How to Sell BCDR to Clients, and Keep Them, by Showing Your MSPs Value

Show your clients your worth, what downtime can cost them, and jump-start your MSP marketing efforts.

Managed service providers (MSPs) often encounter clients who underestimate their need for business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR). It’s not uncommon for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to believe that it’s an acceptable risk to forego advanced disaster recovery services or business continuity protections.  This article offers resources to help in your constant uphill battle to show your MSP value.

Some small businesses still operate under the misconception that cyber criminals mainly target large enterprises because they potentially yield a higher ransom. In truth, bad actors have expanded their sites because they know smaller companies don’t necessarily have sophisticated cybersecurity protections, and law enforcement is less able to pursue hundreds or thousands of incidents against SMBs.

In fact, Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report found that 28 percent of all cyberattacks in 2020 were aimed at SMBs, and Blackberry’s 2022 Threat Report found that SMBs averaged “11 to 13 threats per device, a number much higher than enterprises.”

While educating clients about the risks they face is a good first step, the key to helping them understand the necessity of BDCR solutions is to quantify what business interruption or data loss could look like for them.

Explain Why Backup is Not Enough

SMBs may not realize that backup is only a portion of BCDR. Business recovery from traditional backup is time-consuming and costly. MSP clients should understand that a true BCDR strategy involves not only backup but also risk analysis, planning, and testing to ensure that business continuity can be restored quickly and with a minimum of extra downtime and labor. Even if clients are using a cloud-based service such as Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace, they will likely find that the small print in their agreements recommends that they maintain independent BCDR procedures to minimize downtime and recover data in the event of widespread outages ranging from weather to cyberattacks.

If your clients need to have a better understanding of the potential threats to their data and IT infrastructure, share this Cyber Threats Glossary with them.  It is an at-a-glance guide to some of the most common threats to your data. This can help facilitate the conversation about why they must have a plan to keep their business running if disaster strikes.  The Axcient team developed a blog for MSPs to share with their clients that explains to SMBs what backup and disaster recovery (BDR) is and why having a BDR plan is crucial to help protect their business and their customers from the risks associated with catastrophic data loss.

>>Blog: All SMBs Need to Know About Backup and Disaster Recovery

Thinking through the various scenarios that cause business interruptions can quickly focus clients’ attention on their current risk exposure. Have they defined their recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO), and does their current solution support them? Estimating the cost of downtime then drives the point home.

Calculate the Costs Associated with Downtime

The Ponemon Institute’s Cost of a Data Breach report found that the average cost of a data breach in the U.S. in 2020 was $8.64 million. Of course, this is only an average figure, so it helps to engage in some customization of these numbers to make it easier to attach dollars and cents to a business continuity ROI value proposition for BCDR solutions, It’s essential to become knowledgeable about how to calculate the risks of going without robust services, and the costs savings associated with the rewards for having good protection. While the costs will vary from organization to organization (particularly once you consider indirect losses), the general equation is revenue/workdays per year ÷ open work hours = revenue per hour.

Imagine a company that earns $20 million per year, to apply an example. The company operates an average of 23 days per month, with about 12 operating hours per day. To understand the cost of downtime for critical systems, you’d start with that simple calculation: $20 million/276 workdays ÷ 12 hours per day = $6,000 in lost revenue per hour of downtime. When the hard costs of downtime have been effectively estimated, client companies are more likely to begin thinking about their tolerance for downtime or outages.

With so many potential problems causing IT downtime within small to medium-sized businesses, it makes financial sense for SMBs to understand how much outages could cost them and how a BCDR solution, can aid in preventing these lost dollars.  The Axcient team created a guide to discussing and calculating the concrete costs of downtime with your clients.

>>An MSP Guide to Calculating Downtime With Your Clients

Building Your MSP Value Proposition for SMBs

The services offered by managed service providers are designed to work remotely and in the background, preventing problems with skillful resource management, proactive monitoring, and regular maintenance. In this way, MSPs are often victims of their own success: Clients don’t see the day-to-day operations, leaving them out of sight and mind. In the past two years, work-from-home and hybrid work models have resulted in even less visibility for MSPs in client offices. This makes it extra challenging to demonstrate managed services ROI effectively.

MSPs offering BCDR solutions would be well-served to create straightforward, easy-to-communicate value propositions for SMB clients to help them understand why they need comprehensive business continuity services. Ensure that these proposals are value-based and not just abstract technology descriptions. While it’s important to focus on response times and coverage, it’s also critical to include information to educate customers about measuring their MSP’s performance. If MSP-client relations are too basic and transactional, customers may miss critical information about the business relationship’s hidden value.

