|By Karin Wilson||
|January 8, 2013 08:00 AM EST||
Businesses live and die by their ability to sell. When it comes to cloud computing, this is no different. The benefits associated with selling in the cloud are shorter time to market, revenue streams that don't tend to fluctuate, and a shortened sales cycle. Despite common belief, the key to successful selling in the cloud doesn't rely on the technology infrastructure behind the scenes -- the real key is in billing.
Monetizing the Agreement
In essence, a cloud solution is an agreement between the vendor and the user. The ability to monetize that agreement is the heart of how to sell in the cloud. The more customers using your solution, the more revenue you create. To ensure a steady and predictable revenue stream the back end systems need to be able to support it.
Function Before Form
The temptation with any sales process is to sell the sizzle; however, in a cloud environment, function is what's important. Simplicity is key - from account creation to managing payment processes, billing, and user management, making these processes as simple as possible will make signing up new customers much easier.
Having a customer relationship management process in place will also allow for easier access to things like entitlements and product updates; and it will make the procedure to cross sell easier because a CRM solution allows a business to target a perfect niche user, based on their previous habits.
Using the cloud in the sales process allows for a level of scalability that businesses did not have before. The ability to ramp up selling historically was tied to staffing; now it's simply a matter of production vs demand. Ensure that your cloud solution provides the necessary level of scalability so that you are prepared for future growth.
Service Before Sales
At its core sales is about service, and providing the customer with what they need. While a cloud provider may have all the bells and whistles and be able to charm you with the latest technology buzzwords, fulfilling the basic function of satisfying the customer is at the heart of selling, whether it be in the cloud or in person.
Focus on the fundamentals of making it easy for the customer to buy. By giving the best service possible before and after the sale, selling in the cloud will be one of the most profitable and predictable revenue sources your business can leverage.
Research for this post was provided by Rand Group, an ERP software solution provider in Houston, Texas.