Want Cloud Growth? Focus On Sales Team Incentives, Education


Mitel's Mike Conlon

Mike Conlon

By Mike Conlon, VP of Global Channels, Mitel

With “as a service” becoming the de facto way suppliers package technology, there’s pressure on partners to deliver cloud expertise. This may seem daunting to longtime channel execs, but remember: Launching a cloud practice doesn’t mean doing away with the traditional, one-time sales model. In fact, offering on-site, cloud and hybrid/multi deployments gives you, and your customers, the flexibility necessary for long-term success.

Still, you do need to make adjustments to rally your sales team behind a monthly recurring revenue model. Today’s marketplace calls for sales pros who are equipped to clearly explain the impact on annual spend and offer actionable insight that will help customers select the right IaaS or SaaS provider for their needs. Equipping your sales team for success demands a plan. How will you compensate and adequately educate them about the cloud?

Here are some tips to meet these objectives.

Update your incentive program: First and foremost, build the right incentive program to compensate sales team members for a monthly recurring sale. It’s Job No. 1 – and for good reason. If the sales team isn’t adequately motivated to sell, then how can you expect to succeed?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this cloud sales-incentive program question. I see many partners trying to build a program with the same look and feel as one that compensates their teams for traditional on-site solution sales. While this might sound like a solid plan, annualizing and paying a portion of the MRR is actually very capital-intensive. And there’s risk: What happens if a customer decides to leave in the first 12 months?

Other partners are paying a portion of the MRR to sales reps, like many cloud agents do today, so another option is to build an incentive program based on MRR quotas.

The other big question is around incentives outside of MRR. Some partners keep incentives like spiffs at the company level, while others pay a portion to the sales representative. What works best for one firm might not work for another. My advice is to look at your current customer base, areas of growth and current compensation and build an incentive program based on how you believe you can best motivate your sales team to adopt the new model.

Re-educate your sales team: The main focus of any sales team is on driving the company’s value proposition. If you as a reseller want business customers to see you as a digital-savvy cloud services provider, each and every one of your individual sales representatives must be knowledgeable about these offerings. Customers need to know they can rely on their trusted adviser to guide them toward the solution that best fits their unique needs. Thus, while you are restructuring your incentive program, you should simultaneously be equipping your sales team with …

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