One of the biggest problems that technologists today face is the trend away from technology. Now, before you start writing angry comments, let me explain. It used to be that VARs only needed to have technology skills. They needed to make component A and component B work together, and when it didn’t, they needed to know how to fix it. I am in no way disregarding that skill set – those folks who make all the working parts in any IT environment work right all the time are incredibly valuable. In those cases, expertise trumped everything else – business acumen included.
The hiccups started when technology became so common place (Internet-enabled refrigerator, anyone?) that the perceived complexity and value of technology expertise started to suffer. What came next was the need for those technologists to refocus their approach. Business-to-business arrived in the channel. Suddenly it wasn’t enough to know technology; you had to be able to articulate why and how your solution was better than other people’s when it came to resolving your customer’s pain.
Today, that approach to technology sales – building a differentiator and customer value around your ability to pair technology with business to resolve growth pain or fuel competitive advantage – has become crystal clear with the growing momentum of cloud. There is no room for technology discussions – the value of cloud is not about its components, but rather the impact it has on running a business more efficiently and effectively.
If you are complaining that cloud is hard to sell, I highly recommend taking some time to look at your sales organization. Are you incenting them to sell cloud? If not, it likely isn’t going to happen. Have you invested in helping them to understand the value of technology today is more about the business productivity it drives than cooler, faster, cheaper … the values of yesterday? You can’t always train your team up enough for this transition; it may mean hard choices and new hires. Otherwise, your sales crew many continue to not only sell cloud, but traditional IT the same way they always have, and they are going to get beat.
That means trouble bigger than lagging cloud sales.