Gaining a competitive advantage as a cloud and hosting service provider is challenging in today’s market. Developing fully connected customers is a critical piece of setting your company apart.

 

So, how do you start? Many cloud service providers overlook some seemingly simple but crucial steps to increase value with customers. To share these effective but underused tactics, NetApp® Global Consulting Principal Mara McMahon has crafted a free white paper, Building Fully Connected Service Provider Customers.

 

Here’s a quick overview.

 

1. Make a Good First Impression

Making a good first impression sounds simple, but it’s extremely important. Showing up on time for meetings and for calls and demonstrating that you’re engaged all show your prospect that you respect his or her time.

And an even more important part of making a first good impression, McMahon notes, is price quoting. “Because it’s the first process-based and business-based interaction with the customer—and one that can be a challenge for many service providers—standard pricing that you can present on demand is a must,” says McMahon. By sharing price lists and by creating custom pricing sheets that are based on standard pricing deviations, you show your customers that you’re willing to take extra steps for them.

 

2. Make It Easy for Your Customers to Spend Their Money with You

Again, this advice might seem obvious, but many service provider pricing models don’t follow it. You should help your customers understand what their costs are and how they will be billed, then be sure to follow through. Keep in mind that it should be easy for customers to upgrade their service or to buy more services from you. Build your process with the primary goal of having your customers feel a sense of ease and belonging. After you accomplish that goal, apply corporate risk mitigation practices like credit checks and paper work.

 

3. Help Your Customers Maximize Their Return on Investment in Your Services

Without maximized return on investment (ROI), your customers won’t have confidence in your abilities to meet their goals. Make sure that you identify opportunities that help your customers get better results than anticipated and offer customers a path for achieving these opportunities. McMahon suggests that you:

 

  • Provide examples of best practices that have worked for others.
  • Schedule regular check-ins with customers to confirm that your customers are realizing the outcomes that they want.
  • Conduct business reviews on a regular schedule, such as monthly or quarterly.

 

Development of fully connected customers is a critical step in maximizing your own revenue. McMahon’s white paper offers more in-depth information and more tips to help you succeed. Start working toward maximizing your customers’ ROI and gaining a competitive advantage for your own business. Download the white paper Building Fully Connected Service Provider Customers now.

Stuart Oliver

Stuart is currently the Global Consulting Director at NetApp in the Next Generation Data center group, where he is responsible for articulating NetApp’s value proposition to hosting service and cloud providers globally. Stuart’s primary role involves interfacing with key hosting service providers and acting as a strategic market advisor and working with them to provide market guidance on the productization, the pricing and the strategic positioning of their next generations storage services.