Selling Cloud: Almost as Easy as Selling Girl Scout Cookies5 Oct, 2015 By: Jonathan Garber
Ah, the rites of passage. In particular, I’m thinking about my daughter’s first year in the Girl Scouts, and of course, our first official Girl Scouts “cookie season.” During the cookie season, I would lament, “I wish my job was as easy as selling Girl Scout cookies!” No, I’m not hitting you up to buy some. In fact, that’s the point.
This year, not only could you order online through each scout’s individual e-commerce portal (how’s that for high-tech?) you could even sponsor boxes to be sent to active-duty military service persons. I think that’s great!
Now, I’ve helped the kids with different fundraisers in the past, like walkathons and candy bar sales. Some people will support them enthusiastically and others may feel obligated or even guilty by “cute-kid puppy-dog eyes” so feel the need to buy. I even sent out the obligatory notice to my business network but I included the caveat, “Don’t feel like you have to buy! We’ll sell these out no matter what.”
And I was right. Simply put, there is no easier sale in the world than Girl Scout cookies.
That got me thinking about Technology Services Sales.
Even a basic Managed Services Plan can enjoy the “broken clock syndrome”- that is, it’s right at least twice per day. What about The Cloud? Selling Cloud Solutions is a different animal. It’s not enough to put a landing page on your website and saying “We have cloud” then sit back to collect the orders. Unlike with Girl Scout cookies, selling cloud requires real leadership.
The first bit of good news is that your clients are already looking to you for leadership. They expect you to understand their strategic business needs, and bring them innovative solutions that add value and move them toward their goals. They’re expecting that.
Are you delivering that leadership? If not, someone else is likely to come in behind you and question all the assumptions that are in play in your client’s business. What will you do then?
In that respect, selling cloud is like Girl Scout cookies. Frankly, these girls were fierce competitors staking out neighborhood blocks and grocery store entrances. Sometimes, I felt like I was waiting for a number from West Side Story to break out! But seriously, the demand for the cookies is already there... just like the demand for leadership and innovation that is bubbling up in the business world. Even the smallest businesses are looking for a technological edge that will allow them to compete better and work smarter. I’m fond of saying “All roads lead to the cloud. Who will take your clients there?”
This is a tough question that many Technology Partners like you are afraid to face. But if you want to win and win big in 2016, isn’t it time to ask the tough & valuable questions? The questions to ask when selling Girl Scout Cookies are pretty simple. Which flavor? How many?
Sure, the questions to ask your clients about their cloud needs are more complicated. The business pressure to buy is already there. You need only open the spigot. Try saying, for instance, “Do you wish your team could be more mobile; spending more quality time in the field, but staying connected?”
Who would say “No” to that? Indeed, mobility is one of the top drivers to the cloud. However, many companies don’t know how to probe for value, much less design / implement / support a proper solution, so they settle for entry level file sharing products.
It can be easy to open a conversation that leads to The Cloud. The good news is, you can find qualified providers to assist you here. Our company has put together a video training course on identifying cloud opportunities, positioning cloud and selling cloud. We’ve also built an entire roadmap to being successful selling cloud. We refer to it as “The Yellow Brick Road.” This contains all the sales, marketing and technical tools you need to establish and build a highly-profitable cloud practice within your business.
I can’t promise you it will be quite as easy as selling Girl Scout cookies, but it will be a whole lot easier with a good plan and the right partner by your side.