If it makes sense to lead with an on premise solution for enterprise IT prospects picked from heavily regulated industries, then it makes even more sense for pure cloud enterprise IT ISVs to carefully qualify contacts before expending significant resources on possible opportunities to make sales into markets like banking, insurance, oil and gas, etc. Our caution should not be misinterpreted as a blanket recommendation; rather, we think that product marketing teams and sales organizations should work together to come up with a prospect profile for these industries that includes how customers will access cloud services.
We have recently worked with an early stage business here in the United States with a cloud based software as a service (SaaS) offer designed for heavily regulated businesses in the finance sector. The prospect profile matched peripheral groups in a likely IT governance hierarchy for these businesses. Specifically, we were reaching out to contacts involved with compliance, or risk management functions, and, not contacts from IT organizations, themselves. Further, this cloud offer amounted to specialized content, which would not play any role whatsoever in transactions or other high volume daily computing procedures.
The characteristics of this type of contact, who may play a very important role within the business hierarchy, but a minimal role in the IT governance strategy is an important factor to understand. For line of business (LOB) users, or units like the one we have just described tasked with ensuring compliance with regulations, qualifying the likelihood of access to cloud solutions is an easier task, especially when solutions are not intended for any daily use in core business operations.
In these cases it becomes a matter of establishing the likelihood of identifying and collaborating with internal authority for the prospect, when the question of the probability of making a sale is addressed. Of course, including a series of questions about Internet or even Intranet access in the list of lead qualifiers makes complete sense. When these questions are appropriately presented to contacts, the answers received will certainly help to minimize wasted time.
Orchestrating an effective role for product marketing, and, specifically, for marketing communications, in this qualification process is a separate matter. We think it makes sense to design editorial content (and even promotional content) to successfully attract interest from likely prospects, meaning businesses open, for the right application to cloud computing offers.
On the other hand, we maintain lots of confidence that pervasive adoption of pure cloud solutions for daily, high volume computing for heavily regulated businesses is still a very long way off.
© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved