As I drift in and out of conversations where people are raising all manner of issues as they come to terms with what cloud may offer their business it reminds me to go back to the fundamentals of business. Sometimes when we find ourselves in a quandary it is easy to forget that some things are foundation to life, looking after yourself and taking care of those we love and looking after our environment, being kind and respectful etc.
In business the fundamentals are to take care of business today and do the right thing and look out to what’s coming round the corner so we don’t get left behind. Management text books might not describe it like this but this is what we do.
So, turning to the cloud, the thing that is round the corner for many; what are the fundamentals?
Let’s assume you are a reseller of products and you offer a range of complementary services and life is good. You are earning money, you are delivering value to your customers and your customers are happy. Your best customer calls up and says; I met some of my peers and they told me they are using cloud and I need to know urgently if we should be.
That’s a difficult question to dodge and then you have to think about how to prepare for that conversation.
So what questions do you ask of yourself?
What questions do you ask of your customer to qualify their interest?
And if you do open up a conversation do you know the destination for that conversation? Because if you don’t you might just open the door for someone else!
Think customer first. What is likely to be front of mind for the customer? I’m just aching to spend more cash on IT (probably not). Perhaps something else? What if you constructed a conversation that was not about cloud but about something that you could control. How about opening up with this as a proposition. You invited me to come and talk to you about the cloud and I am very happy to do that and before we get to that subject what is uppermost in mind for me is understanding how we can get to know that the use of existing IT assets is optimal and with that known, that may include or preclude cloud. Now the conversation is not just about cloud, and I’ve seen these conversations go down a rat hole, it is about the things that really matter; figuring out the optimal use of resources to deliver the IT that a business needs.
I don’t know of any single reference work that you can read that will get you ready for that conversation. There are many and I have in a previous post a partial list of some of the books I have read. Your meeting is in 3 days so you need to prepare quickly.
If you are a Microsoft partner there are many resources in MPN. One of those resources is a book that I co-wrote title: Thinking of…Selling Microsoft Office 365? Ask the Smart Questions. This book takes about 25 – 30 minutes to speed read and you will find many of the questions that you need to ask of your business and of your customer to qualify their real interest in cloud.
Here is one question for you: Do you know if your customer is using hosted (cloud) services and, if they do, their business justification for making that decision?
If you are a MPN partner you can click here to download the book.