10 mantras for successful enterprise conversations about the cloud

May 2013

10 mantras for successful enterprise conversations about the cloud

Posted by Pavan Vyas in Cloud Backup

Talking PeopleIn my previous post about how you can have better conversations with your customers about the cloud, I wrote about the fact that speed and agility were the primary drivers for cloud adoption. We also discussed about the multiple cloud deployment models, their definitions, and the future of these models. In this post, I am going to share with you, ten mantras that you can use to have successful conversations with your enterprise customers.

  1. Articulate the value that you bring: Enterprises that are looking to move to the cloud may be doing so because of a business mandate or because of a technology enthusiast having recommended a cloud alternative. It is your responsibility to talk to them about all things cloud – the technology and how it works, the business value that it delivers, how it is going to change the roles and responsibilities within IT, and how it will impact user experiences.
  2. Help your customers understand your services: Even though cloud computing is no longer a new concept, enterprises and their staff may not understand everything about the way you deliver your services. Explain to them about why and how it makes sense to move a function (possibly in-house) to the cloud, what value that brings, and what the requirements, costs, and benefits are. If there is a need for new infrastructure, competencies, or investments, or if the firm is not yet ready for moving the function to the cloud, it is your duty to let them know. It is better not to make a sale and have a happy future customer than acquire an unhappy customer.
  3. Help your customers choose the right option: Many companies still do not understand the difference between the various cloud alternatives, the value of each, and when they are best put to use. Take the time to talk to them about when to use private, public, and hybrid deployment models. Talk to them about when it just makes sense to use an on-premise solution and not move it to the public cloud or how a hybrid approach could be the best solution for their business needs. Help your customers understand the difference between a fully managed service and a cloud service. You'll be surprised to know that not many people understand the difference!
  4. Talk to your customers about your SLAs: Your customers need to understand the value that you provide to them across the various value drivers – so provide them SLA measures around the economics of using the cloud, about how it increases agility, and quality. If you can share with them metrics from other successful customer deployments especially a similar company – same vertical, same size – that is the best validation you can provide. A success story trumps speeds n'feeds every time!
  5. Provide input to the cloud business case: Your enterprise customers may be looking at you to provide them with all the information to build a strong business case that they can use to sell to their managers and executives. If you want to make the sale, you need to make sure that your pitch to the people that you meet can help them build out a strong case.
  6. Be cognizant of the people costs: As service providers you already know that your services may be causing changes to your customers' IT organizations. That may mean that some of their staff may need to be retrained or moved to take on new responsibilities. Make your case carefully to ensure that you do not hurt the sensitivities of people that may need to experience some of these changes.
  7. Define governance mechanisms: As your customers will need to start engaging with you on a day to day basis for something that they may have traditionally executed in-house, there is a need for you to ease them into the process. Provide them information about possible governance mechanisms, workflows, and escalation paths – these need not be final, but they need to know that you have it thought out. This will help them overcome some of their worries about losing control.
  8. Know technology futures: Your enterprise customers will want to make sure that you have the technology to support not just their current needs but also their future needs. It is therefore critical that you are able to articulate your thoughts on the future of the technology area and how the technology platform that you are offering has what it takes to make them successful not just today but also in the future.
  9. Have relevant case studies: As people, we tend to lend credence to the thoughts of others who are very similar to us. Since people buy from people enterprises are no different, they tend to live by that same philosophy so it is important to manage relationships appropriately. Make sure you have case studies or examples of firms that are very similar to the firm that you are meeting with – and remember similarity goes beyond just being in the same vertical space. Look hard enough and you will find similarities emerge in patterns – so, don't worry if you don't have too many customers in the same industry vertical or geography. Similarity can be found beyond that.
  10. Don't stretch the truth: Never exaggerate and don't ever sell more than you can deliver. Remember, it is always good to think big, but never good to over promise and under deliver. It doesn't take too much for a seasoned executive to call your bluff. Remember, your enterprise customer is possibly speaking to others as well and can see through your exaggerated claims. And in today's Internet enabled world, there are really no secrets. Start small, deliver on your promises and it won't be long before your doing more with the customer than you could ever have imagined.

Let us know if you found these tips useful. We are always eager to hear from you. Are there tips that you would add to this list based on your experiences?

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