Selling a Cloud Solution: 3 Critical Requirements that Deliver Real Business Value


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As more and more organizations decide they want to pro-actively position their solutions for consumption in the cloud, I thought I’d take some time to pass on a few of the main messages I’ve been hearing from businesses that buy cloud solutions. To follow are three critical requirements from a customer perspective that must be met in order for them to make a buying decision in favor of a cloud solution.

When businesses decide they are going to purchase a cloud solution instead of an on-premise one, we need to understand what they want to buy. Most business decision makers do not view cloud as simply being an alternate deployment method for business applications. Instead they view it as a way to outsource all of the IT requirements for an entire business solution. It is critical therefore, that we structure our cloud offerings in a way that allows them to meet that objective.

That means creating and marketing services that will allow customers to remove all application dependent in-house IT requirements by taking over responsibility for security, data conversion, conectivity, integration to other on-premise and cloud applications, maintenance, back up, upgrades, identity management, provisioning and decommissioning of users, help desk, client device support, end user training, as well as any regulatory compliance requirements for their data.

Positioning your cloud solution to provide all these services in addition to your cloud applications will provide you with additional revenue opportunities, and ultimately more highly satisfied customers.

  • No. 2: Faster Deployment i.e. Time to Value

The days are over when a vendor would capture a prospect early enough in their buying cycle to help them determine how best to solve a specific business problem, then offer a complex rework of the prospects’ current systems, business processes and licensed applications. Now most cloud prospects do not approach solution vendors to get help solving a business problem. Today prospects have most likely already self-diagnosed their problem, evaluated potential solutions on-line, conferred with their peers, shortlisted potential vendors, and that’s why they are talking to you.

To develop a meaningful long term relationship with this type of buyer you need to be able to convince them you understand what they are telling you, know their industry, can provide them with the solution they are looking for quickly without a lot of complex project scoping or ambiguous pricing, and that you have a reputation for delivering what you promise. Only after a successful initial engagement will you have earned the right to go back in and cross sell and upsell in a more consultative way. This type of buying behaviour underscores the need for you to position everything you think they’ll need upfront as clearly defined packaged and managed services that will ensure a fast deployment that delivers good business value right out of the gate.

  • No. 3: Predictable Total Cost of Ownership

There should be no surprise costs with cloud solutions. Implementation costs should be predictable, and subscription-based pricing should be transparent with no hidden fees. Despite the fact that cloud based solutions may seem like they require a lesser commitment than comparable on-premise solutions, most cloud buyers do not view them that way. After they have taken the time and spent the money to implement a cloud solution to solve a business problem, the last thing they want to do is scrap their progress and start again.

Making sure that you have packaged and sold your customers a complete solution that allows them to achieve their goals and trim costs is critical to retaining long term satisfied customers who will provide you with good subscribable revenue streams for years to come. Focus on satisfying your prospects business case for choosing cloud in the first place.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Tim Heintzman
Tim is dedicated to helping clients find the focus they need to optimize their sales and marketing engines by more effectively managing their teams and individuals. His expertise is rooted in 25 years of professional and managerial experience, including senior roles held with globally prominent software companies like SAP and Oracle. Currently, he is president of PATH Strategies Inc., a consulting company that works with companies in the high-tech marketplace.


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