Some simple but effective steps to take to help your clients “grade” you:

  1. Share results of Health Checks – regularly sharing the results of your system verifications and checks, Backup History Reports,  and highlights of their overall system health, will demonstrate your ongoing commitment to monitoring a client’s needs.
  2. Don’t skip your Quarterly Business Reviews – it is easy to miss these important opportunities to interface with your client when busy schedules get in the way, but a top-down quarterly or biannual review is an opportunity to discuss what you are doing, and what you believe you need to do to ensure security and continuity in the future.
  3. Let your client know you are verifying and testing their backups – a popular feature of x360Recover does this by default; AutoVerify automatically virtualizes the latest backup recovery point for each system and runs numerous deep volume tests to check bootability, operating system health, data corruption, file system, and application integrity.

Incumbent managed services providers have a natural advantage in that they already have an in-depth understanding of the client’s business and core systems. Savvy MSPs can parlay this familiarity with clients’ operations and supporting systems, as well as in-depth alliances with technology vendors, into a broad value proposition for protecting client operations built right into the service level agreement.

Kick Start Your Sales and Marketing Plan

Marketing and sales are historically sticky spots for most SMBs, including MSPs. Luckily, succeeding in this space does not require big budgets and dedicated teams. The MSP Marketing Playbook Bundle includes a stack of free resources designed specifically to help MSPs make the most of channel demand. Utilize these tried-and-true tactics to reinforce your existing relationship with customers, grow your client base with new customers, and drive brand awareness within your target market.

…the average MSP earns 26% to 30% of its gross revenue from BCDR services, and one-third generate more than 40% of their revenue from managed backup. Considering that the average MSP reported generating between $5 million and $10 million annually, these figures translate into $1 million to $3 million attributable directly to BCDR.  – RESEARCH REPORT: MSPs and BCDR Optimization: Growth in a Recession

An eBook, a Vertical Guide, and a Playbook  Walk into an MSPs Inbox…

…And the MSP applies what they learn from the bundle of resources and makes BCDR their most profitable service! Okay, not a joke but a manifestation of how you can expand your business.

Based on our in-house MSP marketing and sales expertise, plus what we’ve learned through our partner-only marketing platform, the Axcient Marketing Portal (or “the AMP” as we call it around here) – we’ve developed the MSP Marketing Playbook Bundle. This free, downloadable bundle full of resources is designed to help MSPs…

  • Demystify paid and organic search to drive traffic toward your sales funnel using winning keywords and Google Analytics.
  • Get how-to tips for events, social media (with an emphasis on LinkedIn), referrals and testimonials, and upsells and cross-sells.
  • Focus on one or more vertical or technical specialties due to the positive correlation with higher profits and accelerated sales growth compared to average MSPs.

The demand for business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) services is high in 2023, so Axcient is giving MSPs a three-in-one bundle of easy-to-implement marketing and sales strategies and expert guidance for getting noticed this year and beyond. Get the tools for free:

>>Download the MSP Marketing Playbook Bundle Now

One Solution to Protect Client Data with a Powerful Partner Program

As a 100% MSP-only solution provider, Axcient specializes in addressing the issues MSPs confront day after day. In addition to developing innovative BCDR solutions with proprietary features and labor-saving automation, Axcient also serves as an extension of our partners’ marketing and sales teams with our Axcient Marketing Portal (AMP). The investment in 2022 is evident, as Axcient’s Partner Program was awarded 5 stars by CRN in 2023.

Axcient is focused on leveraging the partner program and our AMP marketing portal to offer more resources, leads, and partner enablement.  Plus, we increased the amount of marketing development funds (MDF) available to partners, expanding the number of automated campaigns, and offering customer marketing support for our highest-tier partners.  The AMP offers value to any partner, from MDF to automated marketing campaigns, brandable marketing assets, and ready-to-use marketing collateral.

Not an Axcient Partner Yet?

Learn how Axcient x360 allows MSPs to deliver the right-sized and right-priced custom BCDR offering that the market demands so MSPs can build their business and gain profitability. Start your free 14-day trial today to see having the right business continuity and backup tool like Axcient can ensure minimal downtime and business interruption while helping MSPs maintain a healthy bottom line.

>>Start Your Free Trial


Carissa Kohn Johnson Axcient

About the Author: Carissa Johnson // Product Marketing Manager, Axcient

Carissa Kohn-Johnson has a background in healthcare technology and information technology and is now the Product Marketing Manager for Axcient. She has a lot of MSP Channel experience from planning and attending hundreds of conferences and tradeshows and found her passion in IT. Carissa is also an elected official in Cary NC, a town chock full of technology-forward people. Connect with her on LinkedIn – perhaps you can contribute to the Axcient blog?


More Great Stuff From Our Blog:

Check out some other interesting pieces from our blog: we examined the toll cybersecurity has on MSPs mental health and offered a comprehensive list of tools and resources to feel better.  Also, we dove into how chain-based backup works and why chain-free is the way to be, we talked with Jason Phelps from Huntress Labs about planning for the next ransomware attack, or learn how you can ditch pricey on-site appliances with Local Cache for Direct-to-Cloud BCDR.