john_miller  Interview with Softletter newsletter with Delta CEO John Miller

As SaaS and Cloud became the dominant model from 2010 onwards, there was much discussion that channels would no longer be needed. The SaaS vendor can’t be disintermediated from customers, SaaS vendors rarely allow resellers to host their infrastructures. What is the health of channels in today’s Cloud and SaaS world?
Delta Channel Services has many customers such as Oracle, SAP, Progress and others with substantial reseller organizations. How do they view the future of channels?
In a word vital. Back in the mid 1990’s we helping SAP build their reseller strategy and form their first channels. There were both sceptics internally and among industry observers who doubted that resellers would be effective. When it came to Cloud and SaaS solutions however they started early with resellers for Business By Design and now engaged resellers for most of their Cloud and SaaS solutions. Likewise Oracle, although a little later in the market with some Cloud business solutions, have put a key strategic focus on the use of resellers for all of their XaaS solutions including infrastructure. Of course it is worth noting that the business profile of resellers has changed over the years from the old dealer type model and now embrace a wide range of services and definitions.
Let’s discuss the basic steps in transitioning a partner’s sales force from on-premise to Cloud and SaaS sales. What are the main preparatory steps?
The first and most obvious one is to really understand your existing customer’s plans and needs for Cloud. Often the sales force has anecdotal knowledge where what is really required is a structured survey of all customers. In the early days of transition we have often heard sales teams say that customers are not asking for Cloud or SaaS solutions, probably because they have not been sold the benefits of new solutions! The next big pitfall is when a Cloud or SaaS solution becomes available sales teams then tends to focus on the generic benefits of Cloud– like scalability, flexibility and not on the new features only available in the Cloud solution itself
What are the key concepts an on-premise sales force must learn when selling Cloud or SaaS? How do they differ from what they’ve already been told?
Key concepts include understanding the comparisons between existing on-premise and Cloud or SaaS solutions – why would a customer want to move to Cloud? Lifetime Contract Values (LCV) and the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) from both their own sales revenue and the customers cost and cash flow point of view need to be assessed. We use for example simple apps to train sales teams on these concepts and once seen visually they are very powerful sales tools for both sales teams and using similar versions with customers