Colocation Data Center Providers and Go-to-Market Strategy (GTM) for Growth
Are you part of a colocation data center provider or operator?
Do you work on a go-to-market team that needs a better GTM strategy to achieve your company’s growth goals? Across all relevant areas -- including sales, marketing, customer success, product, channel partnerships, and executive leadership?
With the growing popularity of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), the Internet of Things (IoT), hybrid cloud services, infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and software as a service (SaaS), the need to securely store this information is also rising.
However, efficiently and effectively reaching their target market has often been a go-to-market challenge for colocation data centers.
A carefully crafted and effectively implemented go-to-market strategy helps solve this problem. How so?
By providing remarkable, helpful content at the exact moment, someone is searching for a solution to a particular problem -- not just interrupting with an annoying, self-serving promotional message, colocation data centers earn the opportunity to go along with prospects on their self-propelled, digitally-driven buyer’s journey.
Colocation data centers are, by nature, more technically advanced than many other IT companies -- and their go-to-market teams need to be advancing as well -- not stuck in the past.
What Customers Are Looking for When Choosing the Right Colocation Data Center
Enterprise software leader SAP describes data centers as “the brain of a company and the place where the most critical processes are run.”
Previously, data centers focused primarily on housing information for large corporations and government entities. Still, these information storage centers are quickly being sought as a solution to the growing cloud services needs for individual and business applications.
Nowadays, clients of data centers may be top financial institutions, telecommunications providers, search engine providers, and just about any business that sells cloud services.
Colocation data centers -- including modular data centers -- are being built surprisingly fast, and clients have many options.
Being able to store and access data remotely has become a regular part of many businesses’ success. And they have high expectations from the keepers of this information. Some of the qualities evaluators and decision-makers search for in a colocation data center include:
- Security of their information
- Expandability when necessary
- Stability of the systems
- Excellent customer service
- Robust connectivity options
- Green operations
But perhaps this can be narrowed down into four short words:
- Customer service
Operating a colocation data center means many areas to be concerned about, such as federal and state regulations, funding for expansion, space planning, site selection, the ever-changing climate, and capital market conditions.
However, finding ideal clients does not need to be one of those worries when you’ve created and implemented the right go-to-market strategy for growth.
Why Colocation Data Centers Need to Modernize Their Go-to-Market Game Plan (Disrupt or Be Disrupted)
The latest research from Gartner found that 83% of a typical B2B purchase decision -- researching, comparing options, and evaluating pricing -- happens before a potential buyer engages with a vendor.
McKinsey & Company discovered that 70% to 80% of B2B decision-makers now prefer to make decisions digitally.
In its B2B Thought Leadership Impact Report, LinkedIn, in partnership with Edelman, concluded that “thought leadership remains critical to customer engagement, but breaking through the noise is harder than ever.”
Like dressing in a comfy pair of blue jeans and old, well-broken-in sneakers on a lazy weekend relaxing at home, it is very easy and comfortable for a colocation data center to keep using the same marketing and sales playbook it has always used. But it’s also very wrong.
When trying to protect a company’s future against disruption, have you ever been asked to identify the six most dangerous words?
“We've always done it this way.”
Did the taxicab industry effectively protect itself against a disruptor like Uber or Lyft?
Was Blockbuster Video adequately prepared to protect itself against a disruptor like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, or a host of aggressive growth streaming video giants?
If you began your career before the launch of the original iPhone in 2007, you likely remember when Motorola and BlackBerry Limited, formerly Research In Motion Limited (RIM), had a huge market share in mobile.
And how well did Microsoft fare when it entered the mobile device space way too timidly while trying to protect its desktop OS franchise?
So you need to ask yourself:
Is your colocation data center company prepared to be the disruptor rather than be disrupted?
Or do you need to rethink your go-to-market strategy for growth before it’s too late?
