Any IT solutions provider who’s ever performed a serious revenue comparison of an on-premises IT solution vs. a subscription-based cloud IT solution knows that the recurring revenue model trumps the old business model in several ways. Yet, selling cloud-based IT solutions continues to be a serious challenge for many solution providers.
At a previous Cloud Summit event I met Mario Guerendo, president and CEO of Ecotech Solutions Group (formerly LIBANGA), a 19-employee company that struggled to find significant revenue opportunities selling cloud services until it learned a little known secret: “There are usually one or two IT services that serve as gateways to the cloud for your customers,” he said. “In other words, it’s highly unlikely a customer is going to take an all-or-nothing approach to the cloud. What’s more likely to happen is that a customer will try one IT service now — such as migrating their email to the cloud — and if that proves to be a good experience and offers some tangible business benefits, then they’ll consider moving other IT solutions to the cloud as well.”
For Ecotech, hosted Exchange is often the first cloud service customers try, and once they do, they’re highly likely to add other services such as security, backups, and virtual desktop services after that.
I recently spoke with Josh Condie, a Microsoft Partner Technology Strategist (TS2 team) working with Ingram Micro. As someone who’s very familiar with helping Ingram partners build Microsoft Office 365 practices, I asked him his advice for VARs/MSPs that are just getting started selling cloud services.
“When you’re training your sales force on how to sell cloud in general — or Office 365 specifically — my recommendation is to lead with the Office experience and highlight that every time users log in they’re working in the most recent version of the application,” he says. “The whole worry or concern about who’s using which version goes away. I also recommend leading with the E3 subscription, which combines the enterprise clients and servers’ subscriptions. If there’s price sensitivity or a competitor, such as Google, you always have the ability to fall back to the more basic Business subscriptions that still offer a lot of value yet at a lower price.”
Partners who want to learn more about taking their first (or next) step into the cloud, selling Microsoft Office 365, should visit the Cloud Markeplace at www.IngramMicroCloud.com.