Procurement departments, CIOs and line-of-business stakeholders know – there are just some things your cloud vendors do that drive you crazy. I know in my discussions with enterprise customers that these types of interactions with your cloud vendor are not unique. In fact, almost every cloud customer faces these issues when working with their cloud vendors.
It’s worth addressing these common interactions so that, hopefully, some of the cloud vendors, and especially the account executives, will take the opportunity to listen, reflect, and change. Here are some of the top things that cloud vendors are doing right now that occur way too often.
1. Frequent Turnover
Enterprise customers are all too familiar with the email that starts “I’d like to introduce myself.” There are a couple of problems with this email. First, they happen way too frequently, meaning there is way too much turnover of your account representatives and your points of contact with your cloud vendor.
Of course, these cloud vendors cannot be held accountable for keeping certain people employed. People are allowed to move to a different vendor or vendors – this happens all the time and is the main reason why these emails are being sent. But ensuring some sort of continuity where enterprise customers are not having to meet new team members and not having to get them up to speed on their needs is a big deal and a big frustration for a lot of these customers.
This is not to say that this is all on the cloud vendors themselves, but it is to say that maybe the cloud vendors need to be looking at why there is such big turnover within the industry. Even if they cannot correct the root of the issue, they can look at other solutions, like creating account teams that are more widespread among multiple individuals, that could offset the discontinuity of these turnovers.
It is also important to point out that many cloud vendors will change up the assigned account executives with the mindset and ultimate goal of getting more revenue from the customer. Perhaps, your account executive did not grow your annual contract value (ACV) enough last time or has not secured enough meetings with more stakeholders within your company. Whatever the reason, re-assigning account executives is often driven by what the cloud vendor will get out of it and not necessarily focused on giving more back to the customer.
2. Renewal Reminder Emails
Another thing that drives cloud customers crazy is the email stating that their renewal is coming up. I understand that maybe this is commonplace and that these emails are set to be sent per a sales plan and playbook built by the cloud vendor. However, line of business executives and CIOs don’t want to see this email because they know it’s really not about the renewal, but rather some larger conversation between the particular cloud vendor and the customer.
When it comes to enterprise cloud relationships and the often millions of dollars tied to them, they should not be treated in the same manner as gym membership renewals are handled. They don’t need a reminder; what they need is a relationship that doesn’t require the reminder email to be sent in the first place.
Enterprise customers don’t want to see these “renewal reminder” emails if it’s the first time they’ve heard from their cloud vendor over an extended period of time. Take a different approach. Hopefully if you’re actively participating and actively engaged with your customers, the impetus for a conversation shouldn’t be tied to a renewal date.
3. Withholding Information Before Meeting With Customers
A poor practice is when a cloud vendor says that they’re not going to be able to provide information for the customer to review prior to a meeting. Cloud vendors know that giving the customer information before the cloud vendor presents allows the customer to prepare themselves and effectively come with questions that perhaps the vendor does not want them to ask.
Also, when cloud vendors are reluctant to share anything before a meeting, there is an immediate concern that what the cloud vendor is going to present is going to be either not good enough or not what was asked for.
Here’s what I would tell the cloud vendors that are withholding this information: far too many conversations I’m having right now are asking me if these meetings should be cancelled because the customer has nothing to prepare from. And those meetings are getting cancelled.
As a cloud vendor, proactively say that you’re going to have your materials well in advance. Break the norm. Set a marker that says you will provide information 48 hours in advance because you want the customer to have the chance to review and you want it to be a productive conversation.
All ignoring the request is doing is providing unnecessary frustration and friction. You want there to be engagement, and I would think a productive conversation could be a win on both sides if what you’re trying to sell or present is of value.
4. Incomplete Proposals
The last thing that drives cloud customers crazy is incomplete proposals or proposals that have notes throughout them that say the vendor is seeking approvals, especially if you were given ample time to respond and the requests were crystal clear.
When a cloud vendor submits a response, it needs to be complete and needs to be transparent. Perhaps you can’t get all the approvals within a given time and there are things you need to learn more about to get more approvals. But that’s not going to land well with your customers, especially if you did not raise this to their attention ahead of the meeting in which an actual proposal is expected to be presented.
You should want the very thing that customers are expecting – a complete response that aligns with what was asked for. Cloud vendors should want their customer to have a complete understanding of the offer because if customers don’t see this, any good aspects of the proposal may be ignored or not considered.
These are just a few of the frustrations for enterprise cloud customers and hopefully, there is motivation on the cloud vendor’s side to make changes. Ultimately, these shifts are going to benefit everybody.