@melimulhol , https://www.linkedin.com/in/melissa-mulholland/


As a thought leader driving worldwide strategy and business development for Microsoft partners, I focus on enabling partners and customers to accelerate their business transformation by delivering increased profitability, efficiency, and scale across Microsoft’s cloud services. Over the past 8 years at Microsoft, I have worked closely with the partner ecosystem and have seen that transformation take place. I am passionate about driving sustainable long-term profitability for businesses in the cloud and I am excited to share those insights into how to build and grow profitable cloud businesses in blogs and conversations.

As a Microsoft partner, driving your next cloud sale must always be top of mind. Chances are you have come across at least one customer who is unfamiliar with the cloud and may be sitting on the fence when it comes to considering your offer. So how do you convince them? Equally important, how do you deploy your solution seamlessly?

While conducting research for the Microsoft Cloud Practice Development Study, partners told us that their number one pain point in building a cloud practice was overcoming cloud objections from customers.

With that in mind, we’ve come up with three simple steps to help you close and implement your next cloud deal with Microsoft Azure.

Step 1: Educate your customers

“The initial challenge was trying to educate customers on the benefits of why you would want to own or outsource expensive architecture environments.”
-Laura Mead, Microsoft Alliance Director, Solidsoft

Inevitably, some customers may not be familiar with the cloud, so it’s important to help them understand what the cloud is — and more important, what it can do for them. Explain how cloud services can have a positive impact on their business. Or, if they’re not ready to migrate, talk about hybrid options. Consider highlighting Microsoft Azure benefits like:

  • It’s open and flexible — meaning you can quickly build apps using any language, tool, or framework.
  • It offers the unique ability to go hybrid, where customers can integrate public cloud solutions with their existing IT environment.
  • And it offers reliability and high availability with a 99.95% monthly SLA and automatic OS and service patching.

Watch this video for more tips on how to respond effectively to potential Azure customer objections.

Step 2: Speak to their pain points

Many businesses who are not already operating in the cloud don’t know what they’re missing. Every company has problems they are looking to solve, and it’s your job to identify specific solutions that make their lives easier. Virtual machine deployment, data backup, disaster recovery, and website hosting are all common areas where Azure can help solve customer problems.

Step 3: Address security concerns

More than anything, customers want to know their information is going to be secure. Talk to customers openly about their security concerns and then lay those fears to rest by explaining the security features that are built into the Microsoft Azure cloud experience.

Common Azure security topics

  • Manage and control identity and user access. Azure helps you protect business and personal information by enabling you to manage user identities and credentials and control access.
  • Increase network and infrastructure security. Azure infrastructure security relies on secure practices and technologies to connect virtual machines to each other and to on-premises datacenters while blocking unauthorized traffic.
  • Encrypt communications and operation processes. Azure uses industry-standard protocols to encrypt data in transit as it travels between devices and Microsoft data centers and as it moves within data centers and data at rest in Azure Storage.
  • Defend against threats. Microsoft continuously monitors servers, networks, and applications to detect threats. The Azure multipronged threat management approach includes technologies and processes to constantly strengthen its defenses and reduce risks.

“It’s all about selling comfort — making customers believe that cloud is a great choice and that their information is safe. We try to use examples of cloud technology they may already be using, which they don’t understand is the cloud. So, it’s making them aware that they are probably already using cloud technology today.”
-Brian Cook, Co-Founder/CEO, Hyperfish

You can find more tips like these, along with practical guidance on developing a successful and profitable cloud practice, in our new Cloud Practice Development Playbooks. I hope you find these tips helpful as you help your customers on their journey to the cloud.

Have you used any of these steps to close and implement cloud deals? Share your thoughts in the comments below.