Many managed services providers (MSPs) selling backup and disaster recovery (BDR) offerings may not have hit the ground running when they first rolled out their services. Some strategies worked, while others failed. To find out where MSPs may have made common errors, we’ve reached out to a couple of MSPs in the channel and asked them to share their mistakes for the sake of education. Here’s what we found in this MSPmentor exclusive.

Strata Information Technology, Inc President Pete Robbins (pictured) and CCNS Consulting owner Karl Bickmore (pictured in the promo image) confessed their initial BDR mistakes to us, and let us share them to help alleviate early BDR pains for other MSPs. We’ve broken down their errors into three categories: sizing BDR, operating and understanding data in a disaster, and selling complicated offerings.

Sizing BDR improperly

Both Robbins and Bickmore stressed the importance of sizing BDR correctly. According to them, MSPs should size the BDR at a ratio of at least two times the actual amount needed.

“Sizing a BDR for a client can be trickier then you think,” said Robbins. “Too much and the client is going to be paying a lot of money for something they don’t need, too little and you are going to be wasting time fighting with space issues.”

Customer growth is inevitable and being able to accommodate that growth is important on many levels. Account for all the additional servers and workstations that could potentially have an impact on BDR.

“It can be very frustrating for all involved to need to upgrade too quickly,” Bickmore said. “Do yourself and your customers a favor and get enough space in the front end.”

Failing to operate effectively in a disaster

BDR requires MSPs to work under stressful conditions, so is your staff ready? Do your due diligence on your product.

“It really reflects poorly in the selling promise to not be ready to handle a disaster. We started with a BDR product several years ago and didn't really realize the process can be so time consuming,” Bickmore said. “Just don't assume it will be a cakewalk.”

Prepare data before a disaster strikes. Robbins said MSPs should understand the data of each and every customer.

“How much data is actually changing on a daily basis?” Robbins said. “Are some application creating large file changes on a system every day? We review all the applications on a server now to determine what kind of data is being written on a daily basis to see what kind of impact it will have on the BDR.”

Selling a confusing offering

Keep your BDR offerings simple. Confusing offerings will turn customers away and take money off the table.

“As in all sales, once you realize this is a valuable product/service and how to position it, you can make the offering very simple and very profitable,” said Bickmore. “Don't get fancy with tiers and schedules. Keep it simple, the customer will understand it much better.”

“Strata IT also uses Datto, which has an incredible upgrade policy, pay the difference in price for the next size up plus $100 and they will upgrade the BDR,” Robbins said.