New report taps expertise from Canadian cloud industry leaders to provide advice on sales, marketing and channel development to Canadian cloud businesses.
The Toronto Cloud Business Coalition – a group of more than 40 Canadian experts drawn from the IT management, cloud services provider, channel, academic, VC/corporate finance and consulting communities – has published a new document examining best practices in cloud marketing, cloud sales approaches and compensation, and cloud channel development.
Based on input from a working group led by seven TCBC members: Sylvia Bauer of CenturyLink, Anne De Aragon of GoDaddy, Craig McLellan of ThinkOn, Adi Morun of Microsoft, Matt Ambrose of PWC, Brian Ochab of Unity Connected Solutions and Norman Sung of Red Hat, the report deals with the essential issues involved in bringing cloud solutions to market. By covering key activity areas where cloud practices are different from those used in the promotion and sale of traditional IT products – including sales compensation models, the extent to which marketing controls early-stage customer engagement and the organization and enablement of channel partners – “Cloud Go-to-Market” provides needed input to Canadian businesses looking to support customers as they transition to cloud-delivered infrastructure and applications.
As with all TCBC Best Practices documents, the Cloud Go-to-Market whitepaper is comprised of three primary sections: a discussion of the business context defining the topic, analysis of the business objectives that shape the requirement for new approaches in go-to-market activity, and best practices identified by the TCBC working group. The 22-page document closes with ‘rule of thumb’ metrics on cycle length, close rates and ratios of business closed per marketing dollar invested.
Defining appropriate scope for a cloud GTM analysis is challenging, as cloud affects nearly every aspect of sales and marketing activity. The working group began with the ‘marketing stack’, looking at what sellers need from buyers, what buyers need from suppliers, and at the marketing attributes and practices that cloud suppliers need to develop in order to meet these needs. The definition continued through consideration of what the (currently under-developed) cloud channel needs from its vendors in order to be successful, and closed with a look at what vendors need to consider to be successful in GTM activities.
Business objectives and best practices
The working group then divided both the ‘business objectives’ and ‘best practices’ sections of its analysis into major business areas: marketing, sales and channel development. In the business objective analysis, the marketing discussion covers issues like the pace and content used to interact prospective customers, market segmentation, the importance of building an ecosystem to attract and engage with different types of customers, and an examination of role of the traditional channel in cloud GTM. Importantly, this section also included observations regarding ‘what to avoid’ – GTM pitfalls that might make sense at a plan level, but which are impediments to cloud GTM execution.
The Best Practices section, which spans nearly 12 pages, is even deeper in its address of cloud GTM imperatives. The working group identified a multi-stage process that cloud marketers can – and should – use to structure customer-relevant marketing activities. This section includes guidance on marketing issues like internal sales tools, online qualification, external educational materials, online trials and related cloud marketing requirements and tactics.
The channel analysis in the TCBC Cloud Go-to-Market Best Practices document deals primarily with the related-but-separate issues of how the channel adds value to both vendor and buyer processes, while the sales issues discussion drills into points that are important in any context, but which take on unique attributes in the cloud. Sections on expectation management, hybrid complexity, opportunity qualification, and an extended exploration of compensation models provides practical input to firms looking to build a long-term position in the Canadian (and global) cloud market.
About the whitepaper
The Cloud Go-to-Market whitepaper is available immediately to TCBC members through the site’s library. Non-members can purchase individual copies for $995, or can instead consider joining the coalition as individuals or as corporate members.