Upselling is a crucial part of driving a successful cloud business, especially if you’re looking to build recurring revenue. As a Microsoft partner, attaching more products and services to existing deals can pay off with great incentives—especially in the cloud. In a recent eBook, The Modern Microsoft Partner Series, Part 1: The Booming Cloud Opportunity, IDC pointed out that their most successful cloud partners attach more value to Microsoft Cloud Solutions—to the tune of $5.87 in partner revenue for every $1 of Microsoft revenue.
Wonderful as it sounds, boosting profits by stacking extra products or managed services onto one-off projects has its fair share of challenges. The road to recurring revenue is paved with failed upsell attempts because managed service providers (MSPs) routinely struggle with at least one or more of the following:
The obvious foundation for successful upselling is knowledge and experience. Suggestions don’t easily translate to purchases; you have to be able to sell the recommendations you make. In the exploding cloud market, modern MSPs will thrive because their staff are well-versed in all the products and solutions that a customer could possibly need—oh, and don’t forget the sales and marketing expertise to communicate the features and benefits of what you’re upselling effectively. So as long as each salesperson can specialize in everything, you’ll be off to a great start! Easy enough, right?
Your upsell efforts also have to be relevant to the customer. The more information you have about your customer, the better chance you have to understand their pains and determine upsell opportunities that actually stick. Knowledge is power, sure, but timing is everything—and the upper hand goes to MSPs with the right insights into their customers’ environments and businesses to move proactively. Not offering any monitoring, reporting or ongoing management? Then you may have to rely on your customers coming to you as new issues develop, while risking losing to a competitor who identified a potential problem before it became urgent.
In a perfect world, your customers not only rely on you for completing projects, but turn to you as a trusted advisor for all of their cloud needs. Deeper customer relationships can lead to managed services that encourage more recurring revenue and greater opportunities for upsell. The goal is to reach a place in your customer relationship in which your pitch is received as trusted advice rather than just a sales pitch to snag more profits. It takes time, but value-adds like offering bundled products and projects, proactive monitoring, and managed services can help make you the modern MSP that your customers will call on for all things cloud.