Rackspace knows millennials are poised to make up a larger part of channel over the course of the next decade. That's why the managed cloud services provider is developing tools aimed at helping those new to cloud close the deal.
The Rackspace Partner Cloud Guide, a brand-new mobile and desktop app, is one of those tools, Rackspace's channel chief, Lisa McLin, shared with CRN.
The Cloud Guide app walks partners through the questions they should ask their prospective clients, and serves up accompanying videos to educate partners on why they should be asking the questions. Once a question is answered, the app continues with follow-up questions to tap into the customers' unique needs. After that, several cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform, are suggested.
Partners can use the app in front of customers during a meeting, or it can be used proactively, giving solution providers the confidence they need before a client engagement, McLin said.
"Many partners are experts in their space, and they have a hard time pitching cloud," she said. "This app will help partners be more comfortable having those discussions and selling cloud."
But while the app may be especially appealing to the next generation of solution sellers, any Rackspace partner looking to sell more cloud services can take advantage of the mobile selling tool, McLin said.
"This won't only help the next generation coming in, but the [current] channel community, as well," she added.
The mobile app is currently in beta and will be available to Rackspace partners this summer, according to McLin.
Michael Stephens, director of channel sales for Rackspace, demonstrated the app for solution providers on stage during the Channel Partners Expo in Las Vegas Thursday.
Using the app, partners can have their customers' answers, as well as their own notes, sent to them in a report for later viewing. The report can also be sent to the partner's inside sales rep so that Rackspace can follow up with the partner and help close the deal, Stephens said.
"This is all in an effort to shrink and make easy that sales cycle for the IT services market," he said.
San Antonio-based Rackspace is also developing a series of micro-learning videos, anywhere from two- to-four-minute-long videos, that will focus on selling solutions, not products, McLin said.
"These are really accessible, and really easy to pick up and learn, and perfect for everyone that is crazy busy," she said. "These won't only help the millennials coming into this channel, but also all of us currently in the channel and figuring out how we keep up with the changing technology."