To avoid disruption, a colocation data center company’s go-to-market strategy needs to take into account these two undeniable realities:
- Your ideal clients no longer want to spend time with your sales team until those prospects are very (very) far along in their buyer’s journey. As you saw just a few moments ago, Gartner estimates that inflection point at 83%. Yes, your prospects will now actively avoid speaking with your sales team throughout their research and decision-making process. Imagine you invited 20 potential customers to attend a football or basketball game as your guest. You booked this impressive hospitality suite with delectable catering and breathtaking views of the field or court. And yet, the stadium or arena now has a “policy” where anyone with sales on their business card, email signature, or LinkedIn profile isn’t allowed to enter the building until the second half of the fourth quarter when the game is almost over. That’s the new reality!
- Closing the sales only seems like crossing the finish line. In reality, closing the sales is just the beginning. In a world where onboarding, retention, customer happiness, and account expansion play an important role in achieving your company’s growth targets, closing bad fit or marginal clients can set your colocation data center for stalled growth -- or worse. It’s never been more important than ever to align across your entire go-to-market team: sales, marketing, customer success, product, channel partnerships, and executive leadership.
Table Stakes for Excellence in the Colocation Data Center Marketplace
The biggest goal of most colocation data centers is to provide a secure, reliable, and highly efficient environment for their customers to house their IT infrastructure and equipment.
From an IT, facilities, and product management standpoint, you’ll, at the minimum, need to be able to check off these diligence boxes:
- Compliance and Regulations: Data centers must adhere to industry-specific regulations and compliance standards (e.g., HIPAA for healthcare data or GDPR for European data). Ensuring client compliance is a significant goal.
- Connectivity: Data centers often serve as network hubs, providing high-speed internet connections and access to multiple network service providers. This connectivity is essential for businesses that require fast, reliable internet access.
- Cost Savings: By outsourcing data center services, businesses can reduce their capital expenditure on building and maintaining their own infrastructure. Colocation facilities aim to provide cost-effective solutions for their clients, shifting capital expenditures (CapEx) to operational expenditures (OpEx), which many CFOs truly appreciate.
- Customer Support: Providing excellent customer support is a fundamental goal. Data center staff are trained to assist clients with their technical needs and promptly address any issues.
- Data Security: Colocation data centers prioritize data security, employing strict physical and digital security measures to protect sensitive information and prevent unauthorized access or breaches. Any prospect who’s ever toured your facilities must walk away with a strong impression that you’ve addressed these fundamental security issues.
- Disaster Recovery: Colocation data centers offer disaster recovery solutions, including backup power generators and off-site data backup, to ensure business continuity during a catastrophe.
- Efficiency: Maximizing energy efficiency is a significant goal -- especially in a world where Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) is now highly prioritized. Advanced cooling techniques, energy-efficient hardware, and renewable energy sources can all reduce environmental impact and operating costs.
- Environmental Responsibility: Many colocation data centers aim to reduce environmental impact by adopting green technologies, such as energy-efficient cooling and renewable energy sources.
- High Availability: Colocation data centers must ensure their services are available 24/7, with minimal downtime. Redundant power supplies, cooling systems, and network connections are helping to make this happen.
- Scalability: Data centers are designed to accommodate the growth of their clients' IT infrastructure. They provide the flexibility to scale up or down as businesses' needs change, often without significant disruptions.
- Service Level Agreements (SLAs): Meeting or exceeding SLAs is crucial. Colocation data centers often offer service guarantees for uptime, connectivity, and support response times.
The intensely competitive colocation data center marketplace requires a company like yours to offer a secure, dependable, and efficient environment for housing IT infrastructure. Your best practices and data center excellence ultimately enable your customers to focus on their core operations while benefiting from your expertise and resources.
Other Sales and Marketing Resources for Colocation Data Centers
For Data Center Sales Teams
- 3 Data Center Sales Productivity Tips Every data center sales team wants to sign up more clients. However, the average salesperson spends only 32% of their time selling. The rest of the time, they are engaged in minor administrative tasks that prevent them from focusing on expanding the company's client base. When they manage to follow up on leads, many of these people are not ready to commit to a purchase. These are common problems, but there are ways that a company can better support its sales team and eliminate their mundane tasks so that they can close more sales.
