During a recent event, I had the pleasure of listening to a presentation by Gary Pica, owner of TruMethods, a business coaching business focused on the managed services space. I always enjoy Gary’s breakouts for a couple reasons. First, he’s funny – and that goes a long way to keeping an audience engaged. Second, he shares tips that nearly any business owner can use, regardless of maturity of their model, focus of their sales team, whatever. Third, he shares his own story, and those experiences resonate and reassure in a way no other approach can. For those of you unaware of Gary’s story, he came to the world of business coaching only after launching his own MSP company and working out the glitches there. That’s why I believe so many IT business owners can connect with Gary, they hear echoes of their own mistakes, confusion and frustration in his examples.
Enough of that, however; let’s talk about a couple pieces of advice that Gary shared at this event. He told the audience there are three rules to building strong recurring revenue into any business – and while the audience was mainly MSPs, I think any business model can take advantage of this advice. His tips were to: #1 Have the right (support) offering, #2 Meet the right number of target prospects, and #3 Have the right conversation.
So how does this translate to cloud? I believe the first step is key: In order to develop a solid cloud strategy, you must have the right solution(s) in place. That means identifying the problem you want to solve (in the beginning, that should be a general issue that crosses a high percentage of your customer base) and determining what cloud solution can resolve that challenge. Having the right solution helps you to get in front of more prospects simply because you’ve done your homework.
Then you need to take the time to hone the process, support, delivery and maintenance of that solution in order to deliver it well but also at a profitable level. Don’t try to offer everything to everyone, or you will find your internal processes bogged down. Then start to think about where you can bundle that cloud solution with services – integrations, upgrades, monitoring, customization and other, adjacent cloud solutions. Lastly, figure out how to eliminate the barriers that might keep your customers from taking advantage of this solution. To me, eliminating barriers goes hand-in-hand with #3 – having the right conversation.
I can’t tell you how to talk to your customers, but Gary pointed out that you want to be careful how you discuss points such as satisfaction with service, price, and value so that you and your customers are comparing apples to apples. Something to consider the next time you ask your customer about their interest in cloud.