The cloud computing craze is on, and it seems to get more confusing every day. In the high tech world, if your company is not already offering a “cloud solution” it is most likely working like mad to design one and take it to market. As many high tech companies jump on the cloud computing bandwagon, their sales and marketing leaders must adapt the sales force accordingly. As with most big trends in technology, the answer is anything but one size fits all. The impact and implications depend significantly on the type of cloud solution you are selling. Consider the following factors:
Are you a Service Provider, Enabler, or Broker? Cloud Service Providers, as the name implies, sell services. They care about customer acquisition, retention and increasing monthly or annual revenue per customer. Cloud Enablers offer hardware, software and networking equipment to service providers. Brokers act as a channel to extend market reach. To complicate matters, a cloud solution provider may act as a service provider, enabler, and a broker.
Pure play or hybrid? Pure play companies operate using a services revenue model and sales model. Hybrid companies that only sold license software or servers at one time and now offer hosted software, or perhaps grid computing services must learn how to manage a services revenue model and sales model. Services sales can entail negotiating complex contractual terms, crediting rules, and customer support issues. Hybrids face significant challenges and questions as they learn to balance two very different revenue and go-to-market models.
Are you selling SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS? (Software, Platform, or Infrastructure as a Service). SaaS buyers want to use the application. PaaS buyers want to develop solutions using your hosted platform. IaaS buyers are simply renting space – typically storage, hardware, server space, etc. In each case the buyer and buying process is different, requiring a different sales approach.
Is it mission critical, or nice to have? Tier 1 applications will go through strenuous proof testing to ensure adequate security, reliability and accessibility. A consultative selling approach is needed with capable technical sales support. On the other hand, nice to have applications might be purchased with the simple swipe of a credit card online or over the phone, requiring little support from sales resources.
Clearly, cloud solutions come in a rainbow of colors. In addition to the above, other key factors such as target market (enterprise vs. SMB vs. consumer), average selling price, and solution quality also impact the type of sales model needed. The evolution to cloud computing requires sales leaders to consider all of these factors carefully and deliberately. Thankfully they are not alone.
The Alexander Group has helped hundreds of sales leaders to effectively transform their sales organizations. Sales leaders can rely on our expertise for industry knowledge, market benchmarks and best practices developed from nearly 30 years of practicing sales strategy consulting to help them break through the haze. In Technicolor.