The economy is miserable and the future looks quite uneasy for today’s IT professionals and consultants, many of whom are operating as if it’s still 1999. Cloud computing has gained a foothold and the rules of the IT game are changing rapidly. The savvy IT professional sees this and realizes he or she must adapt to this dynamic market or else find another career. Within the next few years, more and more enterprises will be migrating to the clouds and the need for IT staff, maintenance and desktop support will be drastically diminished.
As businesses close or cloud to cut expenses (amongst other benefits), the market will continue to contract, crowding out one small IT firm after another. I have spoken to countless IT professionals (few of whom make good salesmen or marketers) who are now forced to make cold calls, knock on doors and join networking groups just to try and drum up business. Phones that were once ringing are now sitting silent.
One interesting marketing strategy that does seem to be expanding revenue streams for some is to “Expand the Brand”, become a reseller and latch onto a company that has proven products, provides good service and has a foot in the virtual future. They do the plumbing and the help desk while you brand some new products and solutions.
We all know there are a number of firms both domestic and foreign-based that provide a number of channel selling opportunities, but for the most part, the margins left-over for the little guy leave little to be desired. For those who for some reason have their business clients on Mozy or Carbonite backups, there is no real margin at all and they are clearly leaving money on the table.
In this economy, that’s a bad decision. The owner operator or small IT firm needs to adopt a marketing strategy and adapt to a new paradigm in the marketplace. But how and where do they go for help? What channel selling options can help them segue into the new world and survive in this one right now?
One firm with a unique model that seems to be helping owner-operated and smaller IT firms flourish in the here and now with an eye towards tomorrow is 4Service Inc. (www.4service.com) based out of California. They provide their reselling partners an opportunity to offer an expanded line of state-of-the-art services with substantial margins not at all common in the industry that not only increases revenue for their partners, but makes the transition into the enigmatic future painless and fairly profitable.
It’s largely an incentive plan to help small IT firms migrate their clients to 4Service and guarantee a spike in their income at the same time. Programs include multi-tiered backup solutions, cloud computing solutions, SaaS, DR and Business Continuity plans. After signing an agreement, the owner-operator/small IT firm now has a full line of state-of-the-art products in their own brand name that they can turn around and up-sell to their existing client base at market prices but with increased profit margins frequently more than 100%.
Hot-calling beats cold-calling any day. Presumably, the next step is to transition those clients into the clouds. Staying with the 4Service model, the partner now has their own branded cloud infrastructure in which to place his client. It becomes the ultimate client retention strategy because once the infrastructure of an enterprise is virtualized, it is highly unlikely that they will revert back to the costly, 20th century IT architecture they were previously drowning in.
Now, the owner-operator or small IT firm has a customer for life. The income becomes relatively passive and the long hours and calls in the middle of the night or on the weekends come to a halt…for the most part. The key for you the IT provider is to find a provider whose products and service are exemplary, but more importantly provide you with the best margins possible and allow you to be flexible with the times.
The time is now to find the right partner that can help you not only thrive in this downturn but be prepared for a race to the clouds. On your mark, get set…
Kelly Kleinman is the VP of marketing and sales for 4Service Inc. 4Service is focused on providing inexpensive, state-of-the-art, Disaster Recovery / Online Backup and Cloud computing solutions to VAR who are looking to add services and revenue streams to their businesses. 4Service Inc. has been in business for 9 years and boast a perfect record of having NEVER lost even a single gb of data!