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Cloud Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Adine Deford, Roger Strukhoff

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L5 - Solution Selling Enterprise Cloud Computing

A repeatable methodology for solution selling enterprise cloud services

Our sales consulting services help organizations adopt business transformation maturity programs to improve their selling effectiveness. This includes adopting it internally and also incorporating it into client solution programs.

Level 5 Solution Selling integrates i) Solution Selling, the sales best practice developed by Mike Bosworth, which improves the skills of individual salespeople, and ii) a maturity model to transform the overall organization to become more solution sales oriented.

Solution selling
When we began our engagement at PSINet the sales team operation was mainly 'transactional' - A telesales approach focused on shifting high volumes of low revenue level deals, averaging around $10k per annum.

Our remit was to expand the organization into the enterprise sector, which we achieved through establishing a Solution Selling major accounts team. As Mike Bosworth says at the beginning of the book "Solution Selling is about making the way you sell as big an advantage as your product or service", and this team pioneered this approach to penetrate the Fortune1000 blue-chips.

Solution Selling provides a framework for junior 'journeymen' salespeople to evolve from product-centric, feature/benefit selling into the consultative approach required for managing high value, complex outsourcing deals. Our team began bringing in the first $100k+ per annum deals which then grew consistently from there to ultimately become $1m+ Internet outsourcing deals.

Furthermore I expanded the principles of Solution Selling to be 'Strategic Selling', adding another dimension of business benefits that considered the overall goals of the organization, where :

  • We pioneered the development of new products and solutions. We created the first complex web hosting services for the European market.
  • Channel partners - Our channel program established relations across the IT industry, with major partners like IBM and Microsoft, as well as a raft of IT resellers.
  • Vertical industry specialism - Solutions were tailored for key sectors like media and finance.
  • PR - When first arriving from the USA no one had heard of the organization, and so our key blue-chip wins were publicized to establish the brand.

The results of this program was hugely successful, establishing PSINet as the dominant market leader in the new and exploding enterprise web hosting market, ultimately fostering the growth of the London data-centre market.

Level 5 Transform Selling
In particular a key success of the campaign was that it 'lead the charge', in terms of developing new solutions in response to market needs, demonstrating the principle of what Bosorth calls expanding into your 'conceptual territory', ie. breaking new markets as well as servicing existing demand.

Critically this set a precedent for what was possible, and having blazed these trails other salespeople were quick to follow. They also began to seek out and ultimately win these types of larger deals too, later joining the major accounts team.

This established a career path, an organizational structure that catered for staff being assigned to junior, senior and strategic levels of selling, and progressing through them via training and mentorship.

Building this type repeatable structure is the main reason for using best practice maturity models. In the case of Sales there is the BD-CMM, which provides the 1-5 maturity levels for improving this overall Solution Selling capability of the organization.

Furthermore vendors can improve their sales effectiveness by utilizing business transformation models as a value justification framework for Solution Selling their products.

For example this can be used for Unified Communications tools. This case study we developed at BT, Transforming Team Communications, illustrates this eloquently. This documents how the 'bleep process', one of the most inefficient communications processes within the acute clinical environment, was transformed through a UC deployment.

The paper documents the transformation business case, how the UC installation was justified through a clear business case that identifies the process improvements that deliver the cost savings that pay for it. This business case approach is the backbone of Solution Selling, which is contrast to a product-centric feature/benefit selling and provides a repeatable methodology for building these engaging proposals.

Next - Solution Selling Enterprise Cloud Computing
Following on we'll be defining a program that repeats the approach we utilized at PSINet to build the first enterprise web hosting market, to do the same for this era of Cloud computing.

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