Cloud is key if you want future sustained success with technology sales, but you may be finding your options and resources either limited or completely overwhelming. You know your customers are thinking about it, and eventually they will jump, so you need to be there to catch them and make the landing as soft as possible.
Just because you have been working with hardware or telecom for years does not mean you can't successfully transition to cloud-based revenue. The demand has never been greater and your customer needs guidance as well. Be that guidance for them. Be their "all things IT" business consultant. Customers appreciate one point of contact, so make that you.
Research - research a few different public and private cloud companies that you have come across in the channel (and you know you have). Are they working with the same types of customers you are? Have they been successful in your space with other partners? Are they willing to have a conversation with you and help you grow your business? Not all cloud companies will be a true "partner", so it's always a good idea to find one that will walk you through the steps to sell a cloud solution to your customer. Partners are there for a reason, and the good ones will be behind you every step of the way.
Educate Yourself - If you are looking for a cloud partner, make sure you find one that offers training on their cloud offerings. There's nothing worse than onboarding a cloud company to your portfolio but not being able to express on your own how they can help your business. They should treat you as an extension of their sales team and offer you as much training and education as they would give their own employees. This includes being able to log into a partner portal and have the resources available to you at the moment your customer calls. You don't want to tell your customer you have to call them back to get a resource on the phone, right? A good cloud service provider will arm you with what you need to get the ball rolling.
Attend Cloud-Based Events in your area (or not in your area) - you might be reluctant to go to a meetup that's all about APIs, but these are always great networking environments and the worst possible outcome is that you'll learn something new (and usually there's food). Look at the cloud providers in your state and see if they have any events, trainings, or meetups in the area. Oftentimes you'll come across conventions that are specifically centered around Cloud. Sign up and go! These events are the best for seeing what your peers are doing and getting advice on what is and what's not working for them. Make sure you attend the sessions that speak to you, your business, and your customer's business needs.
Picking the right partner is never easy and definitely should not be taken lightly, but knowing your resources and educating yourself will help you build the right Cloud partner for you and your business.