If you think this conversation can wait, you need to think again. Organizations are adopting cloud at a furious rate, with many either actively deploying or making plans to do so. IT investment in the cloud is higher than ever before, and cloud solutions will drive nearly all revenue growth.
Although annual spending growth is expected to slow somewhat over the 2016-2021 forecast period, the market is forecast to achieve a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.9% with public cloud services spending totaling $277 billion in 2021.
Things to Consider Prior to the Conversation
Customer Pain Points
How will cloud solve their problems and address key business challenges such as supporting major project initiatives, addressing budgetary constraints, or delivering access to information on any device at any time? View these issues as opportunities for proposing a cloud-based solution that will ramp up faster for less money than a traditional on-premises solution.
Know Your Audience
Start with your current customer base whom you already know and view you as a trusted advisor. Reach out to them about what is going on in their organization and position yourself as a sympathetic ear with the answer to their problems. Think of ways to assist with operational excellence, as well as improve their cashflow. They will appreciate the fresh and proactive approach.
Cloud Maturity Level
Your customers are at different stages in their cloud journey. Sound them out by asking a few basic questions that will allow you to understand your customer’s readiness to transition to the cloud and help you move at a pace that is comfortable for them, using language they understand.
1. Are you considering cloud solutions? If not, why?
2. How long have you been evaluating cloud solutions?
3. What solutions have you been considering?
The Target and the Challenge
Business leaders constantly look for ways to do more with fewer resources, lower their costs and deliver better quality products. These are the people with whom you want to engage; and these challenges are at the heart of any investment decision. When you understand these issues, you will have a catalyst for a sales opportunity that only you know about.
So what questions to do you ask business leaders to obtain this information? Ask open-ended questions like:
4. Do you feel your IT operations are running efficiently?
5. Are you satisfied with your ability to implement your strategic initiatives?
6. Is budget affecting your ability to implement your programs or provide service?
7. What are your pain points and barriers to entry?
The goal is to determine if there is need and a willingness to pay for a solution. Explore this challenge thoroughly, identifying scope, timeline, financial impact and severity of the issue. The more severe the issues, the more likely it is an immediate investment will be forthcoming.
Qualifying Questions to Ask
Once you have pinpointed the problem, start asking qualifying questions that will help you define the perfect solution. A common issue that is a good cloud conversation entry point with a high return on investment is backup and disaster recovery. In a backup discovery conversation, questions like these may be helpful:
8. How much data do you back up?
9. How often are you doing backups?
10. How much time do your backups take to complete?
11. How often do you test to make sure your backup is working?
12. How will you restore operation with your backups in the event of a major data center disruption?
13. What would be the impact to the business be if a backup or recovery failed?
14. Who is impacted by this failure?
15. Reaffirm intentions: “If we could solve this, would you be willing to make this investment this quarter (or this year)?”
The Conversation Is Started. Now What?
Now you have not only started your cloud conversation, but you are most of the way through it and ready to seal the deal. So next, you must find out who makes the purchase decision and if it is not the person you have been speaking with, ask for an introduction or referral. If the project is particularly complex, there may be more than one person responsible, so be prepared. Plan for ways to gain their trust and have them become a champion for your solution. The rest is up to you!
If you would like more information about how to begin selling cloud services, contact Arrow at 877.558.6677 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.