Selling the Cloud Starts with Listening Carefully
When selling the cloud, value-added resellers often approach it wrong. They start with selling the cloud as a replacement for private infrastructure, whereas a better approach is zeroing in on the main concerns of the customer and then positioning cloud options to meet those needs.
It sounds obvious, but VARs don’t always take this approach.
The key to properly selling the cloud is starting with the right questions. These include asking if the prospect buys or manages servers, and why new servers are being added. Where are the servers and storage located? What’s their current workload, and what business applications does it support? Who is accessing these servers and for what purposes?
From these fundamental questions, VARs can dig in and determine what cloud infrastructure model best serves the prospect and where the value proposition lies.
With public cloud solutions, one big selling point is speed. Changes are self-service via administration tools, and on the application level it is possible to change computing infrastructure quickly and easily with virtualization. The value proposition for public cloud services often is speed and flexibility.
For the private cloud, the value proposition VARs can leverage is server and storage resources managed as virtual resources. Security is another selling point, since a private cloud is a good match for businesses that need strong security and total control but still want some measure of flexible infrastructure.
Hybrid cloud solutions, on the other hand, often resonate for enterprises that have big investments in on-premise infrastructure. VARs should emphasize how prospects can move workloads between the private cloud and the public cloud.
In listening to the needs of the prospect, VARs also should consider whether the scalability of the cloud is a good sales proposition. For some firms that are growing rapidly or hammering marketing hard, the ability to quickly scale infrastructure both for spikes in traffic and in case a business needs to grow or adjust quickly can be a real selling point.
The cloud needs of businesses are not all the same, and VARs that take the time to listen before making their pitch can bring substantial value to the discussion and far more easily draw the sale. Meeting needs is the heart of every solution. But that takes knowing the needs of the customer first.