TOP
STORIES
 1 of 5
Flashback Friday: 7 Super-Scary Wiring Scenarios
CI is bringing back our Halloween-themed guide to feeling great about your company's wiring techniques. What's the worst wiring scenario you've encountered?
 2 of 5
ESPN Makes Digital Splash with Eye-Popping SportsCenter Upgrade
Mobile displays, video floor, social media wall among many highlights of the new SportsCenter digital studio DC-2.
 3 of 5
Mission Critical 411 on Control Room Integration
Integrators with long histories in this space discuss how projects and customer demands are different than others.
 4 of 5
How Boston College Gets Fans off Comfy Couches, onto Metal Benches
Boston College installs new Daktronics 13HD LED video boards at Alumni Stadium to draw fans to the in-game experience.
 5 of 5
Top 10 Dante-Enabled Products
Check out 10 key products that have received the increasingly important Dante touch.
6 Strategies for Selling the Cloud
Partners and sales teams are entering uncharted territory in cloud computing. Here’s how to build a successful cloud practice.

Article


December 06, 2012 | by Ken Thoreson

A recent survey of various partners who are focused on developing a cloud practice essentially confirmed what I’ve found with my consulting clients: Most partners are struggling to find their way and are cloudy on the approach to leading their sales teams.

There has been a lot of marketing noise about the cloud - its impact on the market, what segments to attack and its impact on the partner business model. Very little has been done to deliver to partners specific tactical tools to drive this transforming business.

The first decision you must make is why you want to enter the cloud. More than ever before, creating a solid business cloud practice plan that’s both strategic and tactical is critical.

We have advised our clients that, to succeed in building a cloud practice, they must increase lead volume, increase sales velocity, shorten the sales cycle and consider a vertical approach. We have created a prescriptive approach with specific tools and business guides to accelerate success in building a cloud practice. So here are some detailed suggestions for building a successful cloud practice:

Create a Practice Statement
This simple process of asking some internal questions will improve your focus. What products and services do you offer? What markets do you serve? What benefits will customers achieve? What makes you unique? What after-the-sale services do you offer?

Shorten Your Sales Cycle, Reduce Cost of Sales
Some best practices we’re seeing include using inside telesales for the SMB market; no more than a three-step sales process by compacting multiple steps into one event; and Web conferencing tools such as Live Meeting and your Website to sell your firm and your offerings.

Precision management is Critical
If you’ve been in the product business along with your software practice, you understand margin management. Build a sales, marketing and operations dashboard specifically for your cloud practice. Create goals and track results for gross profit, leads from each marketing source, number of sales calls per week, quotes per week and seats sold per month.

Go Vertical!
Analyze your existing customer base and determine if you already have a certain level of expertise within a market that you can leverage. Every partner should have at least one vertical offering: your marketing costs will go down, your cost of sales will be reduced and your revenues will grow. In fact, I believe you can triple your sales in three years with a vertical approach by finding a market, doing research on competition and regulations, determining the market size and opportunity, determining the market’s “business challenges,” calling 100 prospects to determine the market acceptance, interviewing 10 organizations and laying out an 18-month marketing plan. My main rule is: Become a member of — not a vendor to — the market. Going vertical is as much of a philosophical change as a business change.

Fix the Funnel
Develop a marketing funnel that’s designed to properly feed your sales funnel. You need to know the metrics of each stage of your sales funnel, such as the number of opportunities and dollars required to exceed your monthly sales objectives, the number of ideal clients/prospects in your marketing funnel, the number of campaigns per quarter you need to run (double the number you’re doing today for a cloud practice) and the number of leads required from marketing each month to enter your sales funnel.

Enact Sales Compensation
If your practice in the cloud is strategic, consider a compensation plan that’s based on the annual revenues off the recurring revenues and build a quarter-to-date cloud revenue per seat goal. When those numbers are exceeded, pay a flat bonus amount. If the client is a net new, pay an additional bonus commission on all other sales to that client for the first 12 months.

About the author
Ken is a sales leadership guru; author of three highly successful books including the Sales Management Guru series, and popular blogger. He is also the founder and CEO of The Acumen Management Group, Ltd.
View all posts by Ken Thoreson
Social Bookmark or Share This
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • Google Bookmarks
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Reddit
  • Windows Live
  • LinkedIn
  • Evernote
  • E-mail


  • Latest
  • Blogs
  • Photos
  • Resources
Tales of the Mentors Who Made Us Who We Are

CI, along with InfoComm, NSCA's Chuck Wilson and Zdi's Jay McArdle, takes a step back to appreciate the mentors who get young, tech-savvy professionals excited about a career in the integration industry.

Redefining the Control Systems Programmer
An AV Guy's Guide to Talking IT
What Are You Thinking… Seeking RMR From Yesteryear’s Trends?
5 Strategies for Selling and Renewing Service Plans
View more blog posts
Flashback Friday: 7 Super-Scary Wiring Scenarios

Chances are, when this story was published one year ago, you didn't learn anything from our Halloween-themed gallery of scary wiring scenarios. But hopefully it made you feel great about your own company's wiring techniques. Check it out for this week's edition of Flashback Friday.

InFocus LiteShow 4 Transmits Digital Content to Projectors & Displays
ESPN Makes Digital Splash with Eye-Popping SportsCenter Upgrade
How Boston College Gets Fans off Comfy Couches, onto Metal Benches
Top 10 Dante-Enabled Products
View more photo galleries
White Paper:
Campuses Banking on Emergency Notification, Upgrades

A survey from CI sister publication Campus Safety shows that one in two campus protection professionals say their institutions plan on or are considering deploying new/upgraded emergency alert solutions in the next year.

Webcast: Unscrambling Your AVB, HDBaseT Questions
White Paper: Technology Brief on Control Rooms
White Paper: The Voice: How to Design Emergency Communication Systems with Announcements
White Paper: Digital Signs of the Times
White Paper: A Snapshot of the Onsite Freelance & Contractor Workforce
Webcast: 7 Ways an Integrator Can Save Clients Money on Utility Costs
White Paper: 3 Dazzling LED Panel Implementations
View more papers or webcasts



Recent comments

I am a co-leader for my local ACE Mentor Program here in central Florida.  It is a very rewarding program…

Posted by Jim Landis on 2014 10 24 · commented on
'Tales of the Mentors Who Made Us Who We Are'.

This set really looks amazing, display walls everywhere!

Posted by Chanan Averbuch on 2014 10 23 · commented on
'ESPN Makes Digital Splash with Eye-Popping SportsCenter Upgrade'.

This device is just awesome. It expands line that includes access control and CCTV camera solutions to offer…

Posted by Nishad Hasan on 2014 10 20 · commented on
'Seco-Larm Launches HDMI Product Line'.

Thanks for your comment, Alan. I understand and appreciate your frustration about the pictures and belief…

Posted by D. Craig MacCormack on 2014 10 14 · commented on
'Inside Look: Long Island Railroad's Hiperwall Command Center Unveiled'.