There is immense hype around cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS) companies in the industry. This hype is good as long as people are signing up to attain your services, but it can also be a little harmful if there are strong myths running in the industry regarding your type of service. It will end up with potential clients (or any business owner) asking you too many questions, based on myth or business need. Hence, this is a good time to sit down with them and discuss any confusion they have regarding the service you provide.
Here are some questions which will spring up during the conversation with a service provider:
- What is your billing model?
This is probably the first question which will be sent your way. Of course, the client wants to know if the investment fits in their budget and if it’s worthwhile to initiate a talk with you. Service providers should work with the client to smooth out any pricing unpredictability. These agreements are supposed to deviate away from the traditional prices and provide a more flexible pricing model based on a monthly contract. Make sure that you and your potential clients are on the same page.
- What is the range of your specialties?
“IT professionals love technology and generally will say ‘yes’ to any technological problem, even if they lack the expertise,” says Kevin Trottier, CEO of Twist Solutions. In order to find the best service for their business, people will ask you if your range of specialties is what they exactly need. This is the time to make a great impression on people and prove that you can provide great service with the help of solid case studies and predictions.
- Do you offer free trial?
One key factor which seals the deal with a service provider is if they succeed in convincing the client. Since the service part has to be experimented beforehand, people will ask you if you can offer them a free trial of your services.
By testing the fears and concerns first, you can build a stronger reputation with your potential client and convince them that there is a strong ROI potential which comes with your mode of service.
In this aspect, let people test the implementation, proof points and results before they make a huge investment. Service providers need to work with their clients in improving flexibility, customer satisfaction and pricing protection, and a free trial period is your golden chance to reassure your client organization about its effectiveness.
- What is your history with clients?
The service level agreements (SLAs) are a great way of collaboration between service provider and client. The SLA doesn’t have to be the foundation of your trust, but it does provide strong backup. Thus, people ask about your service level agreement and your history of service with past or current clients.
A mature and professional service provider doesn’t hide anything when providing the answers to these types of questions. People will also ask if these SLAs align with their relevant areas. The SLAs have a broad alignment based on different models, so you should be able to focus on the key areas where your potential client needs service.
- Do you provide transparency?
A service provider has to be on point when providing information about mission-critical data. Clients cannot believe your statements unless you tell when and how you perform the task of securing their data.
You don’t have to dive into the complex technical bits, but divulge some information about the way your encryption process works in the cloud and how the client can help you from their end. Service providers should never forget about the ‘service’ part of the deal, and stay true to their words. People need to hear it from you as a strong assurance. If the services they are getting are like a black box and they have no idea what you did to provide them the service, they are bound to feel a little left out.
They need to hear that you are ready to provide them visibility into the services. A portion of the client’s business has to run through your platform, so transparency will build higher trust between the two parties.
- What does your disaster recovery plan look like?
Nowadays, every business owner needs to think about a disaster recovery plan. It’s not about if a disaster will hit your company, but when a disaster is going to hit. Therefore, expect this question from potential clients. They would want to know your elaborate disaster recovery plan in case their data falls victim to an attacker of any sort. Expect three major questions:
- Do you have a disaster recovery plan?
- How frequently do you test your disaster recovery plan?
- Is your disaster recovery plan effective or not?
Now, whether you regularly test your plan or do it every month, you will have to answer truthfully. Asking if your plan actually works is an acceptable question, because it is necessary to stay updated with the latest security trends. The trends are shifting even faster now, so you have to ensure your potential clients that you have got this part covered. Your recovery point objective and recovery time should also be ideal, so that people can trust you with their most sensitive bits of data.
- Do you meet legal requirements?
When it comes to choosing a service provider, many clients choose to discuss the legal framework. It’s a key step in evaluating a service provider’s credibility. Business owners have many things on their mind when they look for service providers. There are regulators, business partners, vendors, customers and employees they are accountable to. Thus, this question is frequently asked to avoid any mishap in the future. If you have adopted a comprehensive approach to maintain security whilst abiding by the legal framework, you are good to go.
People will ask what your capabilities are for protecting their data, how are the applications protected and covered by legal policies. Then, there are industry specific compliance standards like those established by the National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST). You will have to answer these questions, since they will have a huge role in portraying your company’s efficiency.