Selling Cloud software around the world is definitely a challenge. But, after quite a few negotiations, I realized with surprise that an unexpected factor was blocking the hands shaking. A factor that I call: “the skyscraper’s conformism”.
Selling Cloud software around the world is a challenge for many reasons, , no matter if it is a CRM Project Management or Tasks Management or Enterprise Collaboration or Business Intelligence software. As with any new technology introduced, Cloud CRM software still faces Roger’s adoption bell curve. Even though Cloud computing is not considered a new technology (the idea dates back to the 50’s), the broad implementation of the technology belongs to the 21stcentury due to the usage explosion of mobiles and tablets. Cloud Software (with the exception of e-mail providers like hotmail, yahoo etc.) is quite new to consumers.
Secondly, it is hard to sell a product that the customer cannot physically hold and feel ownership. A product that doesn’t have any physical dimensions and moreover, since it runs on the Cloud, doesn’t even come with a CD!
Put on top the global market difficulties (communication barriers, business etiquette, market channels, social factors, economic stagnation, sales funnels and more) and you get the full picture of the challenge: sell high-tech air on frozen crystals in different languages…
All the above are issues that can be somehow handled: by facing them one-by-one, by adopting customized approach per customer, by redesigning strategy according to feedback, by focusing on Cloud’s advantages and on Cloud’s high ROI.
However, during the discussions with potential customers, distributors, CRM vendors and partners, an unexpected pattern became clear: the decision makers in developed countries were more hesitant to buy Cloud services than those in the un(der)developed ones.
In sales, one of the most difficult parts is to harness one’s mentality, his preoccupation on something. Yet in this case, it is not a preoccupation. It is not technology ignorance, it is not security fears (even though much of the negotiation is always around this topic) and it is not change management concerns.
The pattern comes from the inherent human characteristic of self-preservation. Nobody wants to change a winning team. Decision makers in developed countries prefer to leave their competitors take first the risk of trying the new technology. To the contrary, un(der)developed companies are more risky (perhaps because they are more carefree or because they want to quickly catch-up).
It was truly amazing to sign a Cloud Software agreement with a Sierra Leone customer, whereas a German one preferred an onPremise installation (of the same product) simply because: “for my company, I prefer a classic, conservative and tested software approach”…