Sales and marketing teams face a real challenge when it comes to finding new prospects, qualifying leads and converting sales for their cloud services.
Business leaders tend to prefer to stick with what they know when it comes to technology. Everyone's too flat out already in their business anyways, unless something is critical or going to add immediate benefit.
This means that unless your prospective end customer is already seeking a cloud migration solution and/or a cloud-based subscription model for their business, it can be very difficult for sales and marketing to lead with a comprehensive solution. Educating prospects becomes an expensive and lengthy marketing and sales exercise, and generally produces less than ideal results. Waiting for Requests for Proposals (RfPs) or tender opportunities aren't productive lead gen or sales strategies either. (That being said, successful outcomes for large tenders tend to represent dramatic results for sales targets.)
A methodical, strategic approach is needed to get your prospects and customers to the cloud
This means a pragmatic strategy is needed to transition prospects to customers and to expand on how you service your customers increasingly over time.
Business prudence dictates that when implementing an organisational change, you take it one step at a time. As you engage with your customer, it is therefore critical to choose the correct cloud service which will allow them to take that crucial first step towards a cloud migration.
Many MSPs prefer to wait until a customer need organically presents itself. Some even call this 'solution selling', but this approach tends to look a lot more like 'waiting for new business to fall in our lap' selling.
Many MSP business leaders and Sales Directors are looking for a proactive approach to their lead gen and lead nurturing.
So what's the best way to start the conversation with prospects and customers?
Start with low impact services
If we look at the scope of cloud services available today, there are a few which organisations can benefit from immediately which will not impact their day-to-day operations.
Backup, DR, and to some extent, cyber security live on the periphery of IT operations, but are much needed. They're generally affordable for the customer, and make a lot of business sense when offered in a managed service model.
Discussing opportunities for a customer to move their backup or DR to the cloud takes much less effort than trying to persuade them to start with something that is critical to their IT operations.
You can easily argue that moving these services can help them test the waters without impacting their business, and illustrate the ROI benefits they gain, including reduced costs, increased efficiencies, and superior features.
Cybersecurity covers a sizeable functional area with solutions which range from anti-malware to penetration testing. Like backup and DR, some cybersecurity services live on the periphery, and migrating specific edge services to the cloud can occur without impacting business operations.
Again, you can use this to your advantage as you guide your customer on their cloud journey, as they can test the functionality and see the benefits without disrupting their operations.
Entrench yourself as your customer’s strategic cloud adviser
Using these strategies which start your customer on their cloud journey without impacting their operations gives you the opportunity to begin the cloud conversation without facing the usual objections to change.
Furthermore, as these opportunities help you entrench yourself as the customer’s strategic cloud adviser, you can start working more closely with them to formulate a strategy to migrate more of their services to the cloud.
For example, you can help them sort out their DR planning, then Business Continuity, move on to networking, manage their licenses, administer their Office 365, and then protect their Exchange with Backup for Office 365.
Regular failover testing enables your client to experience a cloud environment and then all of a sudden, the leadership team is ready to discuss a cloud migration journey or a hybrid cloud strategy with you.
Sales & marketing strategies working together toward the same goal
The future of marketing strategy and sales strategy is that they become synonymous. Taking a strategic approach to your marketing and lead gen investment can give you the distinct competitive advantage.
With marketing efforts geared to generate demand for the low impact services and enabling pathways for lead qualification, sales teams can convert with clear intention of expanding to cloud services over time.
It's vital that these work together in unison.
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