Let’s not kid ourselves. There’s a lot of money to be made in the cloud. But if you’re not taking the right approach, you definitely won’t reap the benefits. To keep yourself on the right track to cloud success, you have to do more than just offer new services as they become available. You have to recognize your strengths as a cloud reseller and build a game plan to match them. It’s only when you’ve figured this out, that you’ll start to drive real growth.
SherWeb has been offering hosted services for over two decades. During this time, we’ve learned to reinvent ourselves and adapt to constant change in cloud technologies. It’s with good reason that we can now pass on our experience to our partners in our guide called the Roadmap to Cloud Success.
Here are a few best practices we’ve picked up along the way:
7 Tips to Cloud Success
1. Know Who You Are
How you approach the cloud market depends largely on what stage you’re at. This is why it’s important to understand where you are, adapt yourself accordingly and plan your next move. There are 3 stages in reselling cloud services: the Early Stage, the Mid-Stage and the Advanced Stage.
Our guide will give you detailed instructions on how to manage Marketing, Sales, Human Resources, Customer Service and Operations based on these three stages.
2. Start the Journey
When you first start thinking about selling cloud services, you’ll be looking for the right solutions to sell and how to market them. You should never ignore this step, even if you’ve been reselling IT services for a long time. Identify your target market, whether it’s vertical or horizontal. You might have multiple markets, so you have to consider this move carefully. Secondly, you have to look for the best vendor to help you through the sales lifecycle. Finally, you have to master subscription-based pricing and billing.
3. Keep Learning
Even if you’re a top-notch cloud reseller, there’s always room for improvement. Put together a strategic technology and business intelligence team and ask them to point out weak points in your offer. You’ll be able to identify other cloud solutions to complete your product offer and make yourself a one-stop shop for your clients. By turning weaknesses into opportunities and mastering new technologies, you can become a trendsetter your customers can trust for their future projects.
Our guide will show you a number of possibilities to make yourself a thought leader in the cloud. This includes writing blogs, collecting customer testimonials, publishing white papers, planning webinars, etc.
4. Market Online or Die Offline
Focus on digital marketing. This means you’ll have to build and maintain an online presence. If you’re offering hosted services, it’s only natural that you’d be on the Internet because that’s where your customers are searching for their next provider. In-person marketing activities remain relevant, but they shouldn’t be your major strategy.
Building a website that showcases precise product and contact information is a must. Don’t disappoint potential customers with poor response times. For example, if you add a live chat option to your website, make sure your customer service agents or sales reps are ready to respond. Your online reputation can determine your credibility as a Managed Service Provider. You have to monitor your social media accounts carefully and know what your customers say about you. The way you handle detractors will definitively have an impact on potential customers’ decisions to do business with you.
5. Master Recurring Revenue, Retention and Customer Service
When it comes to revenue, the cloud differs from traditional IT. Rather than earning a substantial amount of money for one deal, recurring revenue in the cloud means you’ll be paid monthly revenue for the services you sell. This is definitely a shift in your business management. In both cases, you’ll have to consider the impact of customer retention and churn. In other words, you’ll have to put a lot of effort in good customer service. You’ve seen the competition in the cloud market. You can’t afford to lose customers because of poor support. Many MSPs will even offer contracts with no commitment, so if you want to join the trend, make sure you have a good loyalty program.
6. Automate Your Purchase Experience
One of the benefits the cloud offers is automation. You’ll have to consider providing an automated portal for your customers so they can be totally autonomous when it comes to provisioning services, controlling their usage, paying bills and asking for help. Some providers will let you use a white-label version of their own partner portal to do this. Look for a vendor or distributor that gives you the most benefits, so you won’t need to spend money to develop your own management solutions. If it’s easy for a customer to sign up and buy from you, you’ll increase your chances for upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
7. Train and Motivate Your Sales Reps
You won’t be successful unless your staff is properly trained and paid a decent salary. Training your staff also means you’ll have to try the solutions you sell. Your vendor or distributor may include free licences for training or demos.
These are just a few steps in your journey as a cloud reseller. Remember, you’re not just selling products, you’re selling solutions. It’s important to understand your customers’ needs so you can provide them with the right offer.