Selling More Cloud via Channel Partners

Cloud Communications

Selling More Cloud via Channel Partners

By Peter Radizeski, RAD-INFO Inc.  |  October 31, 2016

In an interview with Paula Bernier (News - Alert), the new editorial lead on Cloud Computing Magazine, I was asked how to get channel partners to sell more cloud services either on top of network or in place of network. I have been on more than one webinar where the object of the presentation is to puke as much information out in the allotted time as possible. That doesn’t work. Ever.

Vendors need to start targeting better. Service providers need to define who the best customer is for their service and why. That is a challenge, because they want to sell everything to everyone, but they aren’t Ivory soap.

In UCaaS deployments, executives blame customer dissatisfaction with poor selling. Often, the sales team does not trust implementation. Hence, sales is afraid to sell stuff that implementation might have a challenge deploying to the customer satisfactorily.

Every cloud provider – especially in the UCaaS space – sells to anyone with five to 500 seats. Yet that is a spectrum of buyers that will not be satisfied by the same thing. The buying triggers, IT staff on hand, and outcomes needed are different. To treat it all the same is foolish.

That brings us to the channel partner, who hears the marketing spin over and over, from every provider. When the vendor can’t articulate the sweet spot or the desired business outcome for a market segment, how can a partner – with many providers to choose from that all sound and look the same – choose the right one for their customer?

When you don't know what a vendor is good at, price becomes the differentiator. Or you trust the channel manager who you have worked with before. Otherwise it will be trial and error.

It is easier to sell laptops and PBXs than it is desktop as a service or unified communications. Vendors have to make the service more tangible. One of the reasons to go vertical is because you know the pain points of the target market and can clearly define the benefits and outcome. When you go shallow and wide, not only can you not define the pain points, but you can’t even profile the customer.

In mobile device management, top sellers have learned that public companies and certain other organizations are prime targets. Unfortunately, everyone else is like Vonage (News - Alert) and Dropbox, “We are for consumers and businesses of every type.” As a partner, I do not want to push the McDonalds of service providers on my clients. They expect finer dining, which means better service and a menu that caters to their taste.

Until the messaging gets better, it will be a commodity sold on price, if sold at all.

There are too many moving parts with cloud services. It is selling change. It is harder to sell than selling replacement services like SIP trunks or internet pipes. In a world moving fast, with prices compressing along with commissions, to keep the business afloat, partners sell what they can, what is easy and what they know. Until cloud services are more tangible and better messaged, it will be the minority who sell it instead of the majority. 

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

Edited by Alicia Young
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