- 5 Ways to Keep More Data Center Leads In Your Sales Funnel No matter if your company allocates resources to business development representatives (BDRs), digital marketing, or alternative methods for generating leads, effective lead generation demands a substantial investment. Given this consideration, maximizing the potential of the data center leads at your disposal becomes crucial. Discover five strategies to retain a more significant number of data center leads within your sales pipeline.
- Are Colocation Companies’ Sales Teams Prepared for What’s Coming? When you look at the sales teams at colocation companies, it’s often a pretty diverse crowd. You often find some veterans with decades of experience in IT or telecommunications sales, some rookies, and quite a few in between. However, unless you have a very forward-thinking sales director working hand in hand with a very forward-thinking chief marketing officer, your colocation company’s ability to compete may be a lot more in jeopardy than you realize – especially if there’s no close alignment between your sales and marketing teams. Here’s why.
- Colocation Providers: Helping vs. Harassing Many colocation providers attempt to win new business by commanding the attention of prospects. These approaches include telemarketing cold calls, direct-mail campaigns, unsolicited emails, and unsolicited text messages.
- Do Data Center Sales Teams Need Better Lead Tracking? Here at DCSMI, we speak with many data center sales reps and sales leaders each year. What we always first quite surprising is how few sales teams for data center providers are getting (a) leads provided by their marketing teams and (b) lead tracking data or essential lead intelligence beyond just a few primary form fields.
- How Colocation Data Centers Accelerate Revenue Very few influencers and decision-makers buy colocation services on a whim. Engaging the services of a colo data center is almost always a very research-intensive, considered sales process that can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months – even years, depending on scope. You must understand your various deal stages and average sales cycle length to get a handle on your sales funnel. But given all of this, there are some very specific steps that your colo data center can take to accelerate its revenue – so sales close faster.
- How Colocation Providers Close Sales Faster in Today’s Buyer’s Journey Many colocation providers are growing slower than expected due to misguided trust in outdated marketing and sales playbooks. Over the past three to five years, we’ve seen dramatic changes in how IT evaluators and decision-makers navigate the buyer’s journey from prospect to paying client. The colocation providers that still market and sell how they have for the past decade leave much opportunity on the table. Here’s why.
- How Data Center Operators Land Bigger Deals in Top Markets Who are the ideal clients that your company can most profitably serve? Moreover, what services should you sell to them, and at what price points? However, since CEOs and sales directors at smaller data centers often have client-envy – or ‘the grass must be greener on the other side of the fence’ syndrome – DCSMI often gets this question about closing deals with more prominent clients.
- How Data Center Sales Teams Easily Close Better Clients For data center sales teams to close more world-class clients, first define what world-class clients are. Be super crisp about the meaning of world-class so it can segment leads between qualified, super-qualified, marginally qualified, and not qualified.
- How Data Centers Use Social Selling to Increase Sales Social selling has become extremely popular today. As a matter of fact, it is replacing traditional marketing tactics, such as cold-calling and bulk mailings. Selling through social networks is helping many data centers with their sales and lead generation through continually publishing eye-catching content that draws their customers to them.
- How Data Centers Can Get the Decision Maker's Attention The best ways for data centers to attract, approach, and get in front of today’s decision-makers are to educate prospects on the problems they are experiencing, focus on the decision makers’ interests and opportunities, and invest in content that adds value to their prospect’s sales experience.
- How Data Centers Find the Right Clients Are you a data center struggling to find the right clients to enter your front door? Then, you’ve come to the right place to learn the steps you need to take to get found by your ideal clients.
- How Data Centers Improve Prospecting for New Clients Before your data center's marketing and sales teams can start promoting and selling your products and services, you must find and contact potential clients. In other words, prospecting. Identifying prospective clients requires understanding your market and industry, which involves research and the ability to draft buyer personas. There are two types of prospecting methods.
