In my last blog, I introduced the topic of “Selling it Right” as a best practice for driving adoption of Microsoft Cloud Services. I wanted to spend some time drilling into this concept a bit more this week. Over the last several months I have interviewed partners about their approach to driving purchase and adoption of Microsoft Cloud Services.
One of the topics that came up in virtually every conversation was the concept of what it means to “Sell it Right.” Here are some top takeaways from my interviews:
  • Do your homework and lead with customer needs. If you want to build trust and credibility with your customers and prospects, invest time in understanding the pain they are facing in their business. Gather data directly from the prospect, the Microsoft account team and online materials about the prospect, then source industry and vertical data to round out your understanding of the pain points they may be facing. Here are some questions to consider and to ask your customers:
    • Where is your customer experiencing pain in their business?
    • How can you help the customer be more profitable?

The next step is to leverage this information to create a unique pitch to the customer demonstrating that you understand their business and can address their needs and pain points.

  • Find your niche. Many of the most successful partners have realized that they can’t be all things to all people and that they can offer better support to their customers and drive strong sales performance if they focus on a customer segment and/or vertical or industry. This strategy also allows partners to command premium rates or fees, which results in higher gross profit margins and more efficient and repeatable projects overall. This is a particularly important principle for partners who are developing vertically focused intellectual property and want to develop a plan to take their solutions to market.

  • Consider customer lifetime value. The concept of customer lifetime value is critical to building a successful project and managed services business. Research tells us that most customers only want to leverage one partner for their IT needs and that generating incremental revenue from existing customers is less expensive and time consuming than capturing new customers. So how do you do it?
    • Develop managed services and unlock the recurring revenue model. Look for opportunities to entrench yourself with the customer by offering support offerings that give you a reason to continue your engagement with them.
    • Don’t try to do too much in the first engagement. Customers who are just moving into the cloud are often concerned with ensuring that their first project is successful before they go “all in.” Don’t make the mistake of overwhelming your customers on their first project. Focus on exceeding expectations. Once you have, you will have an opportunity to pitch additional projects and services.
  • Sell with a plan to deploy and drive usage. When you are building out a proposal for your customer or prospect, build in a plan for how you will drive customer usage and adoption of the solutions you are selling. Incorporating the planning for how you are going to drive deployment and end user training and adoption will increase your revenue and profitability opportunities with customers and help you to entrench yourself with them. Customers who fully adopt and realize the value of the solutions you bring to them will be more loyal, more satisfied and more willing to explore incremental projects with you.
I hope these tips have inspired you to think a little differently about what it means to “Sell it Right.” Want more?
  1. Join us throughout March in our Profitability Wednesday webinars at 8:30 am PST, where we will go deep on how to accelerate the sales process in the cloud.
  2. Check out the new Emotional Messaging and Changing Buyer Behavior content on Cloud SureStep for tips on how to revise your sales and marketing approach.
  3. Learn more about how you can deliver customer lifetime value.
I am continually inspired by partners who are pushing the boundaries and innovating in the cloud. Do you have a unique story to tell? Let’s connect via LinkedIn, Twitter or email. I’d love to hear your stories.
Until next time,

Jen Sieger

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