Moving your products and services to a cloud model is a big deal. Now that you have crossed that chasm and re-architected your product lines into cloud offerings, it’s time for your high-performing sales team to sell. But offerings are moving much slower than you and corporate stakeholders expected.
What’s so different with selling cloud solutions? It turns out, a lot:
- Identifying the Customer
- Assembling the Right Sales Team
- Staying Smart
Identifying the customer
It is possible that your current customers are ideal prospects for your cloud offerings, but you are probably targeting new market segments, as well. In either case, the buyer is likely a business decision maker and quite possibly a contact that your sales team hasn’t called on in the past. IT and finance could either be part of that decision process or blockers to the sale. Your sellers need to know what drives decisions in target segments and how to spot prospects who are ready to jump to the cloud. Questions to ask:
- How are you segmenting your market by industry, line of business, and customer size?
- How are you aligning your sales team for laser-focus on the buyers of your offerings?
- Do you know your competitors and who they are calling on now?
Whatever your cloud offering, it’s critical that you identify your buying audience, understand what drives their decisions, and know your competition.
Assembling the right sales team
Great sellers can learn how to identify the new buyers, but they need presales technical support to accelerate the deal. Your customers will need clear technical answers about performance, availability, SLAs, migration plans, disaster recovery, security, privacy, and so on. Ensuring sufficient technical pre-sales capacity—whether with your own FTEs or through partners—will ensure the conversation is focused on the long-term value of the solution rather than the blockers for deployment. Questions to ask:
- Have you assessed your sales strategy and the skill mix needed to move your cloud offerings?
- How does this change your sales methodology and orchestration?
- Is your channel strategy working for you?
- And, finally…does your compensation model reward the sales model changes?
Now that you’ve identified your buyers and you have the right sales resources in place, how do you stay ahead of rapid change and competition?
Staying smart: “always on” training programs
The velocity of change within the cloud solution environment can be overwhelming for anyone. Your sellers (and marketers) need to not only pay attention to changes in cloud solution offerings, but to your offering’s position in an ever-changing competitive landscape. Sellers can no longer rely on quarterly meetings and email updates to stay current. To stay competitive, they need bite-sized readiness content delivered as close to real time as possible. And your sellers need a point of view on market changes. Your customers are counting on clear, accurate positioning of your offerings. It’s a perfect opportunity to become their new trusted advisor as cloud solutions mature. Questions to ask:
- What are the go-to information sources your customers rely on today?
- How do your sellers stay current on industry issues impacting their customers’ businesses?
- How are you giving your sales team the ability to represent your offerings and partnerships in this turbulent landscape?
- Is your competitive strategy current and constantly communicated?
We’ve entered a new era requiring innovative programs for field readiness and enablement. Communicating up-to-the-minute information can be the difference between winning a customer and getting left behind.
These are a few of the crucial issues to address as you transform your legacy sales organization. If you can answer these questions, you are well on your way to driving success in the cloud.