How to Talk About Cloud Managed Networking to Non-Technical End Users
If you’re a small VAR targeting SMBs with a networking-as-a-service offering, you’ll likely be selling to end users with a limited understanding of the technology involved. You will need to speak in terms that make business sense to that customer. To do this, your pitch should incorporate three broad elements that help your messaging land properly.
First, understand it’s always a good idea for a hybrid VAR to work within a specific niche. This lowers acquisition costs because it reduces the amount of time it takes to learn about the specific needs of customers and prospects. So if you’re already working with clients similar to those you are pursuing, you’re starting on the right track.
Show how you have helped customers with similar needs.
When you’re talking to a prospect, arm yourself with hard data that speaks to how to you have proven your value to customer with similar needs. You should tailor your language so you’re speaking to customers’ business needs rather than the technology you deploy.
For example, if you’re talking to a QSR franchise operator, mention how much time they’d save by being able to configure the wireless network at any store from any location with a cloud network solution. You might also talk about how other franchisers use captive portal marketing programs to drive revenue and capture important customer data. It’s even better if you can attach a percentage growth to that figure.
If you’re selling into medical or dental locations, talk about how practitioners serve more patients and work more efficiently because their devices connect to a more reliable 802.11ac wireless network. You might characterize time saved as a reduction of labor costs if you wish to put a dollar figure to this metric. It’s important to note the importance of guest network segmentation as it pertains to compliance issues.
If you’re serving internet cafes, you’ll talk about handling bandwidth demands using specifics like increasing the number of players that can play the latest games on the network. You might tie average order value to that number and use it to consider revenue growth. From there, you will likely have a conversation about spatial coverage of the wireless network as it pertains to the shape and composition of their building.
Those are just three examples. Fine tune your record of success with metrics that make sense in the niche that your business targets.
Conduct a network evaluation as part of the sales process.
A network evaluation provides an initial look at the value you might deliver to a customer in the beginning stages of a service agreement. Many VARs include them early on in the sales process. Network evaluations will look unique to the specific type of customer you serve, but most focus on the same broad methods used to identify areas of concern with the technology.
Start with these:
- Identify the number of devices that connect to a network at any point in time.
- Identify bandwidth demands by the type of network activity conducted by devices and users when connected. Users browsing documents at a library have different needs than someone streaming video and playing online games.
- Identify segmentation needs. Businesses want their payment systems and personal information cordoned off from networks accessed by guests so they remain compliant.
- Identify coverage needs. Many customers want the strongest connection “everywhere,” even though that is probably not necessary. Conduct a walk-through or create a heat map so you can propose a sensible wireless distribution using the appropriate equipment.
Consider network needs five years from now.
Sometimes a prospect might say the business network works just fine. Very well, but that should not halt the conversation. Here is a great opportunity to look ahead at wireless needs down the road. Try not to get deep in the weeds of IEEE standards and industry jargon. Rather, speak in business terms that customers understand.
History shows us that wireless networking demands will continue to grow, as will the expectation of guests or employees to connect seamlessly to a wireless network. A prospect’s wireless needs may stem from a workplace that is increasingly BYOD or reliant on smart office automation. They may have guests that use bandwidth-hungry applications on their network, which affects performance for everyone connected. Or they may be interested in the emerging technology around Wi-Fi marketing with a captive portal page that collects data and returns personalized messaging.
In each of these business cases, a cloud solution that provides visibility into network use and simplifies management with an application that can be accessed from anywhere is a useful tool. When you offer customers room to grow, expand and scale their network with enterprise-grade services and equipment, at a price under the competition, it is a value proposition that is hard to pass up.
Dennis Kondash is Director of Sales, Linksys.
This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.