Stand Out From The Cloud
"We have a lot of skilled cloud architects…we can do it all. Just get me in front of your top customers and we will kill it for you." Anonymous, Cloud Partner, WI
There are a lot of skilled partners that can help customers leverage the cloud, but how often have you heard the line up above? Before you even try to answer that, let's not spend our time in Negative Town. Let's shift the question to, "What would really help vendor sellers and customers zero in on partners that can help them achieve their overall objective?"
Let's face it - it doesn't matter if you are a cloud partner focused on IoT, Storage, DevOps, Migration, Analytics…you’ve got lots of competition. The pool of skilled partners is growing. There are multiple platform options and delivery partners in the same market, going after the same prospects as you. Additionally, the direct sellers of the vendor solutions you represent is also growing. How do you get noticed? It's confusing as hell for companies that make a living in the cloud to distinguish "The Why They Matter". Imagine how difficult it is for customers who are simply trying to pivot to the cloud so they can enjoy the benefits. As a cloud partner, you need to be worrying about how you’re ever going to get more clients and take your business to the next level. Because if you aren't growing - you are dying.
Doing what everyone else is doing isn't going to make you stand out.
Look - the cloud is all about transforming business, which means that you also need to transform the way YOU market yourself. This is especially true if you are pivoting your business from traditional IT selling, to delivering customer outcomes leveraging the Cloud. It's a totally different selling model, because it is a totally different BUYING model. It's not about getting the best price on a commodity. It's about being able to identify the challenges companies have to achieving their objectives, and leveraging the cloud to deliver the best possible outcome for the customer. The purchase becomes the beginning of the transformation, not the payday.
Let everyone else sell on price or product. Be different - sell on value - and find a way to articulate your specialization. Create an advantage, because there are a lot of partners that are stuck in the slow lane - where all the traffic is. Find the open lane and hit the gas.
Target Your Market More Precisely
It’s a common mistake to think that the more solutions you can deliver, the more success you will have. The opposite is true. Your prospects are rarely looking for generalists. The same is true for vendor sellers who leverage partners. They want to know who their go to partner is, for the sales plays THEY are driving into YOUR target market. They want someone who has the knowledge and experience to provide the solution to their customer's specific problem.
Be precise about the ideal clients you want to you serve. Profile your target market: By industry, by size, market, by solution, etc. Make sure that your target market is large enough for your business to be highly profitable. Be clear about your specialization, and exactly who it will help, and you’ll attract more attention from vendor sellers who need your specialization.
Be the Experts
Anyone can say they are an expert. Your competitors are saying the same. You’ve all had years of experience and can call yourselves successful. So how do you stand out?
If you want your prospects or vendor sellers to see you as an expert in your field, you need to show them why, and often. You need to drive your own campaigns - you cannot wait for either the customer or the vendor seller to find you on their own. So…give them a punch in the mouth. Define your "Why Us, Why Now". Find a way to make this statement in 5 minutes or less. If you can't do this without a bunch of slide-ware and buzzword jargon…refer back to targeting your market more precisely. You have work to do.
This isn't easy. It requires spending a little time outside of your comfort zone. But seriously, what are you waiting for? Are you afraid it will be too hard? Let me help answer that. It will be hard. But think about this - If it is too hard, then you aren't the expert you claim to be. How is that for a punch in the mouth?
Why wait to find out the marketing strategy that will put you out in front of your competition today? Each day that you delay means more business lost due confusing and mediocre marketing - both to your target market and to the vendor sellers who can help you reach those customers.
Call To Action
Here is a suggestion to get you started. Rise above the noise by doing things that help customers and vendor sellers learn faster:
- Use stories to educate
- Talk about outcomes needed, and why
- Outline the steps you followed to gain approvals for a project
- Discuss challenges overcome and the metrics that added value to the client
- Highlight your unique solution - and how this will help the seller make an impact with their customer
- Review your OWN sales campaign, the message to the customer, and frequency of touch
- Provide an insertion point for the vendor seller to become PART of the campaign, to validate the campaign with the customer, and leverage their vendor badge.
Practice - a lot. Get comfortable with your message. Modify it by industry, market segment and audience. Repeat.
Shift your view.
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