This is part 7 of our 8-part blog series, 8 Steps to Help Channel Partners Build and Execute a Profitable Cloud Business.
“We do word of mouth marketing. We have a ton of customers and we stay busy all the time.” That kind of marketing strategy might have been just fine for reselling traditional IT products, but it’s not good enough for the cloud. Today, you need to reach many new types of decision makers—technical and non-technical—with a new story to tell about your cloud services solution. Many of these decision makers may not know who you are, or even know that you are now in the business of cloud services. It’s time to adopt the following best practices for marketing your business as a cloud provider:
Target new buyers and lines of business with digital marketing
Selling cloud services is a great way to attract new customers and fuel growth. As you expand your customer base with new cloud customers, you can sell existing customers on converting hardware-based IT solutions to the cloud—resulting in growth and success. Digital marketing is one of the best marketing tools you can use to target and reach buyers of cloud services. These buyers have done their research online, and your goal is to be a part of that research and education at multiple touchpoints on the Web.
Focus on market education and thought leadership
Enhance your use of digital marketing by positioning your business as a cloud expert. Have your top people publish white papers, host webinars, speak at conferences that are streamed on the Web. Build a reputation as a cloud expert who not only provides market education, but who is also a thought leader who can help customers advance their business. Also, leverage the cloud technology you sell to drive traffic to your website, tap into social media, launch email blasts, and get the word out that your VAR sales team are experts on the cloud and have the best-in-class cloud solution. You’ll soon have people talking about your business and talking to your sales team.
Track your leads as you execute them and adjust your master lead catalog and monthly plan based on real results
First, tie this practice to understanding your monthly lead requirements in your KPI-based financial plan. Then create a master catalog of marketing activities. As you track and execute your leads, you can increase the marketing activities in the master catalog that are helping you meet your lead goals, or scale back on those that are not getting a good response, just as you adjust your KPIs with your financial goals. In addition, meet with your marketing and sales teams and brainstorm new ideas to add to your master catalog. Talk about how your company can be a thought leader on social media. And be sure to track results from social media, or from leads generated through webinars and events. Are you using search engine optimization (SEO) key words to drive more people to your website? Why not tap into your company’s own business intelligence to determine which prospects are the most likely to want cloud services? The sky’s the limit when marketing cloud services, so don’t hold back. Here are some more best practices that will help you develop a strong cloud marketing strategy:
- Estimate the number of leads and costs for each activity
- Align costs with expected cost in the KPI plan
- Activities must be quantified and actionable
- Identify funding sources
In our next post, we’ll conclude with the eighth and final step in this strategy to help optimize profitability of cloud services sales. You’ll learn how to enable and motivate your sales team to become proactive sellers of cloud services rather than just reacting to customer requests. For more information about Ingram Micro Cloud’s channel partner program, visit www.ingrammicrocloud.com/become-a-partner/.