How to Sell Platform as a Service

Focus on benefits and outcomes and the value you will add with your expertise and IP.

The Platform as a Service (PaaS) market continues its growth trend. IDG reports that 61 percent of companies use Platform as a Service, and Gartner estimates PaaS revenue will climb to $20 billion this year and grow to more than $34 billion by 2022.

Businesses in this thriving market also have expanding reseller and managed service provider (MSP) channels. PaaS vendors leverage their channels to build relationships with customers and prospects, recommend services based on business needs, assist with deployment and integration and bundle PaaS with other services to provide total solutions and customer satisfaction.

More PaaS vendors’ channel partners, however, means more competition for you. Consider incorporating these suggestions into your marketing content and sales pitches to help your messaging stand out among PaaS solution providers.

1Focus on end-user advantages

Whether you are pitching Platform as a Service to existing clients with extensive technical know-how or starting discussions with a new prospect that is planning on bringing some application development in house, you need to emphasize the advantages to their businesses and to end users. PaaS provider Engine Yard has identified the top ten ways PaaS can benefit a business:

  1. Faster innovation
  2. Automation
  3. Cost-savings
  4. Access to best-in-breed technology
  5. Technology is always up to date
  6. Maximum uptime
  7. Scalability
  8. Enhanced security
  9. Tested and proven configurations
  10. Technical support

You should also show how Platform as a Service can help your clients overcome some of their specific challenges and pain points, such as taking products to market more quickly, providing tools that new in-house developers can use efficiently, or strengthening their market position by expanding their value proposition. Take time to research your prospects, understand their goals, and build your sales pitch around what matters most.

2Be prepared to meet new decision makers

If your contact at a customer or prospect’s business has been an IT professional until now, prepare to expand your network. Platform as a Service decision makers can range from C-suite executives, who may need to make calls on priorities, budget, or acceptable levels of risk, to line of business (LOB) managers whose direct reports would use PaaS. You may also need to speak with representatives of your prospect’s customer experience, marketing, or human resources departments who will use the applications to meet their objectives.

Ensure that you speak with all stakeholders and gather the information you need to propose a solution that will meet all of their expectations and help them advance their goals. Your role may also include helping multiple stakeholders arrive at a consensus to make a final decision on a solution that everyone can live with.

3Offer something unique

Channel partners can provide PaaS solutions via a simple reseller model. Another option, however, is to add value by bundling PaaS with other services or incorporating your own IP and industry expertise to build solutions for the markets you typically serve. You could also add value with tools that make developers’ jobs easier, such as management or automation solutions.

4Impress with a demo

A sales demo using the client’s content or data can have a powerful influence on a sales decision. Demonstrate how easy it is to use your solution, all of the tools available to the client, and how your solution is an upgrade from their current application development processes.

5Master the basics

In addition to PaaS-specific sales strategies, selling Platform as a Service requires many of the same, solid sales practices you’ve used to build a successful MSP business. Before deploying your sales force, take time to identify your target market, project revenue, make informed investments, and build a compensation plan that incentivizes and accelerates sales.

You also need to create and take advantage of regular engagements with your clients to share technology advancements in the evolving PaaS space or to gauge their changing needs. Make sure when your clients are ready for the next great thing, they’ll call you.