In this article, you will find information to help you understand how to market Cloud Computing Services effectively for your prospects and clients.
What is Sales?
Sales is all activity that requires human interaction with prospects on a personal level. This is known as qualifying. Sales activity includes meeting with prospects and clients, conducting cold calls and participating in networking functions.
Sales activities include:
- One-on-one meetings
- Cold calls
- Networking functions
Sales activity identifies prospects resulting from marketing activity.
Cloud Services Marketing Tools
Effective Cloud Services marketing tools include a provider’s Website; when designed to generate interest and build credibility and trust with visitors, an accurate, properly filtered and qualified marketing list, and compelling direct-mail marketing letters, email templates and postcards. Additionally, an effective appointment-setting script and process, and appointment confirmation and thank-you email templates and postcards tremendously strengthen a provider’s marketing campaign results. Other influential marketing tools include newsletters and Cloud Services case studies and white papers that can be made available via Website download and email.
Effective Marketing Tools
Developing Effective Marketing Messages
The first step for the provider in developing an effective Cloud Computing Services marketing campaign is to develop their marketing message, based upon the pain points they will be able to exploit for their target vertical or market. In order for the provider’s message to be effective, it must contain the following elements:
- A description of the vertical’s pain points
- An emotional message in query form
- A client testimonial
- A call to action
In addition to elements to include in the marketing message, there are also items that should never be part of a compelling marketing message. These items include:
- Technical specifications
- Industry jargon
In order to maximize success, an effective marketing message must identify the prospect’s pain points in a manner that evokes emotion and illustrates how the provider has alleviated these pains for clients just like them, and include a client testimonial and a call to action. All of this must be accomplished without documenting the how, but instead the benefits of the Cloud Services or solutions the provider is marketing, and in plain English – the simpler, the better.
Once the provider has crafted their marketing message, it can be used throughout the vehicles selected for the Cloud Computing Services marketing campaign.
Example Marketing Message
In order to maximize the results of any successful marketing effort, it is important to carefully consider each and every vehicle utilized to deliver the provider’s message, and insure that the presentation and delivery of that message is consistent across all mediums. When used properly, a Website can be the most cost-effective means of marketing Cloud Computing Services and other solutions, providing a vehicle to capture prospects’ contact information, provide relevant marketing material to them, and promote recent newsworthy events. A well-designed website will build trust and confidence in its visitors.
In order for a website to aid in a provider’s Cloud Computing Services marketing efforts, it must be visually appealing, easy to navigate and reinforce their marketing message.
In many cases, the success or failure of a list-driven marketing campaign can be attributed to the quality of the list itself. It is imperative to obtain a fresh, updated and accurate marketing list that is filtered by specific criteria in order to avoid wasting printing, postage and labor on inaccurate or stale data. The provider will need to work with a list broker or service in order to obtain a good quality list, which should be filtered to provide the following data:
- Vertical market
- Geographic territory
- Number of employees
- Gross yearly revenue
- Years in business
- Contact person, information and email address
Marketing List Criteria
The provider’s marketing letter should be designed to reflect and expand upon their marketing message, providing an introduction of their organization and enough information to influence their prospects to execute the desired call to action, or persuade them to accept a follow-on sales call to set an appointment.
Marketing Letter Example
Email marketing is an extremely cost-effective means of promoting a provider’s marketing message to their target audience. An opt-in database of email addresses can be created by hiring an email marketing service to send the target audience an offer to receive information they would find valuable, such as a white paper or case study on the benefits of the provider’s Cloud Computing Solutions.
The case study or white paper should be hosted on the provider’s website, and made available in exchange for the prospects’ contact information. This technique may be employed to quickly build the provider’s opt-in marketing list, as many email marketing services have restrictions on the data they share with their customers, and may not provide access to their contact lists, but instead deliver their customers’ messages to these lists directly.
Once prospects opt-in to receive more information, the provider will have the ability to market to them directly, reducing their future marketing.
