Over the past several years, I’ve worked with hundreds of partners across the United States—primarily resellers and managed service providers (MSPs). During this time, I’ve had the privilege of speaking at multiple sales kickoffs, executive conferences and trainings for partners as they build their IaaS practice. And at these events, there’s one question I consistently find myself being asked:
“How do we start to sell AWS?”
For the purpose of this post, I’ll focus solely on the sales aspect (and will ignore the logistics of applying to become an AWS reseller).
There are several key ideas that yield success for our channel partners. Some of these ideas produce great results and are fairly basic, while other solutions take a little more effort from your team.
Start with disaster recovery or simple migration
Most analysts would say the majority of workloads moving to AWS are based on disaster recovery or simple migration of a virtualized workload. Thus, these are the first things a channel sales rep should be able to discuss. Business continuity/disaster recovery (BCDR) should not be a strange concept for most channel sellers.
Whenever partners and customers tell me their backup and disaster recovery (BDR) strategy still includes tapes in the briefcase brought home at night, I’m always surprised. AWS storage is very inexpensive and BDR tools are plentiful. BDR must be off-site and quite frankly, should be a “no brainer” for public cloud.
AWS storage is very inexpensive and BDR tools are plentiful
Ask your team to design a simple architectural framework around how your client can back up to AWS. Include the primary tool your company uses or your customers’ favorite backup tool. Build marketing collateral, update your website, utilize social media by tweeting and blogging, host a webinar and ensure that every seller can at least speak about the simple idea of backing up to AWS.
Migrating a virtualized workload is a little more customized, which means that more experience may be needed. But in essence, it’s still pretty simple. Most often, channel partners approach us with the idea that the workload would work using hardware with specific configuration specs. If those same hardware configurations were used for AWS, you would be overprovisioning by default, therefore, overpaying for your solution.
Your value-added role should be this: Help your customer optimize their cloud spend and architecture.
Cloud governance is the top challenge for all types of public cloud users
According to the Flexera/RightScale 2019 State of the Cloud Report, cloud governance is the top challenge for all types of public cloud users, while managing cloud spend is #3 for beginners and #2 for intermediate and advanced users.
As a result, a partner should have significant motivation to build services so they’re able to optimize the cloud deployment upon the initial sale. It also allows MSPs the ability to provide an ongoing monthly service that continues to monitor the security, compliance and most importantly, the cost efficiency of the public cloud.
End users already acknowledge they need help with this. Partners who sell and service public cloud should become well-versed in optimizing the initial environment when originally configured and provide ways to manage the deployed environment.
Both of the above scenarios imply solution selling, a term that has been around the IT industry for years. You sell for a need, such as selling backup to avoid data loss due to natural disasters or human error.
“The primary objective of partners should be to use the IaaS sale as a way to provide professional and/or managed services to their customers.”
Partners should invest to ensure they have the tools and skills necessary to not only identify the specific solution to build with AWS as well as provide long-term service after deployment.
A cloud governance solution provides significant benefits. For partners, it opens a new revenue stream through the additional managed services they can provide. For customers, it decreases cost. After all, cost optimization should ensure that mechanisms such as reserved instances and possibly spot instances are utilized for stabilized workloads.
The margin realized through sale of an AWS service is minimal. The primary objective of partners should be to use the IaaS sale as a way to provide professional and/or managed services to their customers. Both of these services types should yield margins that are significantly better than what you would get from the vendor, AWS.
Ask your customers the right questions
Use AWS as the opportunity to sell more services, therefore, increasing your margins. As a seller, start by looking for the simple things. Ask your customers what they have already deployed in AWS. Try to understand the current solutions and the expected initiatives in the coming months. Partners should develop sales skills to provide consulting for at least the basic cloud migration and BDR opportunities identified in these conversations.
As your abilities grow, you will you’ll want to seek skills that will provide additional sales, but especially services opportunities. AWS tells you to develop your specific superpowers.
Ingram Micro Cloud is here to help. We have hundreds of partners across the world selling AWS. As I consult with my partners, I tell them, that at this point, there is rarely a sales situation we haven’t seen.
Let’s get started
If you need help understanding AWS, using the AWS Calculator, providing initial estimates, or you have basic architecture questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our team at AWS@IngramMicro.com.
If you’re still in the process of building your professional and managed services, you can leverage our IaaS Lifecycle Services team. These are paid services that will perform assessment, architectural design, proof of concepts and deployments of AWS.
Additionally, we can provide managed services for your customers on your behalf. This provides more revenue and margin for you, while we provide the service. If you would like to discuss ways we can help you start or grow your business, please contact us at AWS@IngramMicro.com today.