Cloud Series, Part II
Success Strategies for Courting Today's Cloud Buyer
By George Mellor, KloudReadiness, and Theresa Caragol, Achieve Unite
Selling technology solutions used to be a rinse and repeat process: engage IT department, pitch speeds and feeds/technology benefits, negotiate price and repeat. But the digitization of business has changed the buying process. Today's organizations are looking to drive business outcomes and be competitive in the market. The technology solutions they seek need to support these objectives while yielding ROI within six months of deployment.
Driving this process change is the maturation of the cloud market
- First, cloud solutions have radically changed the rate of innovation, which has promoted technology decisions to a strategic level of importance with organizations.
- Second, the efficiencies created by cloud solutions have created an opportunity for line of business (LOB) leaders to reduce operating expenses by shifting business functions to cloud solutions. With this change comes the introduction and proliferation of line of business decision makers into the technology buying process.
These trends radically shift the game for Solution Providers, requiring them to court multiple decision makers within a single organization. The question is: With 50% of technology buyers sitting outside of the IT organization (source: CompTIA), how does a SP develop a sales strategy to effectively reach today's decision maker?
Good question. The answer lies in developing a detailed profile of your target customer. Targeting a specific vertical and then building stakeholder personas for your target vertical will enable you to focus on relevant pain points and priorities. These buyer personas might fit into three (3) categories:
- The CIO and traditional IT buyer: The CIO may not initiate the buying decision but he or she or the team will most likely be brought in to validate and provide the final stamp of approval. If IT is going to be responsible for making sure it works with other systems and securing it, then the department will likely be a part of the process.
- The operational buyer: These folks are typically in positions that want to make large scale operations run more smoothly. A CRO (Chief Revenue Officer) looking to streamline sales activities or a supply chain manager who would like to make sure the inventory systems are functioning properly and are easy to use.
- General business systems buyer: Think HR, finance, legal, or marketing folks. These buyers tend to do a great deal of their own research and may engage in free trials before they bring in the technology IT team to vet the system.
In doing so, you will not only speak in a language that resonates in the industry in which your prospective customers play but also develop industry-relevant, compelling reference success stories. Solution Providers who become laser focused on business outcomes and the "new IT buyer" will win the trust that's required to build long-term relationships and deliver meaningful business outcomes for their customers.
Read our next blog to learn about the 4 business factors that can help you accelerate your cloud practice.
Theresa Caragol is founder and CEO of TCC, LLC, and Achieve Unite, a strategic advisory firm that provides business acceleration services to global enterprise. She has more than 20 years' experience in building and managing multi-million-dollar indirect channel teams and strategic alliance business and programs from inception to sales success. Prior to founding TCC, Theresa held senior executive roles at Extreme Networks, Ciena and Nortel.