In part three of his three-part series on "Transitioning to the Cloud," Jason Bystrak, Director of Sales for the Services division of Ingram Micro North America, hones in on the key strategies VARs and MSPs need to have in place to market and sell cloud solutions and services.
Bystrak recommends a five-step process that's based on his and Ingram Micro's years of experience working with thousands of partners and addresses the challenges and pitfalls that can stall your cloud services business efforts. The process includes:
1. Financial Plan
2. Solution Plan
3. Operational Plan
4. Marketing Plan
5. Sales Training Plan
If this is the first time you're hearing about the plan, I'd recommend starting with Bystrak's first two articles:Transitioning Your Business to the Cloud, Part 1: Financial Planning
, thenTransitioning Your Business to the Cloud, Part 2: Operational Plan
Once you've developed your financial plan, selected your new cloud solution, and created an operational plan, you're ready to move on to the marketing plan. Marketing can be an intimidating topic for many resellers, especially those who rely solely on word of mouth. Bystrak offers a few practical steps to help VARs and MSPs break down this daunting task into smaller, more manageable steps, including:
1. Design your marketing plan
. This is where you identify the leads you're looking for and activities you'll need to do to generate the leads.
2. Determine your funding sources and budget
. Just because you may not have all the resources available to fund your marketing campaign, don't assume that means you need to compromise your marketing plans.
3. Manage the execution of your plan
. By tracking your plan, you'll be able to assess what's working and what's not and make the appropriate adjustments.
Bystrak concludes the article by stressing the importance of sales training and recommending VARs/MSPs address the following areas:
1. Engage the front office decision makers
. Research shows that more than 70% of cloud purchasing decisions are made by functional leaders in the front office, and often times, they make these decisions without consulting their IT department.
2. Explain the solution
. In some cases it may be necessary to bring in an operations person to help with demonstrations and answering onboarding-related questions.
3. Schedule regular follow-ups
. The most successful cloud service resellers schedule QBRs (quarterly business reviews) with their clients to ensure customers are happy with the service and to uncover upsell opportunities.
Be sure to check out "Transitioning to the Cloud Part 3: Marketing, Sales Training Plans
" for additional insights.