Stop the Hard Sell and Focus on Cloud Business Outcomes
Every month or so, Shawn Moore, chief technology officer at enterprise content management system company Solodev, gets a call from a cloud salesperson at Google or Microsoft (or lately, Oracle) trying to win his business. And though Moore enters the calls with an open mind, time and time again he says they fail to convince him to leave Amazon Web Services, who he has been a customer of for several years.
The main difference between AWS and these other cloud vendors, according to Moore, is that AWS has a business focus, while “it feels like Google and Azure are very much sales-focused,” he says.
“Amazon, unlike the other cloud providers, has real people that care about the companies they work with and there’s really no shortage of resources,” Moore says. “What really blows my mind is that even as a small company I have a real army of Amazon people that I have on speed dial…Even early on, before we were even bringing them business, they were really focused on ‘how can we help this company grow into a bigger company’.”
Salespeople have likely heard the importance of focusing on business outcomes rather than just technology with prospective clients, but this anecdote clearly illustrates just how much of a competitive advantage it can be to train (or retrain, as the case may be) salespeople to have these kinds of conversations.
Moore will share his experiences and, in particular his thoughts on the AWS Marketplace, this week at the AWS Sales Kickoff in Las Vegas, the annual conference that brings together AWS’ global sales organization.
Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., Solodev wants to modernize the way enterprise CMS is bought to better align with the on-demand nature of cloud computing. In 2014, Solodev started working with AWS to build its highly-secure, fully redundant CMS fit for enterprise users, based on AWS cloud.
In 2014, “people were looking for enterprise software but the deployment methodologies were outdated, the way people purchased the software was outdated; meaning if a company wanted to have a content management platform, you would take months, if not years, negotiating a deal, you would take many more months trying to find servers and where you’re going to host them, then you take a couple more months to get it installed – all-in-all it could take six months to a year just to buy a CMS and get it installed,” Moore says.
It took Solodev about three years to build out its CMS, but Amazon worked with it along each step of the process, building its CMS from the ground up. Solodev competes in the mid- to enterprise market against vendors such as Sitecore, Sitefinity and Adobe, as well as WordPress, though “most of the time enterprise organizations stay away from WordPress due to security concerns,” Moore says.
The latest chapter in Solodev’s journey with AWS has been through the AWS Marketplace, where Solodev is the first CMS company to be listed. AWS recently brought pay-as-you-go billing to SaaS solutions on its marketplace.
The SaaS program allows customers to buy software from Amazon and then be redirected to the website of the vendor to complete the fulfillment. “It’s helped people streamline their billing process, and I think that’s the Amazon pitch,” Moore says.
“We are seeing a trickle of new customers but our challenge right now is that being the first has its own challenges. We’re now the only CMS to be able to be purchased this way,” Moore says.
Moore is hoping that the chance to speak to AWS Sales Kickoff will help in the education of the market on the benefits of a cloud-based, enterprise-grade CMS.
“We’re a growth stage company but what’s exciting is that we now have the opportunity to share the value prop of Solodev to the Amazon sales team,” he says.