Every MSP should be thinking about selling cloud services. If you’re in the business for the long run, it’s nearly impossible to conceive of a future without a cloud strategy. To execute the strategy, you need the right salespeople in place.
Your sales reps presumably already have experience with recurring-fee models, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are ready to sell cloud services. Cloud requires knowledge of specific applications and solutions and how they support a customer’s business requirements and goals.
In any case, you may need to augment your sales staff to sell cloud services. Here are some considerations for finding the right candidates:
In addition to understanding the cloud, you want your sales reps to believe in the cloud. If someone doesn’t believe in what they’re selling, chances are they won’t be effective. Someone with a passion for the cloud will make a better salesperson than a person who is just desperate for a job.
Your cloud strategy should be clear to your sales hires. If you’re banking on cloud services to make up half of your company’s revenue in, say, three years, your sales reps need to know this coming in. Fill them in on your goals, how you plan to achieve them, and their role in helping you get there. The better they understand the strategy, the better they’ll help you execute it.
Sales reps who work on commission for every deal they make have a “hunting” mentality that drives them to constantly seek new business. But when you’re selling long-term services on a recurring fee, you need “farmers.” Farmers are account managers who cultivate existing clients by regularly checking in to ensure they are happy and bringing them new opportunities. Seek out candidates with a good track record of account management.
No IT experience? No problem. Cloud salespeople don’t have to come from the IT industry as long as they’re good learners. Consider recruiting from industries such as telecom and financial services where annuity-based sales are common. Salespeople who can translate that experience to cloud offerings will help you get on the path to cloud success.
Use a straightforward compensation plan. The less time your sales reps spend on figuring out their compensation, the more time they spend selling. There are different ways to pay salespeople for recurring services, so you’ll need to decide what works for your business. Some employers pay reps up front, which can be a burden. A more palatable approach might be to pay salespeople a monthly or quarterly residual for the length of a customer’s contract.
Assembling a sales staff that can help you execute a strategy takes time, effort, and vision. As you make your cloud plans, start sifting through resumes to identify potential candidates who can help you build a successful cloud business.
Pedro Pereira is a Massachusetts-based writer who has covered the IT channel for two decades. Recognized as one of the first journalists to cover managed services, Pedro continues to track, analyze and report on the IT channel and the growing MSP partner community.
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