The enterprise data center is undergoing a dramatic transformation. Thanks to advances in networking, storage, and compute infrastructure, evolutions in technologies like cloud computing and desktop, server, and network functions virtualization, and also rapid growth of data traffic within the enterprise, businesses are feeling more compelled to reevaluate what they have…and to consider implementing something new. Gartner predicts worldwide growth in data center sales through 2017. The time is right to grow data center sales. But what skills will your sales team need to make that happen?
1. Sales staff must understand and adapt to customer needs.
Every data center customer is different, and you can't pigeonhole them by size or industry anymore. Is one of your leads a startup with 15 employees in-house? Don't let the startup's SMB status fool you: If the company is in the business of streaming games or video to its customers, their rendering requirements demand enterprise-grade data center infrastructure. On the other hand, is one of your leads a large or mid-size enterprise? They may not need as much data center infrastructure or support as you think if they've made the decision to adopt the cloud for some of their data needs. To grow data center sales, your sales team must know how to predict and leverage these sometimes counterintuitive realities by being flexible, adaptable, and sensitive to individual customer needs.
2. Sales staff must be able make their case to the C-Suite, and have the tools to back them up.
Data center upgrades are often massive investments. Enterprises expect relatively long refresh cycles, low TCO, high ROI, and tangible business value from their purchases, and data center purchases often require authorization from the very top. In particular, your sales team should know what business value products can provide, whether that business value be greater capacity, increased operational efficiency, or decreased cost. In addition, your sales team should be aware of each customer's specific executive concerns. Some of those concerns might revolve around downtime, disaster recovery, or regulatory compliance. To most effectively convince high-level executives of the value of a data center purchase, your sales team needs a deep understanding of the issues that those executives hope to address. These executives can make the purchases that truly grow data center sales.
3. Sales staff must be able to upsell. Period.
Even the rawest trainee at the most unassuming retail shop has been taught the importance of the upsell. Closing the initial sale cements the customer's buying frame of mind; once the customer has decided to make a purchase, that customer is open to suggestive selling that can build significantly on the original sale. Have you sold them on security management? Those sales open the door to add on encryption devices or other physical security gear. A customer who's agreed to buy new storage equipment may also decide to get backup or recovery units. And any new sale can lead to deals for secure network design, managed services, infrastructure design, feasibility studies, and rollout planning. To grow data center sales, your sales team must maintain a thorough knowledge of everything your company offers, as well as a clear understanding of how each of your offerings can fit with and enhance the others.
Sales personnel with these three critical skills are vital assets to your company's bottom line. The ability to sell to an individual company's needs, to sell to an individual company's top decision-makers, and to sell as much equipment and as many services as possible within any given transaction is a recipe for sales success. If you're aiming to grow data center sales, it's time to evaluate each member of your sales team and develop their skills in any areas in which you find them lacking.
What strategies do you plan to use to grow your data center sales? Let us know in the comments.