Moving to a cloud-based business model requires an internal, cultural shift in how you think about your customers. But for many businesses moving to the cloud, the internal cultural shift is only part of the equation. If you rely on your channel partners for a significant percentage of your revenue, then you need to bring the channel along with you as you shift.
Are Your Channel Partners Cloud-Ready?
Do your channel partners have what it takes to support a cloud-based sales model, in which your customer is ‘buying’ your solution with every subscription payment? Do they understand the shift in customer relationship that this new model requires?
Your shift to the cloud may spur the need for new channel partners. Perhaps you need to partner with other businesses to extend your geographic or vertical market reach. For both existing and new partners, you need to understand how they handle cloud subscription sales and renewals.
You might ask them the following questions:
- Do you dedicate time and staff to recurring sales/renewals?
- Do you train staff on the specific techniques for successful renewals?
- What metrics do you track for renewals?
Supporting Your Channel For Cloud Renewals
Choosing the right channel partners is only the first step – you also have to make sure that you’re giving them adequate support for success in a cloud-based sales model.
Are your “channel support” efforts today limited to sending an occasional email about revenue opportunities? Do you throw in a price list or quote tool for good measure? This isn’t going to be enough in the high-touch world of cloud-based sales, where you’re always selling the next subscription renewals and demonstrating value is essential.
As you and your channel partners make the transition to a cloud-based delivery model, you’ll need to work closely together to get visibility into your customers:
- Who’s using the software within the company?
- What kind of adoption are they experiencing?
- Is it delivering value?
- How vulnerable is the account to competitors?
You’ll need to provide channel partners with the customer data they need to focus on the customer needs. Conversely, you’ll need channel partners to report any potential service issues or unmet needs, so you can keep the customer on track for continuous renewals.
And if you work with multiple channel partners, benchmark how they’re doing (think channel scorecards) and share the insights necessary to help everyone be more successful.