Sitting with Jeff Uphues of Cbeyond Cloud today at ITEXPO, we spoke about the lessons that Cbeyond has learned about selling cloud services.
Cbeyond has 800 direct sales and about 2000 channel partners, who are taking their Cloud Services to the marketplace – not just in their 16 markets but nationwide. (Cloud can go anywhere there’s decent Internet access.)
Zane Long is the Channel Head at Cbeyond who has been responsible for making it easier for channel partners to do business with Cbeyond. Making things simpler and easier is the key to Cbeyond Success. By assisting channel partners with collateral, messaging, and sales tactics, Cbeyond has enabled their channel to grow ARPU. (About $200 of ARPU for the cloud customers above the telecom spend.)
As Cbeyond makes the transition from CLEC to Cloud Provider, the barrier to sales has been the messaging. It’s very challenging to talk to a business owner about PaaS or Iaas or bytes, RAM, GB, and CPU cycles. Let’s face it: who understands that? More important: Does the buyer care? No. What do Business Owners care about? Her business, profit, assets, customers and employees. The buyer does not care about IT or technology. The buyer just wants the technology to its job. (Frequently that’s why businesses hire VAR’s or MSP’s).
The other key for Cbeyond is disrupting the current model. So while they sell three figures of PBX units per month, the new pricing scheme will create some friction in the marketplace as PBX sales migrate from per seat to company size pricing.
Keep an eye on Cbeyond as they move further into cloud and the CLEC (Access) piece becomes less the focus.