With such a wide variety of competing cloud offerings in the market, solution providers offering cloud solutions and services are finding it ever more challenging to differentiate themselves and achieve the business growth they require.
Whether it's ISVs, systems integrators, cloud service providers, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) or any other iterations of cloud solutions As-a-Service, e.g. Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) or Backup as a Service (BaaS), the challenges of standing out in a crowded market are the same.
Competing in a mature, saturated market is not, however, a new business phenomenon. Organisations in every industry, and across every market, experienced similar challenges when the products and services they sold reached a market saturation point. When it comes to the cloud market, some might say that while it's saturated and crowded, it's not yet mature. (Source)
There are several distinct and proven strategies which you can leverage to grow your cloud services business in a saturated environment. While the key to competing in a crowded market is differentiating your services from those of your competitors, this is particularly tough if the differences can be indistinguishable by the end user prospect. And educating a prospect in the differences can be an expensive exercise, especially from a time and resource cost perspective.
Here are five strategies to make your cloud solutions and services stand out in a crowded market.
5 steps to making your cloud services stand out
1) Develop an effective marketing & sales strategy
'Be strategic' gets thrown around a lot, but the reality is that many organisations are not. This means that it's a fundamental opportunity to outperform competition.
Creating, developing and implementing an effective marketing and sales strategy is the first step in driving action to generate more demand for your cloud services business. Take an 'always on' approach to marketing and communications.
If you are a Channel Partner who is reselling the cloud services of a larger cloud platform provider, you can leverage this partnership for MDF funding as well as general marketing support. Our article How to unlock more meaningful vendor marketing funds to grow your channel business provides valuable guidance on this.
2) Focus on delivering business solutions outcomes
Organisations engage with service providers they trust. To build this confidence, your offering needs to add real value to a client's organisational strategy. This is especially powerful if it makes sense to non-IT business executives.
The approach of delivering business outcomes rather than just selling a service outright needs to flow right across marketing and sales. It's imperative that this includes marketing as well as members of Sales, Business Development, Pre-Sales, Field CTOs or Inside and Outside Sales teams. A deep understanding by each team member is required as to how to advise and deliver meaningful business outcomes for clients. This can represent a key differentiating and competitive advantage you need in a crowded market.
3) Constant adjustment & alignment to the market
Another strategic initiative which can help you develop better-qualified opportunities is aligning your communication plan with the pain points and current needs which exist in the market. For example, if the introduction of new legislation in the market requires the implementation of specific processes which your services could address, modifying your marketing message to cater to these requirements could help make your services more relevant to potential customers.
Targeting the correct decision makers or departments in an organisation is another alignment tactic which can help you generate more demand for your cloud services. Businesses need solutions, and often the need for these technical solutions exist in functional departments which may not be the IT department.
4) Don't forget your 'Customer Delight Phase'
Generating increasing demand for your cloud services is to guarantee you deliver value to your customers with superior execution and post-implementation support.
Ensuring you provide value to your customers helps build your track record in the market and further strengthens your position as a leader in the industry. Word of mouth is your most powerful marketing tool, and by proving you can deliver on your marketing goes a long way in building the trust you need to close more business.
5) Up-sell & cross-sell business solutions
Signing new customers requires effort. Building new relationships and gaining the trust of new prospects takes time and often results in a lower return on your marketing investment. Nurturing existing customers along a sales strategy transitions you to being perceived as a trusted adviser role with the client over time.
A crucial part of your marketing strategy and communications plan should, therefore, look to market your solutions to your existing customer base through either up-selling existing services or cross-selling new services. Key is having the ability to recognise client business objectives and propose effective solutions. These up-selling and cross-selling strategies should create a unified message built on the same strategic marketing plan developed for new customers.
A pragmatic approach is needed
Generating more demand for your cloud services requires a strategic process by working through a range of challenges. Want to discover the most common lead gen challenges MSPs, Channel Partners and resellers face?
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