Whilst in the early days of cloud it was seen as very much a buzzword, cloud and all of its related services have now begun to take off in a big way. Businesses recognise the benefits that it has to offer – namely that it’s cheaper, more flexible and incredibly scalable. If you’re an IT business that’s recently decided to branch out into selling cloud services such as hosted desktop, then read on for our top tips for selling cloud effectively to businesses.
#1: Cut Out the Jargon
One of the reasons that many businesses become frustrated with the technology industry is the overuse of jargon. Cloud is no different and there are so many different models that not only is it difficult to define and describe to the lay person, but it can also be confusing and therefore lead to frustration.
Businesses don’t really care about the deployment level and the technicalities that come with cloud when they are buying, they care about the benefits to themselves and their profit margins.
With that in mind, when selling cloud services:
- Set out the business benefits
- Remain as non-technical as possible
- Stay away from terms such as SaaS, IaaS, PaaS and others that muddy the waters
- Go into long descriptions on how servers work within the data centre
- Use jargon terms
- Be patronising
Use analogies where necessary to help customers to understand what the cloud is all about. Just like many people imagine the internet as living somewhere above their heads, many people have misconceptions about the cloud that are easily overcome just with a good analogy.
#2: Focus on Business Outcomes
As mentioned above, the customer values what the cloud can bring to the business. Look at ways that cloud can help the business and make sure that during initial contact you listen to the customer and understand their business needs. If you really pin down the value for them then you have a much better chance of making that sale.
For example, perhaps a SME is thinking of deploying to the cloud using hosted desktop so that they can enable remote working. Or perhaps they are interested in cloud because they have a lot of field agents. Bearing this in mind, you can set out:
- The ease of connection to work applications from anywhere
- Improved productivity figures for collaborative workers
- Ability for field agents to close a sale on the spot and update database
You’re much more likely to make that sale if you can make the customer understand what benefits the cloud brings them.
#3: Be Confident in Your Product and Know it Well
It’s no use going in to sell cloud services if you’re not aware of everything that it does, or if you let the customer decide what they need without expert advice. Make sure that you know your product inside out and if you have case studies, use them. Many customers will be tech savvy to a degree, but that doesn’t mean that they know exactly what they need, it’s up to you to tell them which product is going to meet their needs.
Again, understand your customer and their business and everything will fall into place nicely. A customer that has a business problem, even if they’re not aware of it, is looking to you for the solution, so ensure that you give it to them.
#4: Show not Tell
You could talk about the virtues of cloud all day long and still get nothing back but a blank stare. Instead, show the products off and go right into what they can do – if you’re selling hosted desktop, show the office administrator how they can adjust the desktop to suit themselves, just as they can on the usual office desktop machine.
Likewise, productivity and collaboration are now a linked in a positive way, so demonstrate how you can connect to the office and work with others in a shared workspace. Connect to the applications people know and love, such as Microsoft Office products and you’ll be surprised how quickly people come round to the idea of using cloud products such as virtual desktops.
#5: Overcome Cloudy Objections
With any sale comes resistance and cloud is no different, so be prepared for difficult questions and make sure that you can answer them honestly and comprehensively. For example, many people are still wary when it comes to the security of cloud products and storage, so make sure that you can answer.
In fact, cloud computing is more secure because:
- It has automatic backup procedures
- It’s not all kept onsite
- Data centres tend to have physical security as well as high-end software and hardware capabilities that far outstrip most businesses
There are bound to be other questions, such as worrying about auditing processes, fear that they don’t fully control their data and so on, so ensure that you have all of the answers that will set the business owner’s mind at rest.
Progress is a wonderful thing but at the same time, you’re going to meet resistance from potential customers that don’t understand the cloud model, so it’s up to you to allay fears and ensure the benefits are clear. Once you have the knack, it’s almost a given that the customer will begin to see how great cloud products are and you will have a very happy customer!