More than 900 channel partners attended the opening day of Cloud Summit in sunny Hollywood, Florida at the Westin Diplomat Resort. The show kicked off at 1 p.m. with multiple break-out sessions, including one of my favorites which was “How to Transition Your Break-Fix Business to the Cloud,” led by Gary Beechum, CEO of SPC International.
Following are a couple of highlights/sound bits from the session:
* Break-fix sales are for “Customers” whereas managed services produces “Clients” because it’s a business relationship.
*The right cloud sales pitch MSPs should be using to engage customers/prospects: “We use cloud technology to increase your revenue and reduce your operational costs.”
Beechum also emphasized the importance of taking marketing seriously and investing in good lists (from organizations like Hoovers) and using marketing tools like Fusionsoft and Phoneburner to create and automate your marketing processes.
One point he emphasized was that your transition to the cloud isn’t going to happen with your existing customers as much as with new prospects because you’ve probably spoiled your existing customers and now it will be much more difficult to incentivize them to switch. He ended his presentation by laying out a 3-step transition plan,which included:
1. Lead by Example: Before you can sell cloud, you need to be using it for your own business to really understand how it works.
2. You need sales professionals — not traditional salespeople –to sell cloud services. You will need to hire new people and you should use the DISC profile test to get the right people in the right positions within your company.
3. Categorize your existing client base as A (technology strategic), B (technology dependent), and C (technology adverse) and start converting your ‘A’ customers to clients right away, then focus on your ‘B’ customers.
Beechum speaks again tomorrow at 4:30 p.m.. For those attending the show, I’d highly recommend checking it out.
Another one of my favorite sessions was the CompTIA channel trends presentation led by Katherine Hunt, Director of Member Communities at CompTIA along with Ingram’s Senior Director for Cloud in the Americas, Jason Bystrak. If you can get a copy of CompTIA’s 2014 IT Industry Outlook study, I’d highly recommend it. It not only delves into important trends, but it covers “anti-trends” too.
Here’s an example of a trend/anti-trend combo Hunt talked about: On the one hand mobile devices continue to flood the market; at the same time PC sales remain flat. Seeing both perspectives helps MSPs take a more balanced approach to sales. In this case, it helps service providers understand that mobile devices aren’t replacing desktops — they’re being used in addition to PCs.
Here’s just a small sampling of the stats Hunt presented to a standing-room-only crowd of service providers:
* North America comprises 30% of the $3.6 trillion global IT market
* The key segments within the IT market include: telecom services (44%), IT hardware (25%), IT services (24%), and software (18%)
Two key takeaways from this session:
1. If you’re going to sell cloud, you need to first use it yourself (sound familiar?)
2. You need to transition from being an IT advisor to a trusted business partner with your clients.
Tomorrow is going to be a power-packed day with several can’t-miss keynote presentations from Ingram’s VP of WW Cloud, Renée Bergeron followed by a Cloud Leadership Panel of the following executives:
Alain Monié, CEO, Ingram Micro
Aaron Levie, CEO, Box
David Berman, President, RingCentral
Justin Moore, CEO, Axcient
Birger Steen, CEO, Parallels
Ingram partners will be sharing their success stories, plus there’s more great educational breakout sessions in store for attendees.
Also, be on the look out for some big announcements from Ingram and several of its vendors that will hit the wire at 8 a.m. ET. And, finally, here’s the hashtag you can follow tomorrow to get the play-by-play highlights of the show: #IMcloud2014.