We’ve been talking a lot about transitioning your services to the cloud. If you have not yet seen the three previous blog posts in our Cloud Profitability Program (CPP) series, read part 1, part 2, and part 3.
Get the word out
Today, let’s dig into marketing. Let’s assume you’ve taken the step to create some new cloud solutions offerings—or at least ideas—and are getting the technical pieces in place. How do you inform customers of these new offerings?
The role of marketing is more important in the cloud than it has been before.
When you think about a marketing and sales engine, the key word is “integrated.” Initial cloud deals may be smaller in nature, so you will need to focus on landing a higher velocity of leads. This is where you can rely on automation as well as creating a compelling marketing campaign.
Let’s focus primarily on lead generation. Whether you have a dedicated marketing team or work with an agency, the critical gateway between marketing and sales is generation of the lead. Leads for new business typically come from four sources:
Add-on services for existing clients
To spread the word, you’ll want to consider tools such as search engine optimization (SEO), events, and other outbound messaging to alert potential customers to your new offerings. It might also be beneficial to review past lead generation efforts to determine from which of these areas the bulk of your leads may be originating and what can be learned from that.
To learn more, watch the video for Module 4: Refining marketing – Generate more leads here.
Who has done this?
Microsoft partner IT provider InfinIT Consulting, founded in 2006, was already providing its own cloud-based email when Microsoft BPOS (the predecessor to Microsoft Office 365) entered the market in 2008. The company quickly shifted its business model to not just sell Microsoft cloud services, but to expand its own in-depth managed services offerings to cover them. It worked. Revenues, profitability, recurring income, income per employee—they’re all up.
InfinIT’s embrace of the cloud goes far beyond offering Microsoft cloud services and support for them. The company has remade both its own offerings and its marketing for the cloud. The company’s cloud services also include secure backup and recovery, unified communications, and a cloud configurator tool. Its private cloud offerings include server and application hosting, virtual desktops, and a comprehensive “virtual office.”
And the company has earned just about every Microsoft cloud distinction it’s possible to earn, both to optimize its provision of cloud services and as a marketing tool to demonstrate its expertise in those services. While InfinIT continues to offer enterprise IT project and consulting services, anyone landing on the company’s website will immediately understand that InfinIT is “all in” when it comes to the cloud.
Shifting from project services to managed services to cloud services has required a shift in InfinIT’s business model, too. Because deal sizes for both managed services and the cloud tend to be smaller than for traditional project deals, InfinIT needs a larger customer base, and a greater volume of potential customers in its pipeline. It also needs to close deals much faster.
To increase the pipeline, InfinIT conducts more marketing events, both live and over the web. It has added sales reps and given engineers some responsibility for sales. “To make the cloud work, you can’t afford to have the business owner do all the selling; you need a sales force,” says Jerod Powell, Founder and CEO of InfinIT Consulting.
This post is part of a series on the Cloud Profitability Program (CPP), which offers online, on-demand video modules to help you and your organization transition to the cloud. You can find the full five-part set of modules here. Look for the next module on closing more business soon.