Channel Partners

SEP-OCT 2013

For 25 years, Channel Partners has been a resource for indirect sales channels, such as agents, VARs and dealers, that provide network-based communications and computing services, associated CPE and applications, and managed and professional services

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FEATURE By khali henderson what cloud BRoKERS nEEd to Know DISCUSS ON TWITTER: #cloud #cloudbroker #channel to have an understanding of the ones you are recommending as well as some of the market leaders even if they are not in your portfolio. Account Management. Because cloud services are subscription-based, a cloud agent/broker must focus on customer retention to achieve growth and profitability. that's where the account management function comes in, ensuring that clients are satisfied but also recommending new services that are complementary to the initial sale. Technical Sales Engineering. You might consider this a part of sales, but it's listed here to emphasize the technical expertise that is required of this selling role. Cloud agents stressed the need for this skill set in a pre-sales capacity to qualify opportunities as well as to develop the solution design proposal. for this reason, they also recommended that this skill be owned in-house as an overlay to sales teams. Needs Assessment. in many cases, customers interested in cloud services are not sure how it can help them, necessitating an assessment of their current environment and identification of cloud services that align with those needs. this is a consultative service for Cloud Fundamentals. You must have an understanding which you can charge a separate fee. of the cloud services you are selling as well Project Management. if your view of as their on-premises equivalents. this will project management is simply coordihelp you to gain credibility with customers in nating suppliers, it may not require deep BECauSE CLouD SErviCES discussing the migration of those workloads technical expertise. however, more often arE SuBSCriptioN-BaSED, a to the cloud. So, if you are selling SaaS, you CLouD agENt/BrokEr muSt than not our sources recommended engifocus on need an understanding of the feature set neering resources for this role to help customer for the software, e.g., CRM, UC, ERP, etc. manage system or data migration — a retention Similarly, if you are selling iaaS, you must chargeable service. to aChiEvE groWth aND develop expertise in computing, storage, Integration. Customers want their cloud proFitaBiLitY. that'S virtualization and security. WhErE thE aCCouNt infrastructure or applications to work with maNagEmENt FuNCtioN Solution Selling. it should go without their legacy ones. they also may want cloud ComES iN. saying, but if you haven't already, invest in applications to work with one another. Both solutions-based sales training. the cloud require systems integration chops, including sales conversation is rooted in its support a practical knowledge of the emerging tools of business outcomes. it's not about speeds to ease and accelerate this process. and feeds anymore; it's about having a business-centered Customer Care/Help Desk. inevitably end users have discussion, more often than not with C-level executives or questions or need help with their cloud services. in most line-of-business managers. cases, the cloud service provider is equipped to answer Vertical Specialization. knowledge of your customer's these through its help desk, but oftentimes the cloud industry also is helpful, particularly if you are selling applicapartner will be the first call, so it's important to decide how tions. Often, the software they are using is specific to their these inquiries will be handled internally and/or escalated to industry. in addition, this industry expertise will take into a provider or third party. account any regulatory requirements with which your client must be compliant. Khali Henderson is editor-in-chief of Channel Partners. Supplier Selection. in an extremely fragmented market@khalihenderson place, it's impossible to know every provider, but you need A t the most basic level the cloud agent/broker helps business clients source cloud services from a portfolio of cloud services providers. to support this model, you need a range of sales and technical expertise. Some of this know-how may already be in-house, but some cloudspecific skills will need to be added. that said, not all of the expertise must necessarily be native; outsourcing is a viable strategy, particularly in the early stages of building a cloud practice. Sales Channel Partners takes a closer look at the cloud broker opportunity in a series of three definitional Reports: Understanding the Business Model, Selecting Suppliers, Setting Up Operations. Download these Reports at the Building a Cloud Broker Business Immersion Center in the Channel Partners Resource Center at MORE INFO 50 ChaNNel paRTNeRs SEPt/OCt 2013

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