- How Data Center Sales Teams Improve Pipeline Activity You and your data center sales team need a firm grasp of product/market fit to improve your pipeline activity and results. Product/market fit describes how well products and services at the right price points fill market demand. People do tons of research upfront before they are ready to engage with your sales team. Learn how the buyer’s journey has changed.
- How IT Buyers Make Data Center Purchase Decisions A successful sales strategy needs to consider buyer actions and leverage this knowledge to craft a strategic and impactful marketing initiative. In this scenario, knowledge is the driving force and the essential element for sustained goal attainment. Is your data center well-versed in IT buyers' methods to investigate and finalize their procurement choices?
- How Social Media Can Grow Your Data Center Sales Results How are you using social media to increase revenue growth in data center revenue? Every hour, one million profiles are viewed on LinkedIn. Four million comments are made on Instagram. 167 million views are generated on YouTube. 21 million tweets are posted on Twitter. And eight million photos are posted to Facebook. With breathtaking stats like these, it’s no wonder that most forward-thinking business executives want to use social media to attract new clients. And for tech-savvy businesses in the data center, cloud services, and mission-critical industries, the business growth potential is even more pronounced.
- Positioning Your Data Center Sales Process to Gain Leverage When buyers make purchasing decisions—whether for data center services or new computer equipment—they prefer dealing with experts. They want a vendor with a proven solution for their needs and who understands what they want. For the sales team, that means gaining more leverage in the sales process by (a) positioning themselves as experts in their field and (b) making it clear that they understand their buyer’s problem and know how to correct it. For many companies, this requires them to transform how they position themselves.
- Why Data Center Sales Directors Let Marketing Control Their Paychecks The buyer’s journey for mid-market and enterprise technology has changed drastically in recent years. As recently as ten years ago, cold calling, direct mail, rented email lists, and elaborate trade show booths were all essential parts of the playbook for data center sales directors. Today, it’s a different buyer’s journey – a totally different ball game if you like baseball analogies.
- Your Data Center Webinars and CRM Follow-Up Many data centers and cloud service providers use webinars to help educate and build trust among prospective clients. Does your company use webinars to help educate and guide clients and prospects? As a cloud service provider, data center, or company that sells to them, webinars are excellent platforms to help guide prospects. But how are you tracking who’s attended your webinar, who missed it, and who watched the recording? Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software can help you stay on top of the details.
For Data Center Marketing Teams
- 2 Biggest Data Center Lead Generation Mistakes To generate qualified leads through a website, many parts must be included to find ideal clients successfully. You want to design a website that appeals to buyer personas and contains many actionable items or digital assets. Incorporating digital assets into your website builds trust with prospects and the current client base. Here are two proven mistakes that data centers experience when attempting to generate leads.
- 2 Ways Colocation Services Stink Up Their Social Media Social media is an interesting animal. Why? Because a lot of people take what they know from their personal lives and try to apply that to marketing and selling their colocation services. Left unchecked and unchallenged, this arrogance can screw up their social media presence. So looking at things with a more positive spin, what are the most critical social media best practices?
- 3 Data Center Marketing Tactics Most Companies Need In Their Mix Most companies in the data center, cloud services, and mission-critical industries invest in marketing like the iPhone, Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Alexa had never been invented. The typical excuse-making centers around things like: “We’re not there yet.” Or, “We don’t have the bandwidth.” Or, “There’s no budget.” Or, “Our customers are different.”
- 3 Personal Branding Tips for Data Center Sales & Marketing Executives The way prospects and clients research and purchase data center-related services has changed dramatically during the past five years. As a result, 80% or more of the decision-making process is over before a prospect even comes into contact with a data center company’s sales or marketing executives. So, what prospects uncover about you and your brand matters a lot. Here are three personal branding tips that are especially relevant to customer-facing sales and marketing professionals in the data center industry:
- 3 Ways Colocation Data Centers Convert Website Visitors Into Leads Most executives at colocation data centers recognize the importance of having a website as a valuable 24/7 marketing and sales enablement asset. However, many colocation companies seem to fumble around when converting their website visitors into qualified leads. Learn why and how your colocation website must be able to efficiently convert its visitors into marketing qualified leads (MQLs).