Example Email Marketing Template
Postcards are another marketing vehicle that may be employed by the prospect to great effect in their marketing campaigns. When executed in a consistent manner, delivering an additional marketing touch through postcard marketing continues to promote the provider’s message and keep them at the top of mind of their prospects, while building trust and credibility. The more marketing touches the provider delivers to their prospects, the more likely they are to do business with them.
Example Postcard Marketing Template
Follow-Up Phone Calls
Conducting follow-up phone calls to support direct mail and email marketing activities significantly increases the effectiveness of a provider’s marketing efforts, and can positively influence prospects in a way unlike any other marketing activity. In order to maximize the effectiveness of calling campaigns, the provider should develop an effective telemarketing script that focuses on verifying the prospect’s receipt of the Cloud Computing Services marketing materials. This is a good lead-in to verify the prospect’s contact information; including email address, and begin qualifying them for an appointment.
It is important for the provider’s appointment-setter to remember that the goal of the call is to set an appointment for a quick visit, not to sell anything to the prospect over the telephone.
Appointment Confirmation Emails
Once the appointment with the prospect is set, the appointment-setter should immediately send a confirmation of the appointment via email. This action; while providing another all-important marketing touch, promotes professionalism and efficiency to the prospect, and helps to build credibility and trust in the provider, easing the sales process to come.
Example Appointment Confirmation Email
Appointment Confirmation Postcards
Several days prior to the meeting, the appointment-setter should mail the prospect the counterpart to the appointment confirmation email – the appointment confirmation postcard, with details of the date time and location of the appointment, along with the expected attendees. This again promotes professionalism and continues to build a trustworthy, credible impression of the provider with the prospect.
Example Appointment Confirmation Postcard
Appointment Confirmation Phone Calls
The day prior to the appointment, the prospect should receive a confirmation phone call to verify their availability and restate the purpose of the visit, if necessary. The goal of the call is only to confirm the appointment, and this delivers yet another marketing touch to the prospect, reinforcing their positive impression of the provider’s organization and creating anticipation for the meeting.
Thank You Emails and Postcards
Once the provider has met with the prospect, a thank-you email should be sent out the same day. This activity further reinforces the provider’s positive image of professionalism and delivers another marketing touch.
Thank You Email Example
Along with the thank-you email, its postcard counterpart should be mailed that day as well. This immediate follow-up activity differentiates the provider from their competitors and helps to strengthen the relationship that the provider is attempting to build with the prospect.
Example Thank You Postcard
White Paper Marketing
White papers, when written properly and used correctly, can be tremendously effective as a lead-generation tool. When offered to prospects and Website visitors in exchange for their contact information, they can be used to qualify and influence their readers, and position the provider’s organization as a subject matter expert and thought leader in Cloud Computing Services, building credibility and trust in their prospects.
Case Study Marketing
Electronic Newsletter Marketing
Providing another regular marketing touch to prospects as well as customers is the purpose for creating and executing newsletter campaigns. The consistent delivery of newsletters that contain interesting and valuable content, as well as featuring the prospect’s Cloud Computing marketing message will continue to impress and influence its readership. Again, the more marketing touches the prospect delivers to their target audience, the more apt they are to do business with them.
Tracking Marketing Activity
The prospect’s marketing activity must be tracked, quantified and analyzed to determine its effectiveness. Each and every activity, including the execution of all direct mail, email, telemarketing, appointment confirmations and thank you’s must be scheduled, tracked and managed. Should a particular campaign fail to yield the expected outcome, the provider can vary the vehicles, scheduling and frequency of activities during follow-on campaigns to continue to develop a recipe for success.
Measuring Marketing ROI
The true measure of success for the provider is the revenue that is generated as a result of their marketing activities, and how quickly they realize their ROI. The provider should develop a cost analysis to track their marketing investment month over month, including the cost of printing, postage, email and telemarketing, as well as overhead and other labor, against the revenue generated.
Since Cloud Computing Services are sold on a subscription basis; as the provider continues to refine their marketing process over time, the resulting sales will build exponential annuity revenues for them month over month.