The Passion of Selling the Cloud
July 2, 2012 Leave a comment
- Hybrid cloud has scope to satisfy many needs
- Hybrid cloud requires a dispassionate sale
It is a common belief that the public face of selling requires passion. Pure cloud services, such as those from Google or Amazon, offer plain and direct solutions that can satisfy straightforward storage, compute and applications needs. So, pure cloud solutions play a useful role for IT managers. They can also be readily understood by customers and believed in by sales people. Hybrid cloud is, however, growing in popularity among buyers and sellers, because not all IT problems are straightforward and hybrid cloud offers wider choices to match more needs.
Businesses large and small often have intricate needs. Some IT managers must buy solutions to comply with inconvenient legal regulations that require data to stay within national boundaries, others need to conform to internal policies or vertical industry customs and practices over data residence. For some businesses, a wholesale move from traditional to cloud solutions is just too large a leap, and IT managers prefer to ease their organizations to the cloud through several, smaller steps.
All this can create additional complexity in IT problems and for cloud solutions and their sellers. Complexity warrants taking more time for the consideration of customer needs, and so implies a relationship sale, provided by people acting as account managers rather than sales executives (regardless of job title). Whether or not consultants, architects or technical salespeople are involved in defining the solutions, hybrid cloud offers require a dispassionate sale.
So, will account managers gravitate to hybrid cloud and sales execs focus on pure cloud offers? What relationship would you trust for initiating such strategic IT changes as shifting to the cloud? With buyers busy, they don’t necessarily have time or room in their lives to build new relationships with new account managers. That may mean buyers continuing to trust in the integrity of old account manager relationships even for new, rapidly changing solution options. If that happens, account managers and buyers may need to guard against a tendency to the status quo in solutions for complex needs – which will lose the benefit of new developments that the rapidly advancing cloud industry produces.
Hybrid cloud advocates will repeat the ‘one size does not fit all’ criticism of pure cloud, it’s hackneyed but only because it’s shorthand that’s commonly understood by buyers and sellers alike. Forcing pure cloud solutions onto more complex needs is counterproductive. It should not be missed, though, that ‘one size can fit many’ – so pure cloud solutions ought to be considered. For both the sell and buy side, to start solving the conundrum of who to work with for new cloud solutions, pure cloud and hybrid cloud providers will be most successful where they are clear upfront about where their solutions suit clients’ needs. Cloud is rapidly changing so genuine mistakes are inevitable in claims, but dispassionate sales and deal qualification are set for a more important role in the cloud.