Whether you're looking for ways to get into data center and Big Data sales, or to grow your existing sales, the market looks promising. The Big Data market in particular looks set for strong growth, with some researchers predicting that it will grow from less than $15 billion this year to more than $46 billion by 2018, a 26 percent annual growth rate. And if you're already in the business of selling compute, storage, and/or networking gear to the enterprise, you've already got the skills to make your data center and Big Data business work. Here are three ways to parlay the skills you already have into new and growing arenas.
1. Making the Case for a Sale
Data center and Big Data sales may require that you learn about technologies, vendors, and products beyond your existing knowledge base, but the actual mechanics of making the sales remain the same as they always have. You'll be selling to corporate decision-makers, and those decision-makers need to know what business value you can provide—something you already know how to communicate. Only the specifics are different.
What is the business value of Big Data? For one thing, legacy relational databases and traditional data analysis methods are no longer enough for companies to remain competitive. Unstructured data is proliferating and can provide valuable insights into customer buying patterns and behavior, among a myriad of other issues. When it comes to getting into the data center and Big Data market, pointing out that Big Data solutions can leverage semistructured and unstructured data to drastically increase the amount of raw information a company can work with and draw insights from is an effective strategy.
2. Providing the Use Cases
As you make the case for your data center and Big Data sales, you'll no doubt draw upon practical use cases, much as you’ve always done. Again, the strategy remains the same, and so do the skills needed for success. Only the specifics change.
What are some specific use cases for Big Data? Fraud detection is a big one for many verticals, from financial services to any industry whose operations depend on a claims- or transaction-based system. Big Data solutions like IBM's Big Data platform can work to quickly identify suspicious behaviors, patterns, or people, providing robust fraud detection. And Big Data isn't just for customer or transaction data, either. Internal departments can also benefit from it. IT departments, for example, generate vast amounts of logs and other structured and unstructured data that, upon analysis, can provide valuable knowledge.
3. Upselling and Cross-Selling
You already know that the sale isn't over when you close the initial deal. Upselling and cross-selling have always been the keys to big numbers and continue to be in the era of the data center and Big Data. Once you know your ecosystem and how different products work together, you'll be able to leverage your existing upselling and cross-selling skills to make the most of each of your customers.
In fact, data center and Big Data sales make excellent openings to add on products and services. Big Data environments, as we've previously discussed in this blog, can significantly increase the complexity of data center environments and create new challenges that present opportunities for additional sales. Optimizing and securing a Big Data implementation may require new network equipment or network security devices, for example. SAN and NAS environments aren't ideal for Hadoop, so opportunities may also arise to close deals on new server clusters or other critical infrastructure. And the complexities of these environments may make managed services an attractive prospect for customers.
At the end of the day, sales skills are universal no matter what goods or services are on offer. Entering the data center and Big Data markets doesn't have to be a daunting transition. Think of it instead as an extension of your existing business and sales, and you'll be on your way to new frontiers.
What skills do you consider necessary for data center and Big Data sales? Let us know in the comments.