(Pictured above, left to right: Channel Partners’ Lynn Haber, Avant’s Ian Kieninger, Telarus’ Adam Edwards, Pax8’s Ryan Walsh and Intelisys’ Jay Bradley, on stage at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, April 19.)
It’s no secret that cloud sales are booming.
IDC predicts cloud-services sales will reach $277 billion by 2021, up from the anticipated $160 billion this year. Two-thirds of cloud budgets are going to software as a service (SaaS).
The downside? According to the PartnerPath 2018 State of Partnering Study, many vendors say just half of their cloud revenue is driven by the channel.
Master agents and distributors want to help their partners sell cloud through successful strategies. Four leaders from major masters and distributors took the stage at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo on Thursday to offer advice.
“We’ve seen whether it was selling long distance, networks, and now migrating to the cloud,” noted Adam Edwards, CEO of Telarus, commenting on the partners’ historical hesitancy to change their business models. “To make the move, you’ve got to have the will to change.”
Edwards pointed to the large number of tools that his company and the other companies represented on the keynote stage have to help with that transition. There’s no need to go it alone, a sentiment with which Jay Bradley, president of Intelisys, agreed.
“If you can find a niche where you have credibility walking in the door, with the right partners and sales engineers by your side, it’s not that difficult,” Bradley said. “If you can walk into your customer and really explain to your customer what you do, and get them to [understand] it quickly … then align yourself with the right suppliers, it can be easy. These are services, things we already know how to sell.”
It’s a philosophy that cloud distributor Pax8 and its MSP partner base adhere to as well.
“You need to commit to and own a niche, said Ryan Walsh, chief channel officer at Pax8. “You need a ‘flight plan’ to make sure the customer experience is easy, is seamless.”
It can start with something as basic as Office 365. Layering cloud services on top of that is where the real money can be made, Walsh said.
There are certainly pitfalls to be aware of in cloud sales. Avant CEO Ian Kieninger told the crowd of attendees that vetting suppliers as best you can is the most important step you can take. And that can be difficult with so many startups in the industry.
“You can’t substantiate history,” Kieninger said. “Every day, we’re trying to figure out who we can invest with. Who’s going to pay your residuals forever? If you don’t do your due diligence, you won’t last long in this space.”
The overarching message: Do something.
“Don’t wait, or you’re risking your customer base,” said Walsh.
“If you’re not getting passionate about where this industry is going, you’re not going to win,” added Kieninger. “The competition is coming from some really smart, young people. If you don’t have that passion, they’re going to blow right past you.”