Structuring solution selling
For IT organizations, the paradigm of selling products and features used to be enough. However, with the advent of cloud and IT as a business solution, that mindset has become outdated. Now, organizations like ACTS provide value to customers by working to understand their business problems and collaborate to solve them with cloud solutions and services.
To help customers understand the benefits of transitioning their businesses to the cloud, ACTS developed a series of films around Microsoft Azure solutions and services. In these films, their team takes a systematic approach to helping even their largest customers understand Azure, the solutions and services it can provide, and how these services can help solve some of their biggest IT problems.
James says, “First, we look at how a particular business problem is currently being addressed and how it can be addressed in a cloud environment. We look at server migration risks and roadblocks, and we break down the various costs associated with services solving for that business problem.”
The costs associated with a given cloud service are added to ACTS’s Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) calculator, a data model that outlines comparable ownership costs against key competitors. ACTS creates additional documentation around each of the services, providing further insight into how the services fit into strategic initiatives.
This larger roadmap helps ACTS’s customers rationalize the gaps between their business needs and their IT capabilities. Customers gain insight into how their IT environment can be extended to add business value. The plan indicates current challenges, action plans, risk controls, projected opportunities, and any organizational changes that could be made to optimize the benefits of using cloud services within their organization.
Beginning with the problem
James says, “Almost every service in Azure has a business context that has to be answered if money is going to follow it. Very few people have sat back and rationalized the message. Partners need to understand who they are talking to when selling Azure services. A CEO will be 100% oriented toward strategic initiatives, but lower-level business decision makers will appreciate a more tactical approach.”
James and his team have found success working backwards from their customers’ business problems, packaging the right cloud services to fit their customers’ needs. They begin by working closely with their customers to identify the key sets of business problems they face. From there, they identify which Azure services can be combined to solve for that business need, and finally they help the customer implement those services within their organizations.