This article also appears on the Labtech Software blog.
One summer afternoon I observed my son whittling wood in our backyard. I noticed he was cutting the wood toward his body. Most woodworking manuals would deem this method of cutting dangerous. My fatherly instincts kicked in and I rushed out to teach him the importance of cutting away from his body. We talked about the danger and the potential consequences should he slip. Did it work? No. He had to learn his lesson the hard way.
You’ve probably had a similar experience when trying to teach a client about the importance of creating and testing a backup and disaster recovery (BDR) plan.
BDR is old hat for IT service providers. We’ve even marketed it the same way for years, by preying on people’s fears. We pull in fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) with talk about hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes, add in failure statistics and basically scare people into buying our solution.
While fear-based marketing does produce the desired effect some of the time, it’s not always the answer. We humans have a habit of believing that such “disasters” will never happen to us. Some studies have actually shown that humans are wired to believe the best. So even when big disasters strike and we see the horrible consequences, we still believe it will never happen to us.
The truth is, it’s the small disasters that cost businesses the most, not the major ones. It’s a server going down, a virus infecting a CEO’s computer or an employee accidentally deleting an important file.
A more effective way to communicate the importance of backup and disaster recovery is to help your clients see the real cost of every minute they’re not 100% operational. Lay the scare tactics aside and focus on the tangible value of having a solid BDR plan. Business owners are laser-focused on benefits and this is where you can help them understand the economic impact of BDR.
In Economics 101, we learned about opportunity cost, defined as “…the… value of the best alternative forgone” (thank you Wikipedia). In its simplest form, opportunity cost is the value of what we choose not to do. For example, if I choose to sit and watch cat videos on YouTube instead of going to work, my opportunity cost would be lost wages from work and perhaps even a lost job.
In a disaster—or during any disruption to normal business activities—the opportunity cost is the value of the business that would have been carried out if the company had been 100% operational. What’s the best alternative to using your time? Making money of course.
It’s true that disasters aren’t a choice, but your clients can choose how they plan for a disaster. They can choose to have a reliable disaster recovery plan in place to minimize downtime. They can choose to test that plan to make sure it actually works when it counts. Or they can choose the alternative of lost revenue when things go awry.
Illustrating the overall effect that downtime will have on their bottom line will resonate much more with decision makers than fear tactics. In our eBook, Why You Need Backup and Disaster Recovery, we stress the importance of business owners taking a long, hard look at themselves, their processes, their software, etc. As your clients’ trusted advisor, you can help them see the bigger picture. Showing them the real cost of downtime is a powerful tool, and perhaps a better alternative to selling fear.
Photo credit: Dean Johnson via Flickr.