- 4 Ways Data Center Providers Get the Most Out of Webinars Most data center executives and cloud service providers understand the value of webinars. A well-executed webinar educates, builds trust, and converts leads into customers. Depending on the hosting platform, webinars can tell you who tuned in and how long they tuned in for and allow hosts to interact with prospects/clients. Webinars are complex campaigns that require a lot of preparation, material, and promotion to get business owners the most value for their content. With all the time and effort required to plan a webinar, it is crucial to remember to promote both the live and the recorded version to draw in prospects/clients. The following are various ways data center executives and cloud service providers can promote webinars before and after the initial broadcast.
- 6 Ways to Keep Your Data Center Blog Fresh Here’s something data center professionals likely don’t consider very often: Without content, the Internet would be empty (or nearly empty). And how many data centers would an “empty” Internet truly need? If you’re thinking not very many, you’re getting warmer. So even among super-cynical data center IT and facilities staff that make snide, sarcastic, nasty remarks about their colleagues in marketing and sales -- face the facts: No content = much fewer jobs in operations, engineering, security, and DevOps. Here are six ways to keep your data center’s blog content fresh while satisfying the revenue growth goals of your sales team, executive team, and board.
- 9 Ways Data Center Professionals Can Get More Out of LinkedIn You have no idea what you're missing if you’re a data center professional and are not active on LinkedIn. For example, approximately 1.5 million LinkedIn members worldwide have the phrase “data center” somewhere in their profiles. Of those, almost a quarter million (248,600) have posted on LinkedIn during the past 30 days. With that in mind, here are nine ways that data center professionals -- especially those in executive, sales, marketing, business development, channel, account management, and product management roles -- can get more out of LinkedIn.
- Are Data Center Businesses Dropping the Ball on Lead Generation Forms? To generate leads from your website, you need forms, chatbots, or something similar that ask your website visitors questions. This invaluable information is then added to your contacts database to power the rest of your marketing and sales funnel. However, when it comes to forms for generating and qualifying leads, many data center businesses are asleep at the wheel. Learn how to effectively use lead generation forms to convert website visitors into leads and set your data center’s marketing and sales funnel up for scalable, predictable success.
- Best Data Center Advertising Channels The best advertising channels for your data center depend on where your buyer persona is already hanging out. How do we know which channels, groups, and hashtags to use? This should all be discovered during your buyer persona research.
- Can Colocation Services Keep Up with High-Volume Content Creation? For data centers offering colocation services, the marketing game has changed. Content pieces that are general in scope and released without a buyer persona in mind are a wasted effort. The competitive landscape has also widened: a mile across town, the data center is no longer your only rival for customer attention. Now you must also contend with businesses and groups targeting the same buyer persona. They can be local- or all the way across the country, or on the other side of the world.
- Data Center Challenges Around Measuring Marketing Results and ROI Measuring ROI on marketing initiatives is always challenging. It can be difficult to pinpoint precisely how much business mileage a data center gets from the time its marketing team spends on social media posts, blog entries, and other forms of digital media. It’s easy enough to track how many people use and interact with those assets, but how many of them contribute to the data center’s bottom line by becoming a client?
- Data Center Checklist for Analyzing Your Website Performance How’s your website’s performance? Do you have SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound)? Or is your website strategy primarily based on superficial, vanity priorities? In this post, you’ll get introduced to a data center checklist that helps you analyze the revenue component of your website performance. You’ll also see which key metrics need attention with website lead generation.
- Do Colocation Companies Personalize Content for Buyer Personas? Until recently, colocation companies used demographic data to identify and attract their target market. Such vague details are less useful for modern prospects, who ignore online information that is not relevant to them personally. Nearly half of all prospects claim to receive irrelevant emails routinely. They have developed mechanisms for tuning out such marketing and sales white noise. As a result, colocation companies and other businesses are struggling to understand and appeal to the buying behaviors of today’s data center buyers. The solution is buyer personas, swiftly becoming a marketing and sales mainstay.
