When deciding if a customer is a good fit for the cloud, there are tell-tale signs that serve as reliable indicators. After all, right off the bat, how do you know what to look for? How do you know the right questions to ask? This post is a great starting point if you’re looking to qualify a company.

Of course, as a cloud computing provider, we geek out and get pretty excited about the cloud and the opportunities it presents to businesses. However, customers won’t necessarily have the same reaction. And some aren’t even great targets in the first place, either because they’re closed off to the concept of moving to the cloud, or they’re functioning fine as is. Rather than focusing on these organizations, it’s important to focus efforts on businesses that are open to change and have needs that the cloud can address. These early technology adopters and innovators will be excited to learn more about the solutions. Other good targets won’t even know how much the cloud can help their organization, and that’s where you come in. Below are some key things to look for:

For Cloud Computing

While we strongly believe that many businesses are ready to move to the cloud because it addresses various aspects of IT, there are some specific signs that an organization is a particularly good fit for the cloud in general.

Look for companies that:

  • Want to upgrade software
  • Want to refresh their hardware
  • Are in need of a data backup plan
  • Want to cut down on CapEx
  • Want to implement BYOD

Once you’ve discovered some of its needs, find out more about the organization. What’s in its service catalog, and what are the top applications it runs the business on? What are its goals and requirements for the future? Who currently supports IT, and what is the leadership team like? How does the business budget work? Is the organization in a stage of growth? Do its users need data access 24×7? All of these questions are important because they help you determine exactly how the cloud can fit the organization. Maybe they think they need one solution, but based on the information you’ve gathered, you know something else is a better fit.

For Infrastructure as a Service

Once you move into the specific cloud services, the signs will change a bit. For Infrastructure as a Service, or RapidScale’s CloudServer solution, look for companies that are eager to always use the latest enterprise-grade technology but can’t necessarily afford to achieve this themselves.

Look for companies that:

  • Are running applications on physical or virtual servers
  • Are rapidly growing or scaling
  • Want to take advantage of enterprise-level hardware and security
  • Have limited capital
  • Have compliance needs
  • Have disaster recovery needs

Once you’ve found a company that qualifies with some of the above criteria, figure out what kind of infrastructure it has in place today, including how many servers and their specifications (CPU, RAM, Storage). Additionally, determine which operating system and critical applications the business is running. Be sure to determine if the business currently has a plan in place if a server goes down, and if any equipment is due for an upgrade.

For Desktop as a Service

For Desktop as a Service, or RapidScale’s CloudDesktop and CloudOffice solutions, look for companies that are interested in the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend and have traveling or remote employees that have to be accommodated.

Look for companies that:

  • Deal with refreshing desktops, laptops, or tablets
  • Want to move to a BYOD model
  • Have remote employees
  • Have employees who travel
  • Need the ability to add or remove users quickly
  • Have limited IT resources

Businesses that haven’t yet moved to the cloud may spend a lot of time maintaining devices like desktops, laptops, tablets, etc. Find out how much time is going to this task currently so you know if CloudDesktop or CloudOffice can help save time. Similar to IaaS, find out what applications the organization is running, because these could potentially move to the cloud. Be sure to get details on the licensing they own and how they manage it. Other questions might include how many users the organization has, how users are sharing files, and who currently manages IT?

For Disaster Recovery as a Service

For Disaster Recovery, or RapidScale’s CloudRecovery solution, look for companies that are extremely reliant on the availability of their data at all times.

Look for companies that:

  • Still run physical servers on-site
  • Live in areas affected by natural disasters
  • Have a very low RTO and RPO
  • Are heavily reliant on their data
  • Can’t afford to be down without their data
  • Need to have quick access to their data in the event of a disaster

Find out what kind of disaster recovery plan the business already has in place – do they back up their data, and if so, how long would it take to retrieve backed up data? Do they know what they’d do if all systems were down? Be sure to request the business’ Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO), and find out which business-critical applications are running in-house.

For Hosted Exchange

For Hosted Microsoft Exchange, or RapidScale’s CloudMail solution, look for companies that run Exchange servers in-house and rely on email being up 24x7x365.

Look for companies that:

  • Are running on POP3/IMAP
  • Need to upgrade their Exchange Server
  • Currently run their Exchange servers in-house
  • Are on Exchange 2003 – Microsoft is no longer supporting this
  • Rely heavily on email being up 24x7x365
  • Need to scale up or down quickly

To begin, find out which email platform and version the business is using today, and whether or not they integrate applications with it. In terms of security, ask about compliance archiving and encryption services. Be sure to find out if Active Directory full integration is a requirement for the organization.

Hopefully these qualifying characteristics and questions help provide insight into finding cloud customers. You’ll dramatically increase the odds of closing a deal when you’re approaching an organization at the right time, with the right information. If you have any suggestions for qualifying a company for the cloud, let us know in the comments!

Overall, you want to have a strategy in place when you approach potential customers, because a haphazard approach makes it tough to close deals. And once you identify some quality targets, stay motivated! A sale doesn’t always happen right away. It takes time and patience. Make sure you’re the go-to for an organization when it starts thinking in the cloud direction, and stay in contact. For more selling tips, check out our Selling Cloud in 2016 and Talking to the C-Suite About the Cloud posts!