Barriers_to_AdoptionIs the “Cloud” a Barrier to Customer Adoption? 

I was speaking recently with a colleague and friend in the Cloud eco-System. He is based in the UK and has pan-European responsibility for Cloud Services and he told me something extremely interesting. Fascinating in fact and I would like to share his insight with you. This is what he told me.

“I met with a number of Microsoft Partners last month. They were from the same geographical area, some large, some small and all selling Office 365 to SMB Customers. Some were highly successful with O365, others were not. What I was interested to understand was why? What accounted for this difference? Why were some highly successful, while others weren’t? I spent time talking to each of them individually searching for an answer to this intriguing dilemma. Did customer adoption correlate to the size of the Partner, the Partner’s knowledge of the product, or their training and support capabilities, or their size, importance and relationship with Microsoft? No, No, No and No. What I discovered was that there was one thing common to all the highly successful Partners and one thing that was common to all the unsuccessful Partners.”

Yes, I asked with great interest having my curiosity peaked. What was that thing? And the insight that he shared with me was the following:

“The highly successful Partners sold the product and the user experience. The unsuccessful Partners sold the “Cloud” and the benefits of the Cloud.”

Wow! What a powerful and transformational insight. The “Cloud” creates fear, uncertainty and doubt in the minds of prospects and customers who are considering moving to O365. It is this fear, uncertainty and doubt that is holding them back from making the decision to move forward and adopt O365. The word “Cloud” opens a Pandora’s box of fear in the customer’s mind. When you sell a product/service/solution like O365 you are selling the “F Factor” where F = Familiarity. ie. Certainty, predictability, the known, the tried and true. All of which creates a sense of confidence and comfort. The customer gets what he/she knows, understands and is familiar with, but he/she can now buy it in new and more flexible (Cloud based) offerings. The purchase decision has been made to adopt O365. Result = sale made. For those Microsoft Partners selling “Cloud” the Pandora’s box effect has moved the customer away from narrowing down choices and making a decision to go ahead. Result = no sale.

Insight: Focus your customers on how your offer will achieve their desired business outcomes. Remove fear, uncertainty and doubt from the decision making process by purposefully avoiding the “Cloud” conversation.

A final thought: The customer doesn’t want “Cloud”, you do.