To get people to buy your products or services you must solve a problem that they have. Before you even consider selling, it is important to understand their perspective and become a valuable resource and partner.

Why was cloud adoption slow?

During December 2020 we focused our teams and efforts on specific segments in the business, looking at the needs of each segment. In particular, we wanted to know why certain partners were not moving to the cloud while others had adopted only minimal cloud services. We realised that many did not understand the benefits or the tools available and that they were essentially stuck in a transactional mindset.

We took a step back so that we could determine how best to help them make a move that would benefit our business and theirs – in ways they had yet to discover. Not once did we speak about ‘selling’ products or services to them. Instead, we set out to help them gain an understanding of the cloud and to guide them on their journey. This involved conversations with partners during which we took the time to understand where they were, and then built cloud roadmaps for each of them to define the perfect cloud landscape for their organisation’s unique needs.

We took into account the different customer types and scenarios – from solo entrepreneurs who do everything themselves, to mid-size businesses that would have to train and certify their employees so that they could start having value-added conversations with their customers about migrating to the cloud. We spent a fair amount of time talking about the benefits available such as reduced IT costs, scalability, security, business continuity, collaboration efficiency, flexible work practices and access to automatic upgrades.

Changing mindsets

Our challenge was to help our partners protect themselves from falling behind in a world that’s more dependent on cloud services than ever before.

The first step was to start training and upskilling their employees in cloud technology. As a Microsoft partner, Tarsus On Demand is ideally positioned to provide this training. After a period of six-to-eight weeks, we would check in with the partner to evaluate the progress its employees had made toward developing the right technical skills.

We found that simply prompting people to take action was a key success factor in getting them to make the move. We made it clear from the beginning that we would walk the journey to the cloud with them and ultimately empower them to take ownership of their own cloud strategy.

The payoff

The result is an increase in migration to cloud solutions among these partners. They are beginning to adopt the services and understand the benefits; it’s as though they have taken on the role of being the cloud salesforce for our business as they help their customers understand the advantages to be gained.

Where we stand at present, is that instead of doing the selling, we are merely the catalyst. We’re providing the enablement, the coaching, the explaining, and the guidance. As a result, we are helping transform this industry.

Another plus is that cloud subscriptions are structured differently from traditional sales; with cloud, you’re paid based on the end user’s usage, creating a monthly annuity stream. This gives our partners greater predictability in terms of budgeting.

The most promising aspect of this approach is that these successes are paving the way for more in-depth cloud conversations and increased opportunities to grow our cloud business offering. While it is still too early to talk about numbers, we have seen at least 25% of partners with whom we have had the cloud conversation becoming adopters and making real inroads into the cloud space.

[Photo by metamorworks]