This is part 1 of our 8-part blog series, 8 Steps to Help Channel Partners Build and Execute a Profitable Cloud Business.
You can’t be everything to everybody when it comes to reselling cloud services—not if you want to grow your business, that is. In "Step One: Build Your Solution," we’ll look at three “must do’s” when building your own scalable, disciplined cloud sales model:
Pre-build for optimal profitability and drive operational support efficiency
Saying “yes” to every customer’s need seems like the right thing to do, but don’t be reactive—you want to be proactive when selling cloud services. A customer may call and want a customized cloud solution, but it may be too difficult for your business to deliver technical resources cost effectively or scale for the future. The best way to optimize the profitability of cloud services is to proactively pre-build a solution and avoid customizing solutions for individual customers. By building your solution upfront, you can scale it up or down for every kind of customer need or number of users. In doing so, you’ll avoid unpleasant future surprises like escalating operational costs to support additional services or more users than planned.
Determine on-premise conversion or focus on an organic solution
Building a new cloud solution model from the ground up isn’t the only option. Many of our partners have sold software-and-server email solutions for many years and have grown their business in helping customers convert to cloud-hosted email solutions like Microsoft Outlook via Office 365 and others. Determine if you are already selling something you can convert to the cloud and if it makes good financial sense to do so. Or determine if you are going to offer a brand new solution—such as file sharing, for example. Just remember to focus on what you can sell with optimal profitability.
Build for business outcomes and focus on vertical or horizontal markets
The business outcomes of your cloud solution will be the key value-add in the minds of the decision makers rather than the bells and whistles of the technology. Again, don’t be everything to everybody. Focus on a certain market niche and build for it—whether it’s healthcare, human resources, sales and marketing, or any vertical or horizontal markets that align best with your business goals and capabilities. Build bundles of cloud solutions that deliver the best business outcomes to drive differentiation and predictable profit. That’s not all. Here are some other important best practices to consider when building your cloud services solution:
- Conduct market research and analyze customer demand
- Determine on premise conversion or organic solution focus
- Factor technical and sales skills required
- Start with an anchor vendor for core solution and bundle complementary vendors
- Integrate professional and managed services to add value and margin
- Consider branding with anchor vendor, but white labeling the bundle
In the next post, we’ll look at "Step Two: Choosing Your Vendor Partners." Learn why it’s best to choose these partners after you build your solution, not before. For more information about Ingram Micro Cloud’s channel partner program, visit www.ingrammicrocloud.com/become-a-partner/.