When small businesses move into the cloud, they’ve chosen to make a big change in the way they do things. This change will help them save time, find new customers, and more. But it’s so radical it’s no surprise they often need time to think about it, before making the move.
It’s no different for their providers. In a previous post I wrote about telcos changing their approach to sales to get customers signing up to – and using – cloud services. At the heart of that change is a shift in mindset that needs to go beyond sales and take in the whole organisation.
1. Start at the top.
Senior management must lead the way and set the tone and the agenda for your cloud service. Because everyone in your business needs to understand it and believe in its value.
That way people are more likely to accept some of the changes that will come with it. And naturally mention it to customers because they think it’s the right way to go.
These messages should then form part of an ongoing internal campaign before, during and after launch.
2. It’s about marketing, not technology.
While ‘the cloud’ is a tech term, the service is a marketing product. It’s not like buying some back office hardware, it’s an offering that must be owned by the marketing team, and have a strong proposition behind it. After all, CMOs are the new CTOs, as a number of the big consultancy firms have started pointing out.
3. Understand the customer’s decision process.
Selling in cloud services means having a fuller conversation than you would if someone walked into a branch to buy a new handset, for example. But with limited time you need to be realistic about what’s possible.
So drill into the benefits of each product, match them to a customer need and list them out into three prompts that you can start using. It could be: ‘What would you do if you lost all the data on your phone?’ for example. The solution could be data back up. And so on.
4. Take your sales staff on the journey.
It’s fair to say it won’t be easy. If your sales force love talking about handsets and love getting the latest kit, getting them on board with cloud services will be a challenge. The key is making sure they get it. Look out for staff who want to develop their career and build deeper relationships with customers.
And factor in regular training and roadshows. Years ago I heard of a bank that sent all its relationship managers on a course where they found out what it’s like to be the owner of a small business. The more your staff know what your customers are going through, the more they’ll know how to pitch your products.
As has often been said, change doesn’t happen overnight. So it’s important to be realistic about your expectations and recognise that you’re taking steps along the way. Talk about the progress you’re making and share the little wins that make it worthwhile. That way you should take your staff with you.
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