Let’s Face Cloud Together is an interview series shedding light on Tech Data’s Cloud Coaches, subject matter experts on cloud strategy, training & enablement, marketing, sales and services, with whom Tech Data partners can request a meeting, so you don’t have to face cloud alone. In each segment of this series, we highlight a different coach, their industry expertise and invite them to answer a few FAQs or share some best practices related to their area of expertise. Don’t miss ‘Meet Tech Data’s Cloud Coaches: Your Questions Answered,’ an upcoming virtual panel to hear from our featured Cloud Coaches live.
Let’s Face Cloud Together with Tobey S. Amy, Expert in IaaS and Public Cloud Sales
Tobey S. Amy is a true cloud pioneer and has been selling cloud technology since 2001. Throughout his tenure, he has sold email security, hosted exchange, BPOS and colocation services. Today, Tobey thrives in offering an ecosystem of world-class, best-in-breed cloud providers such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, GCP, and enabling partners to do the same with desirable outcomes. Tobey enjoys getting strategic with partners and offering up his expertise to help them realize their digital transformation objectives.
We interviewed Tobey and asked him to share with us his best practices when it comes to cloud sales execution and shed light on the barriers businesses face when seeking profitability with cloud. In his interview, Tobey discusses the need for quality training, a better understanding of the profitability of cloud’s revenue model, and the need to differentiate your brand in the market.
Q: What are the key ways to drive positive outcomes on cloud sales teams?
A: One key way is by giving your sales team the right training. Cloud can be intimidating at times so helping them feel comfortable is key. A great place to start with identifying training is through Tech Data’s ExitCertified, offering thousands of technical and professional training to get your team skilled and ready for the market. Another great place to start is by requesting a meeting with one of the Training & Enablement Cloud Coaches, who can help you figure out how to upskill your team.
Also, selling cloud is not like selling boxes, it is a more strategic and business outcome focused approach. You need to give your sales team a solid idea of what they are selling and what makes you competitive in the market. I always recommend that a partner find something they are incredible at on the services side. For instance, what is their services “Super Power” and how does it help their end-customers solve their business problems? Everyone and their mother is selling cloud, so why would a customer want to buy from your organization? You must find a way to be disruptive and get the attention but also be able to deliver on that promise. Once you know what your “Super Power” (e.g., security/migrations/high-performance computing, etc.) is, you can go in and ensure your business stands out from the rest. When you lead the conversation with services, not only are you leading with an offering that will result in increased margins, but you can better dictate the unique blend of solutions your end-customer really needs (e.g., AWS or Azure, onsite, etc.). And because you are helping them find a custom solution that will make them better, they will thank you for it (and you will be more likely to keep that customer for life).
Q: What are the biggest challenges to selling cloud and how can partners overcome them?
A: Sales representatives that have been “selling boxes” for too long. They are comfortable with the instant gratification, and the lump-sum payouts of traditional IT. They find themselves choosing between a $2m hardware deal and a $10,000 MRR opportunity, and eventually give in to the option with the biggest upfront reward. You must have your sales representatives understand the value in building a long-term annuity-based business that yields exponential rewards over time. Once the opportunity closes, the rewards may appear small but will continue for the life of the agreement. Also, depending on the compensation model you choose for your employees, they may be able to start the month already with revenue in the bank. Much better than starting from zero, in my opinion. If you are looking for a way to illustrate cloud profitability to your employees, the rule of 78 is a great place to start.
Once the representatives can see this and they can get a win, then they will be more motivated to win opportunities. It usually takes 1-2 people in an organization to have some success before others want to be “That Person” building a cloud business.
If you are looking to move the needle on sales, and eager to access resources to help you do so, Tech Data’s Cloud Practice Builder Program is available to all partners online and starts with a brief 20-minute Cloud Practice Assessment. After you take the assessment, you will gain access to a custom roadmap to cloud business enablement, including a diverse set of tools and templates you can use to make an impact in your cloud business. Some of my favorites include the Rule of 78 Template, to help you (and your teams) comprehend the profitability of MRR, and a Cloud Compensation Calculator, that will help you demystify how to compensate your sales team under a cloud model.
Q: How can partners best prepare their sales teams for success?
A: I always recommend a partner find someone in the sales organization that gets cloud or wants to build a cloud business. Make them a case study and shine the light on them, which will bleed out and get others hungry or interested in seeing how successful it is. Let us not forget, Cloud is one of the hottest topics in the industry right now and it is not dying down anytime soon. Cloud is not a fad, it’s the future.
Thank you, Tobey S. Amy, for sharing your expertise on cloud sales with us!
Face More Cloud with Tobey. Attend ‘Meet Tech Data’s Cloud Coaches: Your Questions Answered’
Did you enjoy reading this interview with Tobey? Hear from Tobey and a panel of other cloud coaches with expertise from services to marketing, during ‘Meet Tech Data’s Cloud Coaches: Your Questions Answered’ on December 13th at 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM ET. Spots are limited.