The HPE Cloud Helion portfolio involves private, public and managed clouds as well as hardware, software and service elements, so it is not a straightforward sell. Many of the Cloud Builder partners have long established partnerships with HPE and a strong pedigree in delivering hardware solution to their customers. However, selling cloud was difficult for a majority of partner sales reps, so a new mechanism was needed to help speed up growth.
The sales approach for cloud solutions requires a consultative engagement. We realized that many of the sales people within our Cloud Builder partners were not confident and found kicking off this complex conversation with their customers to be challenging.
- Our objectives for this initiative were therefore twofold:
- To build a pipeline of leads
- To coach solution selling to the channel salesforce
Being successful required a new methodology which supported sales people far beyond the initial solution training. LeadSeed provided the consultative selling platform to deliver this consistently in multiple territories and languages over a period of two years.
The first step for me was to design the questionnaire and the report which would provide the right information to qualify prospects’ challenges and priorities. Defining the right set of questions was not easy and required a combination of my expertise in selling the HPE solution and LeadSeed’s experience of delivering successfully through other IT channel partners. We worked together to define the best set of questions for a sales person to be confident in delivering, wasn’t too technical or time consuming, but still delivered an understanding of the prospect’s situation.
LeadSeed’s understanding of partner sales reps’ behavior helped me to shape the questionnaire, the report and the rollout of the program.
The configurability of LeadSeed was very appealing. We were able to design the solution to deliver exactly what we needed in order to make the program a success. During the first implementation, we realized that one of the key success factors to ensuring follow- up, was the new bi-weekly set of automated reports which provided all the stakeholders with a progress report of performance after the activity kick-off.
Following a couple of pilot implementations, the next step was to roll out the tool to the local sales leads in the different countries. The tool was picked up more readily where it was perceived to be the right mechanism to support the partners in the specific territory. The new reporting function was highly significant because we believe that this tool is the first to offer HPE channel management and partner sales management a means of tracking, controlling and tuning joint initiatives to support sales reps.
The implementation process starts with identifying one person to be the program owner and a small group of sales people within the partner to provide us with focus and control. We, or a local consultancy agency, provide training on the solution as well as coaching on consultative selling. Finally, we provide training on how to use the LeadSeed 360 platform, deliver the questionnaire and develop the findings within the added value report.
It is important to note that in the HPE Cloud Builder LeadSeed implementation, the sales reps are not directly selling anything. They are assessing the prospect or client’s readiness to adopt cloud solutions with a view to detecting potential projects. The report output of the assessment, which is automatically generated, provides the sales person with an easy follow up after the initial engagement.
This approach is a shift in behavior for the partners and a positive approach for the prospect/client who is easier to engage in a conversation which enables him/her to consolidate their own thoughts about cloud readiness.
We have seen the most impact from the partners who have consistently applied the methodology by putting time in their diary each week for assessment appointments. As the sales people become familiar with the approach and the questionnaire, they become more fluent in their conversations on the phone or face to face with customers with or without the support of the tool. So far, we have introduced the concept of LeadSeed to 22 partners in 9 countries. To date we have gone live with 12 of them with hundreds of leads being generated. The highest take-up has been in the smaller territories where the partners are less established and there is very good cooperation between the partner and HPE.
LeadSeed is a B2B Conversation As a Platform generating qualified lead using “give to get” principle and building trust, gaining relationship. It combines the latest digital marketing technic with proven sales methodology.