Sell Cloud Like Drugs

Cloud Communications

Sell Cloud Like Drugs

By Peter Radizeski, RAD-INFO Inc.  |  March 08, 2017

This week I was on a webinar with a data center company. The presenter in just 30 minutes listed seven different services the company offers beyond colocation. Seven in 30 minutes; that does nothing but cause confusion.

It would take 30 minutes just to explain any one of these services – DraaS, cybersecurity, data protection, and backup. To list them all is a waste of time, but it is what the vendors do. Puke it all out as if they get points for mentioning as much as they can.

It is an ineffective way to present, but then most presenters don’t care about the audience. They are there for themselves alone. This is why cloud isn’t gaining traction in the channel.

Cloud and managed services need to be sold like pharmaceuticals. It requires education, education, and more education. When a doctor is used to prescribing one drug in which he has years of confidence, to get him to switch to your drug is a process, an education process. The new drug has to be shown to be effective and safe. Usually the drug has a very specific indication for usage. In other words, DRaaS isn’t for everyone. There must be some indicator or pain point that signals to the seller that DRaaS would be a fit.

Next, the pharmaceutical rep has to provide studies, and present lunch and learns, around one single drug – not the entire catalog. In that presentation, the drug will be described and compared. Studies will be summarized to showcase efficiency and safety (or at least what side effects to expect). Then the rep will have to explain why this new drug should replace the old one. That will be the value statement. Is it safer? Is it cheaper? Does it have fewer side effects, or does it work better?

Now compare that to cloud presentations, that nebulous world of IT that begins with no one being able to define what cloud is. Then the services get listed, all ending in aaS – IaaS, PaaS, SaaS (News - Alert), DRaaS, et al. These services have specific buyers. It isn’t like everyone is buying DRaaS or PaaS. But the vendors are very unclear about who the buyer is, why they buy, and what the trigger is. Some of that is due to a lack of internal data. Some of it is due to the fact that any sale will do. Like they were Amazon.

We are starting to see this in SD-WAN as well. It is like cough syrup – available at any store for anyone to purchase. Except that people only buy cough syrup when they have a cough, a bad cough (and want to avoid a doctor or a missed day at work). See how that starts to get clearer as you look at who is buying and why?

Having a bunch of features and technology is fine, but people don’t buy tech. They didn’t buy the iPhone (News - Alert) because it was high tech. They bought it because it was cool and the story they tell themselves about who owns an iPhone.

There needs to be a story around these services, especially DRaaS, because as far as I can tell even folks that lived through Katrina in New Orleans don’t worry about disaster recovery so much. They will buy a redundant broadband circuit and an external hard drive, but that’s about it.

There will be more cloud noise in 2017. I dread it. I dread sitting through more webinars where they puke their catalog at me as if that would mean anything. As if now that I know you have seven or 30 different services, you will become my preferred vendor – or I am going to align my business around yours. There will be more sessions about cloud without anything concrete to back that up like data on buyers, business impact, and user adoption. All they can say is that CAGR is increasing. Everyone is doing it, why not you?

When you think about the top cloud providers in each space – Amazon AWS in compute as a service; Microsoft (News - Alert) Office 365 with Skype4B; Salesforce CRM – what do they have in common? They have one core product that they market like crazy.

In 2017, cloud services providers and MSPs will need to be like pharmaceutical reps. Companies will need to be more like the Big 3: one core service that is marketed well. You don’t grow from $4 billion of annual revenue in 2013 to $12 billion in 2016 without focus, clarity, and marketing.

Peter Radizeski is president of Tampa, Fla.-based telecommunications consulting firm RAD-INFO Inc.

Edited by Alicia Young

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