Today marked the third and final day of Ingram Micro Cloud Summit 2013. I started the day by attending the CompTIA Cloud Café breakfast, where several solutions providers met to discuss their challenges moving from VARs or MSPs to CSPs (cloud solution providers). The consensus among the group was that the sales compensation model is where most VARs/MSPs get stuck when trying to sell cloud services. One attendee suggested the insurance vertical has the MSP/CSP commission models already figured out. In insurance, agents receive their highest commission percentages during the first year of a new business contract. These same contracts pay less and less commissions over time, which creates an incentive for the sales team to always be focusing on bringing in new business.
Following the morning session, Mike Fouts, vice president of Americas, Channel & Marketing, Citrix Systems gave an engaging presentation about the disruption that mobility and the cloud are creating with your end clients. According to Citrix’ research, 80% of the Fortune 500 are using unmanaged cloud storage. Equally eye opening was Citrix’ research which revealed that in 2012 there were 150 mobile devices being used in the workplace, representing an $800 million opportunity for channel companies. By 2015, the number of mobile devices will reach 600 million, which could lead to as much as $6 billion in opportunities for the channel!
Gartner’s Tiffany Bova spoke at this year’s event and as always combined a myriad of relevant research data with her no-nonsense business acumen. Bova also addressed the fact that if you want to be successful selling cloud services, you may need to “fire your sales staff.” She actually clarified what she meant by that statement to confirm that only 1/3 of your current staff are going to make the transition from the break-fix sales compensation model to selling professional services. The others either won’t want to change or won’t have the capacity to. It’s also important to know that your business transformation won’t happen overnight. It’s normally an 18- to 24-month process.
Throughout her presentation, Bova reiterated the fact that “The cloud is not about technology — it’s about business process transformation.” She also challenged IT solutions providers to not think about cloud vs. on-premise solutions. Rather, she suggested that what’s really best for most of your customers is a hybrid IT solution (i.e. some IT assets remain on-premise while others are moved to the cloud.)
Don Allison, Master of Ceremonies from The Mark of a Leader, Inc. shared several inspirational stories throughout the morning sessions, including the story of Dick Hoyt, a man who faced the challenge of having a child who was so severely handicapped that doctors advised him and his wife to have the child put away in an institution. Hoyt and his wife made the firm decision to raise their child at home and give him as normal of a life as possible. Dick and his wife learned that their son could communicate with them through the help of a special computer. Soon, he had expressed an interest in running a race with his father, which required Dick Hoyt to push his son Rick, who is wheelchair bound. What started out as a one-time curiosity turned into the father-son duo competing in marathons and even triathlons. In addition to all the great business advice and takeaways from the breakout sessions, don’t forget about “Team Hoyt.” The Hoyt family had to overcome significant adversity in their lives, and because of their winning attitude they experienced great success. If you apply that same attitude to your cloud services practice, you’ll greatly increase your likeliness of achieving the victory in selling cloud services and solutions that you deserve.