5 Steps to Enable Your Sales Team for Cloud GTM

Changing habits requires an ongoing enablement strategy, demonstrating and celebrating wins, and providing sellers with the right direction and support to get them started. Cloud GTM can be a major home run—deals happen faster, and there’s more expansion opportunity just waiting to be captured. All your sales team needs are a few hits under their belts, and they’ll be hooked.

Moreover, an ISV getting its sales team on board with Cloud GTM can mark the difference between surviving or thriving. According to Tackle’s State of Cloud Marketplaces Report, “Cloud GTM requires new skills of sales teams and leaders. Those that aren’t able to learn the ins and outs of cloud selling and how to ‘speak cloud’ with their buyers will struggle for relevance.”

Learn more: Infographic: The Dawn of a New Go-To-Market Age 

Here’s what your sales team needs to know to help them embrace Cloud GTM.

Address compensation concerns upfront

Many organizations that are new to cloud selling take a comp negative approach to deals executed through the Cloud Marketplaces, taking a portion of the seller’s commission to account for Marketplace fees. This is a sure-fire way to get sellers to take 10 giant steps back from even mentioning Marketplace in their sales conversations. 

Last year, 64% of the ISVs we surveyed had a comp neutral model—up from 54% the year prior—meaning they compensate sellers on Marketplace deals the same as direct deals instead of penalizing them for leveraging Marketplaces. You can guess that this 64% was made up of some of our most successful customers. It can be a hurdle as you work with finance and revenue leaders to make the case for comp neutrality, but it’s a necessity for driving adoption of this motion and it pays off significantly when sellers can move larger deals faster without second guessing the impact on their pay.

Learn more: How Sales Leaders Use Tackle Offers to Streamline Cloud Marketplace Operations 

Tackle customer Incorta puts a huge value on transactions through the Cloud Marketplaces and incorporated new programs to encourage its sales team to leverage this path to purchase with buyers. They have adopted a neutral compensation model and as a result, Incorta shortened its sales cycle by at least four months and is experiencing 100% revenue growth year over year even while its Cloud Marketplace offerings are still in their infancy.

Your cloud revenue strategy can be doomed at the outset without a good answer for how salespeople will be comped on Marketplace deals. 

Lead with data

Nothing tells a compelling story like data. With the right data at their fingertips, your salespeople will be able to sell more efficiently and close deals faster.

Your sales team, no doubt, has lots of discovery questions they need to ask to qualify a potential account. For a potential Marketplace deal, that question is typically: Does your company have a strategic relationship with one of the hyperscaler Cloud Providers? 

With insightful cloud buyer intent data, the sales team will know right off the bat which buyers have strategic relationships, and which Cloud Provider they are with. That saves a lot of time and effort, and also helps your sales team hone in on the right messaging. For example, knowing that a customer is on AWS helps the sales team focus language and outreach around that particular cloud.  

Read more: Tackle on Tackle: How a Data-driven Sales Strategy Boosts Efficiency

This gives your sales team a distinct advantage when pursuing new accounts (or renewals, for that matter) — and sales professionals embrace tools and insights that make their jobs more efficient. When you can feed cloud buyer intent data into Salesforce, where your sellers are spending most of their time, this can be a big win in driving adoption. 

Bring alliances and revenue together

Building out and scaling a successful Cloud GTM motion requires a close working relationship between the revenue org and the alliances and partnerships team.

The reason for that is very simple. The alliances team most likely has a thorough understanding of your company’s brand narrative and “better together” story. That kind of in-depth understanding can be beneficial for sales teams trying to get a Cloud GTM sales motion off the ground. It’s a good idea — at least in the early phases when attempting to gain the sales team’s confidence in Cloud GTM — to set regular meetings and conversations between alliances and revenue. 

Learn more: Webinar replay: Aligning Partners, Revenue, and Finance for a Successful Cloud GTM

In fact, Tackle’s State of Cloud Marketplaces Report notes that a working relationship between alliances and revenue is essential for a successful Cloud GTM motion: “Supporting a scaling Cloud go-to-market motion requires a deeper relationship between ISV revenue and alliances teams. Alliances and revenue teams have to work in tandem to be successful selling with and through the clouds … there has to be lock-step alignment between these two functions to scale a successful Cloud GTM.” 