- Do Colocation Hosting Websites Need Goals? What About Data Centers? Many who create and manage colocation hosting websites focus on design and branding, not on achieving goals. And this – ignoring goals at the expense of design and branding -- is a terrific approach, as long as you’re still operating in the early 2000s, in an era where your sales team still dominated the buyer’s journey. Today it’s pretty different. Typically 60% to 90% of the decision-making process for colocation hosting and data center-related services happens before a qualified prospect is ready for a conversation with someone from your sales team. This represents a drastic shift in power towards the buyer, away from the seller, and in which many firms are not getting found early enough. So what goals must be factored into your website and overall digital strategy?
- Do Colocation Providers Need to Worry About Inbound Marketing? As cloud and managed services are popular, marketing is essential in generating new business. Colocation providers haven’t always gotten this part right, so executives worry about tactics like inbound marketing. More than other marketing strategies, inbound marketing and lead generation make the most sense in this context. This is because you can be there (with your online presence) at the exact moment when someone is searching for a solution that you’re able to provide.
- Do Data Center Colocation Services Know What Sales-Ready Looks Like? The primary goal for data center colocation service marketers is to obtain qualified leads. If your team uses inbound marketing strategies, you are in luck because most of these leads have already demonstrated an interest in your services and, at the very least, are considering a purchase. In this respect, you are already way ahead of data centers collecting leads through traditional marketing approaches. The challenge is to determine whether or not these leads are sales-ready.
- Data Center Marketing Plan Checklist At some point, most marketing professionals in the data center industry are asked to create a demand generation plan. Here are a few thoughts -- a checklist of sorts -- on creating a data center marketing plan.
- Email Marketing Best Practices for Colocation Data Centers Occasionally, some marketing prognosticator predicts that email marketing is declining, nearing the ninth inning, and no longer effective. Not even close! Why? 86% of business professionals prefer email over other ways to communicate. 59% of B2B marketers rank email marketing as their most effective revenue generation channel. And for every $1 invested in email marketing, $44 in new revenue is generated. But just because you send and receive emails doesn’t mean you’re ready to plan, manage, and optimize an email marketing campaign. With that in mind, what are some of the most important email marketing best practices for colocation data centers (and companies that sell to data centers)?
- Fill Your Colocation Space Faster with Highly Personalized Content It has happened to all of us. After watching a movie on Netflix and giving it five stars when prompted for a rating, we are fast-tracked to a screen that introduces us to other movies we will likely enjoy. Cue another film marathon and the perpetual renewal of our Netflix membership. Thanks to changes in modern consumer habits with the rise of services such as Netflix and iTunes, which allow customer preference to drive the shopping experience, no single content strategy will resonate with everyone. Personalized content marketing has gathered momentum over the last couple of years and will be mandatory for colocation data centers that hope to grow.
- Filling Your Data Center Space With Full-Funnel Inbound Marketing A few years back, if you were a CEO or sales director who needed to fill up your data center space with new clients, you bought more email lists and spammed more people. You pushed your sales team hard to make more cold calls. You bought banner ads and trade show booths to interrupt people. Be honest. You hounded or harassed the heck out of your prospects and hoped you beat a few into submission long enough to allow you to pitch them your data center services. It's not exactly the ideal way to begin a relationship.
- Has Your Server Colocation Revenue Growth Stalled? If you’re a server colocation company's CEO or sales director, you already have much on your plate. For example, your typical week might be spent developing and improving processes, leading strategic initiatives, managing and mentoring staff, managing major client accounts, and speaking at industry events. But when push comes to shove, you’re likely also accountable to your board and investors about revenue growth – which, if at any time has stalled, will indeed not sit well. The challenge is that the buyer’s journey for server colocation has changed drastically in the past few years.
