Monthly Archives: February 2011

Don’t Wait on Cloud: Why You Want to Talk With Your Customers About Cloud Right Now

It’s not a matter of “if,” it’s a matter of “when” cloud becomes part of your customer’s I.T. strategy. You want to be there first.

When you sell disruptive technology, customers are often resistant because they become concerned that the changes will affect their careers and their jobs. It’s possible that some of your customers look at cloud and think that CIO stands for Career Is Over.

No, you want it to stand for Change In Orientation. I believe CIO’s have value in directing companies safely into the cloud world. They must lead the rest of the business to ensure everyone’s success. And you’re going to help them with that.

When you sell cloud services, you’re selling and delivering intangibles versus tangibles. This means that you may need to change the way that you sell; you must talk about business value and addressing business needs with line-of-business executives instead of talking speeds and feeds with system administrators.

Before selling cloud services you sold Hardware, Software, System design, Installation, Education, Break/Fix, and perhaps Managed services.

What changes now is the mix and the revenue model. With cloud services you sell all of that and more: bundled hardware and software installed somewhere else, compliance, security, customization, design, implementation, education, on-going user support, WAN and LAN, and end-user hardware. You might event sell business process transformation and business consulting. Don’t worry; we’ll help you with all of this. It’s not that challenging.

The good news is that you’ll probably have less direct competition because you will be offering a package of services, so your customer won’t be shopping for a specific commodity. Your competitive advantage will be based on your relationships and business insight, not the catalog of hardware and software that you’re offering. So the bottom line is that you can bring to your organization more profits and more margin.

What’s the value of cloud to your sales career?

Selling cloud is the perfect opportunity to expand your customer base and penetrate your accounts. You have a strong reason to sell outside of I.T., growing your influence and enhancing customer relationships. You’re going to increase customer intimacy, getting to know their businesses a whole lot better, making you a true trusted advisor. This decreases the odds of competitive attack. When you consider these benefits, cloud is great for your career.

Selling cloud services also brings recurring revenues and you don’t have to go back into your customer every three to five years and resell yourself during an infrastructure refresh.

You will sell new, competitive products that you may not have offered before because you didn’t have the infrastructure or team with the skills to sell those services. With cloud you can expand what your offering bringing customers a full solution.

When you sell cloud, your technical staff won’t be running all over town doing traditional break / fix services. You’ll leave that to the cloud vendor.

Instead your technical staff will be involved in integrating the different cloud solutions and services along with adding value and bringing innovation to the customer relationship. This means that your tech staff will grow to be more valuable and meaningful to your organization.

And if you’ve been selling for a while, you will reinvigorate your career with new ideas, new solutions, and new customers.