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Leveraging Sales Enablement to Drive Cloud Consumption

snehashish-bhattacharjee-ceo-denaveAuthored by - Snehashish Bhattacharjee, Global CEO & Co-Founder, Denave

Cloud computing is one of those paradigm shifts that has long been accompanied by great expectations. As the world’s focus moves towards optimization and shared services, the cloud market will continue to gain acceptance and become a key business enabler. The cloud marketplace is evolving at a rapid pace, and with many biggies joining the bandwagon it is becoming extremely competitive as well. There are huge investments being made by the technology industry leaders in the race of leading the cloud computing market hierarchy.Needless to add, the driving factor in this marketplace is definitely going to be “consumption” – the brand that can ensure consumption of their cloud-based offerings will survive and succeed.

Cloud solution playerscan provide any or all of the three-layered offerings of infrastructure-as-a-service (IAAS), platform-as-a-service (PAAS) and software-as-a-service (SAAS) on subscription-based models for SMBs to leverage and benefit from. Moreover, these cloud-based offerings work on economies of scale - the more they sell, the more advantages they can offer, primarily why consumption becomes critical. And that’s where sales enablement comes into play - by ensuring cloud adoption and driving stickiness to these cloud-based solutions, sales enablement solutions ensure the greater usage of these solutions.

By building awareness and communicating the advantages, sales enablement experts through specialized methodologies ensure that the SMB customer is subscribing to the infrastructure or platform, instead of creating their own. Leveraging these ready-made platforms and infrastructure not just implies lesser expense with the pay-as-you-go or the plug-and-play model, but also higher performance without having to worry about complete ownership of maintenance and upgrade.

This however is still an evolving marketplace. The biggest deterrent to this presently is the lack of awareness and understanding at the customer’s end and inadequate readinessgiven by the solution providers at the partner front. This however can be addressed with a change in approach. There are two possible ways to identify the best partners for this. Providers could look at the “Born-in-the-cloud” partners who already understand the vagaries of the new environment and are able to advice and handhold a customer better, or they could opt for traditional service partners in the telecom or technology industry who are already used to selling subscription-based models as services to SMBs. Needless to add, to make this work and succeed, there has to be a consorted effort to identify these partners and showing them the value in driving these services to SMB customers. The opportunity for sales enablement is therefore to ensure the requisite support being provided to the customers for leveraging the solution potential to the fullest.

And that is just one part of the story. In order to make your cloud customer stick and consume more, the other method is also to drive application adoption on cloud, thereby driving SMB customers to consume the cloud infrastructure while using the apps. To do this effectively, the brands will need to align with Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) who have relevant apps for the targeted SMB verticals and help them migrate their apps to these platforms. This however will need a dedicated focus through marketing and startup initiatives. As the consumption of these applications increases, so does the consumption of the IAAS/ PAAS solutions. The role of sales enablement experts again becomes critical here as they create and execute methodologies to generate demand for the ISV apps amongst SMB customers. This leads to dual benefits – one, increased customer opportunities for the ISV leading to quick return on investment made by migrating to the new platform and two, higher consumption of the brand’s IAAS or PAAS offerings.

Cloud-based solutions offer small and midsize companies alluring potential benefits -- in terms of cost savings, time efficiency and even simplifying business processes. Poised for significant growth in the coming years, cloud-based products offer the opportunity for tremendous potential profit, but it is important to stay on top of industry changes and choose the right experts to manage the sales engine end-to-end. Sales enablement solutions need to align with the ultimate sales vision in order toincrease awareness, drive readiness in the ecosystem for faster adoption, drive activation, grow usage and finally, drive cloud consumption.