- How's Your Data Center Sales and Marketing Team's Social Media? Every day, 518,400 people join Facebook, 172,800 join LinkedIn, and 44,410 join Twitter. LinkedIn says over 1.5 million users have the phrase “data center” in their profiles. So it’s understandable that data center sales and marketing teams prioritize social media in their promotional mix. But there’s a difference between being “on” social media and using social media effectively -- to attract the right prospects, in the right places, at the right time, and most of all: in the proper context. Here are four big social mistakes data center sales and marketing teams make -- so you don’t have to repeat their errors:
- How Buyer Personas Help Colocation Companies Personalize Content Up until recently, colocation companies used demographic data to identify and attract their target market. Such vague details are not as useful for modern prospects, who ignore online information irrelevant to them. As a result, colocation companies struggle to understand and appeal to today’s buying behavior. The solution is buyer personas.
- How Data Center Marketing Teams Generate More Website Leads As buyers of data center-related products and services become more digitally immersed, becoming addicted to their mobile devices and platforms like Airbnb, Amazon Prime, Facebook, Google, Netflix, and Uber, their buyer preferences have changed drastically. Ten years ago, a prospect or client needing data center- or enterprise- IT services spoke with someone on your sales team about when that person was, perhaps 10% to 20% into their buyer’s journey and 10% to 20% into their decision-making process. Those days are long gone.
- How Data Center Providers Can Build an Effective Content Strategy As industry consolidation accelerates, the merger and acquisition announcements seem to pop up at least monthly. Within the data center, cloud services, and mission-critical space, colocation and wholesale providers struggle to differentiate in, many times, brutally competitive local and regional markets. One of the best ways for data center providers to stand out is to position their companies and their executives as subject matter experts and thought leaders. It sounds fairly straightforward in theory, but implementation can be way more challenging. So, what can providers of outsourced data centers do to build an effective content strategy?
- How Data Centers Attract and Convert Leads To attract and convert their leads, data centers must educate prospects on how to solve their challenges. Businesses must build trust with clients and prospects to ensure they believe in your team to fix their problems. Content is the key to developing a trusting client relationship.
- How Data Centers Attract Prospects In Small Markets First and foremost, let’s quantify—regarding your sales team's ability to attract prospects in a small market—what small is. When researching buyer personas, your industry's addressable market size is part of your due diligence. This includes product/market fit, a deep understanding of your competition, content creation, and distribution. You want to ensure your content reaches the right data center prospects.
- How Data Centers Build National Brand Awareness The web disproves the idea anyone is local. Obviously, you have your primary locations but may feel (rightly so) there is an advantage to conducting business in other parts of the region—or even parts of the country. When calculating product/market fit and developing buyer personas, your business's secondary goal may be to build brand awareness nationally. To grow your business’s national presence, you must be more specific and deliberate about the buyer personas you are trying to attract.
- How Data Centers Can Promote Webinars As a data center or colocation provider, webinars are an extremely beneficial addition to your master plan for your revenue growth strategy. People learn in different ways -- visual, verbal, logical, or physical. Therefore, providing educational content in different formats for different learning styles is essential. That said, live or recorded web events are great for visual learners and those who enjoy listening versus reading. But how do you get people to attend?
- How Data Centers Connect the Dots Between Blogging and Lead Generation For many marketers, blogging is the bread and butter of your data center business. Blogging powers your search engine optimization (SEO) and social media, and provides material for further content production. So how do data centers create remarkable content to attract prospects?
- How Data Centers Create Effective Live Events Data centers and cloud service providers have likely hosted an in-person networking event. A breakfast or cocktail party in their office to bring in potential clients for a tour or to meet the team. But have you considered using webinars to build relationships with clients who may be too far away to stop in for an hour or two? But how can you be sure the right people will hear about it and attend?
- How Data Centers Educate Through Webinars When developing a webinar, many steps are critical to the webinar's success. You must choose the right topic, speakers, timeslot, and tools to power full-funnel revenue growth, set up your pre-flight checklist, and create and promote your webinar. After these steps, ensuring your webinar content is educational is the most critical best practice for creating growth-driven webinars. To balance educational content with your revenue goals, your first step is to put away your sales pitch.
