Reselling cloud solutions seems like a simple task. It’s just another product to promote, right? Not quite. Many businesses, like you, have already started offering cloud solutions to their clients, because the client asked for it. Now it’s time to consider promoting it as part of your offering. Before you can successfully market your new cloud offering, consider these six areas as a guide to determine if you’re truly cloud ready.
1. Processing Orders Efficiently
Consider these three areas: process, tools, and automation. This can affect several departments. Financially speaking, do you have the right metrics, reporting, and ROI formulas in place to correctly gauge if your cloud business is successful? Operationally, are you capable of processing orders and invoices?
One of the biggest differences with cloud subscriptions is in order placement. The term “evergreen” surfaced in the early cloud days. This means when you receive an order the service is consumed and billed into perpetuity. This brings up the question, “Is your system capable of tracking a single purchase order for a client (and future add-ons) for years, with the ability to generate an invoice each month?” This one-to-many purchase order (PO) to invoice requirement is vastly different than traditional on-premise, one-to-one PO and invoice processes.
To learn more about financial implications and billing tools that help with becoming cloud ready, check out this article.
2. Protecting Your Intellectual Property
With this new business model, a shift to a services mindset is key for preserving your profitability. Innovating how your customers or sales teams work can add even more dollars to your bottom line.
Creating your own Intellectual Property (IP) is considered the holy grail of profitability. This means creating a solution that fills a void in the current market today. There are several examples, particularly in the Microsoft partner ecosystem today: BitTItan, Akumina, SkyKick, RapidStart CRM, and MessageOps.
This may not be for every business. Perhaps you have a robust service offering that competitors can’t beat. You need to consider if this is right for you and re-evaluate over time.
3. Managing the Customer Lifecycle
Customer lifecycle management (CLM) is the latest buzzword. With the cloud services model, CLM is imperative when acquiring new customers and retaining them long-term. It’s key to define what this means to your company and how this translates to job roles and responsibilities.
To manage CLM properly from the beginning, consider leveraging two different roles within your sales organization: the business development reps (or “hunters”) and the account managers. A business development rep is responsible for finding new accounts in their territory and signing them. This business development rep is paid on net new business.
From there, the implementation team takes over, installs the solution at the client, and the account manager is brought into the equation. The account manager is the point of contact from now on and responsible for regular touchpoints with the client. This individual is paid on renewable business, any upsell/cross-sell opportunities, and the number of touchpoints with a client in a given time period. It’s their job to continuously delight the customer.
4. Providing Cloud 101 for All
Has your entire organization been trained on why cloud is important? This is huge. Many roles see cloud as a threat to their livelihood. The IT department feels they’re no longer relevant, the sales teams see a huge cut to their paycheck, and accounting sees more work in processing invoices. But they don’t understand why you, as the owner, made the decision.
It’s vital to include your vision for the company in any cloud training and why transitioning to a cloud-ready organization actually helps to secure your team’s financial future.
5. Becoming Cloud Sales-Ready
The processes are in place and everyone understands why we’re selling it. Check! But can you sell it? Training your sales teams on how to sell cloud solutions is important. It’s much different for clients. Maybe this opens the doors to new markets like the “S” of SMB, for example.
How your clients budget for IT solutions is different now. The flexibility to scale up or down in infrastructure and applications is now possible within minutes instead of days. It’s your business development rep’s job to educate the client. But account managers need to be trained too. It’s important for team members in these roles to understand the cloud sales process to better meet their customer’s needs. This training should also cover when to identify and offer cross-sell/upsell opportunities
6. Shoring Up Compensation
How do I properly motivate my employees with a cloud-first mindset? It’s not a one-size-fits-all model. This is something you need to pay attention to and adjust as needed. There are many different models such as: monthly commission on deals in perpetuity or paid upfront in a lump sum.
Other sales models are cloud-first, where reps are only dedicated to cloud and not on-premise solutions. A hybrid approach might be to apply sales goals to both, but with a greater reward from selling cloud solutions.
These six areas are more complex than the few sentences written here. Connect with communities of your peers to understand best practices, pitfalls, and mistakes to avoid when truly becoming cloud ready. This is one of the benefits of not being an early adopter. Another great option is booking a consultative session with your cloud aggregation partner (distributor) like Tech Data.
Tech Data Cloud has a team of specialists that works with partners like you on a daily basis. Whether you’re new to cloud or an expert, our team is dedicated to helping you succeed on your cloud journey. To speak with a cloud consultant today, call 800-237-8931, ext. 82031.