Misconception #1:
All Service Providers were created equal

All Services are different.
Consequence for sales. Only spend your sales efforts on those SPs who can combine/include your Value Proposition to strengthen/enrich their own Value Proposition and the combined Value Proposition is relevant and meaningful to SP’s target customers.

Misconception #2:
Service Providers know what they want.

They think they know what they want, but they are sometimes/often/always wrong.
Consequence for sales. You have to show them why their customers want and will buy your offer. Then show them how they can include/combine/integrate your offer into their offers to deliver a new and augmented Compelling Value Proposition.

Misconception #3:
Service Providers know their customers, their customers’ problems and preferences

That would be nice, but more often than not they don’t.
Consequence for sales. You have to do the heavy lifting for them at the beginning. Consider: Customer segmentation by use case, by cloud maturity, barriers to adoption, equipping front line sales accordingly.

Misconception #4:
Service Providers know how to Go-To-Market

They think they know how to Go-To-Market, but usually their GTM efforts are patchy, inadequate and not fully aligned with customers problems and preferences. Service Providers’ GTM challenges include: skills gaps, resource gaps, end2end GTM processes are no existent or broken, lack of end2end GTM ownership and lack of end2end GTM accountability.
Consequence for sales. You have to do their job for them, at least initially. Consider: Product-Market Fit, defining a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and a Minimum Desirable Product (MDP), Messaging, Demand Gen Campaigns and building an effective Sales Toolkit.

Misconception #5:
Service Providers can successfully execute an agreed GTM Strategy and Action Plan

Ability to execute is always major challenge. Making things happen doesn’t seem to happen! Timelines always slip. Priorities shift. Things change. People gravitate back to their day to day jobs.
Consequence for sales. You have to collaborate and coordinate to maintain focus and build momentum towards execution. Consider: creating a GAP plan, then build internal alignment to get the plan done.

Misconception #6:
Service Providers (and Vendors) believe in ‘attach rates’

Attach rates are based on a number of assumptions that are often wrong, incorrect or optimistically biased. Breaking News: Attach rates don’t happen by themselves.
Consequence for sales. You have to challenge then validate/correct all underlying assumptions.
Consider: Market size, Qualified customer base, Product-Market Fit, MVP vs MDP, creating Messaging and Demand Gen Campaigns that answer the question ‘why customers should attach?’

Misconception #7:
The Service Provider will do all the Sales & Marketing required to meet our business plan.

They won’t or they can’t or both and you will fail.
Consequence for sales. You have to drive Sales and Marketing actions using levers like MDF, Promotions, Outsourced lead generation campaigns, sales contests, sales incentives and QBRs.

Misconception #8:
The Service Provider loves our technology, our offer, our company (and me – of course!)

Some people in the SP organisation will support/endorse/sponsor/decide for/commit to your offer. Question: Which ones are you talking to? Who else should you be talking to? Do they have organisational authority/internal clout/personal power? Do they decide on behalf of the organisation? Can they mobilise the entire organisation behind their decision to adopt your offer?

Consequence for sales. Success is a team sport. Your ability to navigate the organisation, become part of their team, build relationships with internal sponsors and master the Complex Sale will be critical. Develop a robust Service Provider Business Plan so you can bring in additional resources when needed.

Misconception #9:
Selling to Service Providers is the same as selling to Enterprise customers

They are two totally different sales activities. Enterprise (‘Sell To’) is not the same as selling to Services Providers (‘Sell Thru’). Being highly skilled and successful in one will not make you highly successful in the other.
Consequence for sales. It’s not about your products or services, or your technology. You need a compelling Partner Value Proposition. You are selling success. You are selling a business model and a business partnership that delivers success. You must demonstrate how your PVP will deliver:
1.  Revenue Growth – higher customer acquisition rates. Win more new business, enter new markets, etc.
2.  Greater Profitability – higher revenue per customer, reduced churn rates, lower selling effort, etc.
3.  Real Differentiation – less price pressure, avoid commoditisation, higher adoption rates, etc.
4.  Competitive Advantage – SP’s core strengths enhanced by your products/services and technology will unlock new levels of value for SP’s customers and create sustainable competitive advantage.

Your job is to help Service Providers to ‘join the dots’ and see the true business opportunity they have in front of them.