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How to Sell Cloud Computing Services to Your Clients

By Jess Coburn: Founder & Chief Executive Officer

While plenty of technology professionals are pretty excited about the cloud, many traditional business executives may be reluctant and might not welcome a transition to the cloud with open arms. When offering cloud services, technology providers often jump into describing the typical benefits that the cloud offers with the expectation of enthusiastic adoption. The frustration that follows after an organization opts to avoid cloud computing—or chooses another vendor that is not the best fit for their needs—is both understandable and avoidable.

The following guide reviews how to sell cloud-computing services to your clients. We’ll explore some high-level concepts to keep in mind when offering cloud services as part of AwesomeCloud’s Cloud Reseller Program. As your client’s technology advisor and, most importantly, technology educator, you’ll be:

  1. Explaining the Fundamentals of Cloud Computing
  2. Relating Cloud Computing with Analogies
  3. Identifying Organizational Benefits of Cloud Computing
  4. Overcoming Objections to Cloud Computing
  5. Recommending Deployment Models

Put another way, approaching your clients from the position of a service provider and technology educator improves the possibility of convincing your client’s decision maker to take a chance on the cloud.

 

1. Explaining the Fundamentals of Cloud Computing

When our partners have questions about how to sell cloud computing services, taking a step back to review how they explain the concept of cloud computing services is a great starting point. Although the textbook definition of cloud computing has been repeated ad nausea by business leaders across the globe, elegantly defining and explaining cloud computing can be challenging. To make matters worse, meteorological themed stock photography and intricate networking diagrams can leave non-technical decision makers desperate for a communicator who is able to summarize what cloud computing actually is.

With that in mind, you need to deliver an accessible and succinct definition of cloud computing so that your sales prospects spend the bulk of their time with you weighing the pros and cons, not deciphering what it is that you’re trying to sell them. Here’s a quick way of describing cloud computing that avoids terminology like “scalability.”

“Cloud computing is using the Internet to deliver hardware and software services instead of keeping physical hardware and software at your office. Cloud computing providers deliver hardware and software over the Internet. Cloud computing users access hardware and software over the Internet.”

After scraping away all the technical terminology (scalability, security, licensing, CAPEX reductions, etc.), you’re left with the statement above. While this is not an official definition that meets the criteria laid out by technology think tanks, it’s an easy way to keep the conversation moving with your sales prospect.

By providing an explanation for cloud service providers and cloud computing users, you’re giving your client a frame of reference for each of your roles when using the cloud.

In Explaining the Fundamentals of Cloud Computing we discuss providing your sales prospects with background on cloud computing including when this technology was first unveiled, the different types of cloud products and service offerings, and more. Read More…
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2. Relating Cloud Computing with Analogies:

We recommend using analogies to our partners who have questions about how to sell cloud computing services. Using analogies will help prospective clients, who have a basic understanding of technology, to better grasp the cloud, and it will be far easier for them than if you were to jump straight into the networking fundamentals (that’s later in the buying process).

Since the fundamental concepts of cloud computing are not new, the roots of cloud computing go back to the basic architecture and operations of the Internet. The analogies you can use to relate the cloud are unlikely to change in the near future.

Here are a few examples and analogies you can use with your clients to help them quickly grasp the cloud:

“Cloud computing is like giving your IT department thermostats that they can turn on, up, down or off, based on their needs. Need extra processing power to cover your peak period? Crank it up—and then turn it down when you’re finished.”

“Cloud computing is like plugging into a central power grid instead of generating your own power.”

Mentioning Salesforce.com is a great example because decisions makers often use Salesforce.com and are familiar with the benefits that come with external databases. Your prospect has probably already spent plenty of time logging into their Salesforce.com accounts from various location with an Internet connection and using the service without installing software. Ask your prospect to think of cloud software as an online service they log into.

Explaining cloud infrastructure (hardware) using analogies may seem to be a little more intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Using the Salesforce.com example above also works for cloud hardware because every decision maker understands that there is a well-oiled, efficient machine behind every product and service we use. Ask your prospects to think of cloud hardware as the nuts and bolts that power their climate control.