Partnering with Cloud Providers: A win-win

Your sales team has an ally on the outside—Cloud Provider reps. Each Marketplace lets you register your opportunities, which can be cross-referenced with the Cloud Provider’s field sales team. Working with the Cloud Provider reps can be a boon for your sales team, and building strong relationships with the Cloud Provider is an integral part of Cloud GTM. There are two main benefits to working alongside these cloud reps:

Gather customer intelligence to fuel conversations. Cloud Providers who have an established relationship with your customers have information about their company, usage, needs, and decision-makers. All of this is useful for adding context to your discussions to help expedite the sales process.

Leverage the cloud relationship and co-sell opportunities. Not only can Cloud Providers give you customer intel, but they can also act as a co-sell partner. You and the Cloud Provider rep both have a vested interest in getting these deals done, so learning to navigate these programs and relationships can be a game-changer. Co-selling with the Cloud Providers is the engine that keeps the Cloud GTM flywheel in motion, so it’s especially important to invest the time and effort required to lay a solid co-sell foundation.

Read more: The Alliance Leader’s Cloud Co-sell Playbook

Plus, you can leverage Marketplace incentives, such as Enterprise Discount Programs (EDPs), Enterprise License Agreements (ELAs), or various Partner/Reseller-centric programs for larger deals.

Explore the different ways to do Marketplace deals — and get the flywheel spinning

Your sales team may need a quick win to help them understand how a Cloud GTM sales motion works. In that case, try focusing on customer renewals through Marketplace. In these scenarios, you move an existing customer who’s up for renewal over to the Marketplace as the transaction vehicle. There are a few reasons why this may have a higher success rate than an entirely new account, especially as you and your team are learning to navigate this new motion:

Customers may not have budgeted for expansion, but they have cloud budgets. Have you ever come across a customer who hasn’t planned for necessary growth? Perhaps they weren’t sure how many of their year one licenses they would burn through, and when it comes to year two, they aren’t sure what expansion looks like, and haven’t received approval to add licenses.

Outside of Cloud Marketplaces, this would be a frustrating conundrum. However, incentives from Cloud Providers make upsells more viable. Each Cloud Provider handles commitment burn down for purchases made through their Marketplaces a little differently, but they all treat third-party software purchases as a way for buyers to fulfill spend commitments. Taking advantage of this can be a great way for your sales team to score a Cloud GTM win, and may be just the ticket to build confidence and enthusiasm for this new sales motion. 

Multi-year deals become possible with greater access to budget. Another scenario where Cloud Provider budget commitments can benefit your sales team is multi-year deals. Similar to the incentives mentioned above, excess in an already-committed budget could mean your customer can extend their contract upfront. Even without incentives, your customer can leverage the existing cloud budget to pay for an expansion or extension. 

In fact, in Tackle’s State of Cloud Marketplaces Report, we found: “Just over 40% of surveyed buyers stated they have had an enterprise agreement—a spend commitment which can be burned down through purchases of cloud services and/or third-party software through the Cloud Marketplaces—with at least one Cloud Provider for at least one year. These commitments are typically multi-year agreements, so even in years where economic conditions might otherwise deter organizations from spending on software, buyers with enterprise agreements are motivated to burn down their committed cloud spend through both first-party cloud services and third-party software purchases on the Marketplaces.”

Plus, moving renewals and expansions to Marketplace can help fuel co-selling efforts with the Cloud Providers and enable wins within your own org. 

Learn as you go 

It’s understandable if any change to your sales team’s workflow causes confusion or apprehension, but your team can learn as they go (and grow). Starting conversations early and leveraging the established Cloud Provider relationship, your company can begin building a scalable Cloud GTM sales motion. 

Interested in seeing what a seamless solution uniting co-selling, buyer intent data, and Marketplace solutions can do for you? Schedule a demo today.

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