By Joseph Marion, president, Cloud Communications Alliance
With all of the unending buzz about businesses’ move to the cloud, one might think that selling cloud communications services would be a piece of cake. But, like a carefully prepared meal, successful cloud communications sales depend on a lot of factors, and can be more art than science. It involves appealing to prospects on emotional, financial and practical levels. Mix these all together successfully and you will have the correct ingredients for a dynamite recipe for success.
There are many ways to create this tasty stew, but here are four that Cloud Communications Alliance members have found to be particularly successful:
- Bring cloud communications down to a level that prospects can understand. Because many businesses are not even sure what cloud communications is, your first order of business is to define it for them and help them understand how it can serve them. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of confusion out there about telecommunications options. Cloud communications, unified communications, VoIP, SIP trunking – each manage something different, yet similar. No wonder customers can easily get confused. The sales process is your opportunity to clear up that confusion and bring these solutions back down to Earth. Explain what cloud communications as a whole is, and what its different facets do. Make the benefits of each clear, and advise the prospect on the solution that may best fit their needs.
- Embrace the discussion of on-premise vs. hosted solutions. Concerns about maintaining a solution themselves rather than having someone else do it for them are the potential fly in the soup for many enterprises. Some managers simply prefer the idea of “DIY.” These folks are not necessarily dinosaurs, but they are the last of their breed in a world that is quickly moving to the cloud. But whether they are dyed-in-the-wool fans of on-premise solutions or completely comfortable within the cloud, you have an opportunity to expand on the benefits of hosted telecommunications services. They’re less expensive, still reliable, and come with fewer headaches. That’s an argument you can certainly “own” successfully.
- Talk about spreading out the cost. Spreading the wealth is always nice, but so is spreading out the cost. This is one of the great benefits of cloud communications, and should appeal to financially conscious (read: everyone) managers. Why sink costs all at once into a new, expensive telecommunications system when cloud communications can be billed as ongoing operating costs, with smaller payments spread out over a period of time? That’s much more digestible!
- Timing is everything. Here’s one that’s tough to control, but is very important. Upgrading a telecommunications system is not like upgrading your smartphone; businesses simply do not do this on a yearly basis. Cloud communications providers should try their best to have a good sense of when a company might be in the market for a new solution. This is where networking and good, old-fashioned sales calls can play a key role. Make sure your sales people are getting out there, making and talking to contacts. Attend trade shows and conferences. Touch base with your prospect list at least a couple of times a year to see if they might be in the market. It also might not be a bad idea to get involved in an industry organization like the Cloud Communications Alliance, which provides exceptional networking opportunities, particularly through things like our quarterly member meetings (shameless plug: our next one is in San Diego this October. Wouldn’t you like to visit San Diego in the fall?)
These are just a few suggested ingredients to landing that big enterprise contract. For more, be sure to request a complimentary copy of our cloud communications how-to guide, which provides some additional insight on recipes for cloud communications sales success.