In Cloud Computing Analogies & Examples, we do a in-depth overview of cloud computing analogies and examples that you can use to help improve your sales pitch and land new clients. Read More…

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3. Identifying Organizational Benefits of Cloud Computing

The list of cloud computing benefits can be exhaustive. However, there are several features that most organizations using cloud computing can benefit from, including:

  • Business Agility: If your clients are interested in spending more of their time focused on their business strategy instead of their technology, you may find it extremely relevant to discuss the virtues of turning their technology headaches into your job as part of a managed service.
  • Reduced Capital Expenditures: Minimizing capital and operational expenses is essential for small to medium-sized businesses. When you offer cloud services to your clients, be sure to explain that they’ll be moving from large, upfront capital expenditures to small monthly payments.
  • Scalability: If your clients have peak seasons or bring on seasonal employees, cloud computing is a great way for them to meet their seasonal demands without purchasing hardware and software that will go unused during the slower times of the year.
  • Anywhere Access: One of the major benefits of cloud computing is having access to your computing resources, regardless of where you are. Your clients can access their cloud services as long as they have access to the Internet.

As far as recommendations we make when our partners have questions about how to sell cloud-computing services, listing the above benefits is a “no-brainer.” Articulating these benefits in a way that is specific to your client or prospect is a fantastic way to make your sales pitch more relevant. In Cloud Computing Benefits for Small Business & Enterprises, we do a in-depth overview of key benefits and how they relate to small, medium, and large businesses. Read More…

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4. Overcoming Objections to Cloud Computing

Overcoming objections to cloud computing is key to providing guidance around how to sell cloud computing services. After delivering a well-rehearsed and polished presentation regarding the cloud-computing benefits that relate specifically to your prospect, you’ll likely need to address and overcome objections or rebuttals. There’s always a devil’s advocate or skeptic in the room. If you take some time to genuinely address concerns, you stand a better chance of winning clients over to the cloud. Several of the common objections you’ll receive include the following:

Objection: How do I know that the cloud is secure? Does it meet regulatory requirements?

Response: Because your clients’ data will reside at our flagship data center, Verizon Terremark’s NAP of the Americas, you can assure your clients that they will benefit from SSAE 16 certification (previously SAS 70).

Objection: Will my cloud services always be available? What happens if the cloud goes down?

Response: As a cloud services reseller, you can pass on AwesomeCloud’s 100% up-time service level agreement to each of your clients.

Objection: What kind of technical support is available?

Response: We recommend reminding your clients that your organization offers 24/7/365 support to each of your clients that is designed to quickly resolve any issues that may come up. If a serious issue arises that requires the assistance of the AwesomeCloud team, you can always reach one of our U.S.A-based technical support team members 24/7/365.

In How to Overcome Cloud Computing Objections, we do a deep dive into addressing and overcoming some of the most common objections to cloud computing. Read More…

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5. Recommending Deployment Models

Recommending the right type of cloud deployment for each of your clients can help transition you from reading articles about how to sell cloud computing services to reading guides about the best practices for deploying the services you’ve sold.

Based on your experience with your client’s organization and its unique needs, you can determine what type of cloud computing deployment is a good fit for that particular organization. Here’s a brief breakdown of the three major cloud deployment models and the types of organizations that are a good fit for each.

  • Public Clouds: Most organizations benefit from the public cloud due to economic advantages, metered usage, and the fact that public cloud enables organizations to focus more of their time on their strategies instead of managing on-premise technology..
  • Private Clouds: If your client is looking for additional control and an added level of security, we suggest discussing private-cloud deployments. A private cloud is built exclusively for a single organization, providing it with access to the entire pool of available computing resources.
  • Hybrid Clouds: When your client doesn’t fit neatly into a public or private cloud, hybrid-cloud deployments are available. Hybrid clouds combine the scalability and economic benefits of the public cloud with the security and control of the private cloud.

If one of your clients asks about the different types of cloud computing, it’s a sign that you have that client’s attention and that he or she is seriously considering a move to the cloud. We suggest that you develop an in-depth understanding of the ways that each of the above deployment models would impact your clients; you may even want to go so far as to prepare alternative scenarios for each deployment model.

In Cloud Deployment Models, we do a deep dive into reviewing and recommending the most appropriate type of cloud deployment for your sales prospect. Read More…

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6. Wrapping Things Up

If you’ve made it this far, chances are you’re pretty serious about selling cloud-computing services to your clients. Not every client you work with will embrace the cloud; but if you take some time to hone your sales pitch, you’ll have a better chance of aligning your prospective client’s needs with the cloud services you offer as part of our Cloud Reseller Program.

As more organizations realize that cloud computing can securely drive their routine and mission-critical business operations, you gain a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on the growth of cloud computing by making it part of your product line. For more information about becoming a part of our partner program, please email me at jess@awesomecloud.com or complete a brief online form.

We hope the above guide reviewing how to sell cloud computing services to your clients is helpful.