can end up paying fines if their networks aren’t up to snuff. It pays to do more now rather than play catch up later when a client’s real needs could’ve been taken care of up front.