- How Data Centers Find the Right Webinar Topics Sometimes, finding the proper content that fits your primary buyer persona can be difficult. However, you can take many avenues to find an attractive topic that will appeal to your audience.
- How Data Centers Generate More Highly-Qualified Leads To generate more highly qualified leads and opportunities, data centers must attract the right strangers as early as possible in decision-making. Early discovery grants the opportunity to be a guru or teacher, frame how prospects evaluate alternatives, and influence their buyer’s journey.
- How Data Centers Get Their Content in Front of the Right Eyes Most colocation data centers understand the importance of promotion. There isn’t much sense in investing countless hours creating, developing, and revising a service only to shelve it and hope consumers come to you; this is where promotion kicks in. The following tips help data centers get their content in front of the right audience.
- How Data Centers Grow Revenue Despite Limited Staff You can still grow revenue despite having limited staff at your data center. However, it depends on what you believe is a limited staff. You must have product/market fit; it can be extremely painful and challenging sometimes to achieve product/market fit. To support product /market fit, you need the following for each stage of your buyer’s journey: SMART goals, buyer personas, keyword research, and conversion paths (calls-to-action, landing pages, and thank you pages).
- How Data Centers Improve Website Conversion To improve your website conversion, you need premium content, call-to-actions (CTAs), landing pages, and thank-you pages. Your content has to attract prospects in all stages of the buyer’s journey, whether in the Awareness, Consideration, or Decision Stages.
- How Data Centers Leverage Content to Educate and Build Trust It’s a simple idea. If you give your prospects and clients the right content at the right time, you will catch their attention, keep it, and hopefully close more deals. That’s part of the value of content marketing for data center providers. Another critical factor is that it allows you to educate and build trust with these audiences, which is a highly important goal. Without trust, no relationship can progress past a certain level. Here are ways your data center company can leverage content to educate people and build the trust that can inspire a long and mutually beneficial business relationship.
- How to Repurpose Data Center Webinars as Offline Events After conducting a live data center webinar event and distributing the recorded version, don’t you think putting the technology away and sharing your knowledge in person would be beneficial? Although some people love the concept of webinars, others still prefer meeting people in person, and those people could be potential leads. How can you promote and conduct an offline version of your webinar?
- How to Track Data Center Leads Before, During, and After Conferences In the data center industry, conferences are a big deal. In the U.S. alone, there’s a host of local, regional, and national conferences, including those from 7×24 Exchange, AFCOM/Data Center World, Bisnow | Data Center Commercial Real Estate Events, CAPRE, Critical Facilities Summit, DatacenterDynamics DCD, DCAC Austin, Gartner | IT Infrastructure, Operations Management & Data Center Operations Conference, International Telecoms Week | ITW, and NANOG. So with all the investments that companies make to attend, exhibit, speak at, and sponsor these events, one of the biggest challenges is generating a positive return on investment (ROI).
- How Your Data Center Can Attract More Ideal Buyers Does your data center want to attract more ideal buyers? The ideology behind blogging is to convert strangers into visitors. You do not want to attract just anybody through your content; you want your content to appeal to your buyer personas. To attract your ideal customers, you must create remarkable content that is relevant, educational, and interesting for the people who will potentially buy your services. You want your blog to catch the attention of strangers and turn them into website visitors who will spark a reaction to your content and want more. These practices will move your visitors further through the sales cycle. For your inbound marketing efforts to succeed, you must comprehend the buyer’s journey and the full benefits of blogging. Following are the key best practices that will make your inbound voyage successful.
- Offline Marketing for Data Centers, Cloud Services, and Mission Critical With all the hype that every announcement from Facebook, Google, Instagram, LinkedIn, and X (Twitter) gets, you’d think there’s not much hope for offline marketing -- especially regarding campaigns for data centers, cloud services, and mission-critical kinds of businesses. But don’t count offline marketing out yet, even among tech-savvy buyers. Here are four tips to improve your results:
- Should Data Center Colocation Adopt the Inbound Methodology? Most data center colocation providers are familiar with the traditional marketing approach, which uses spammy emails, aggressive online advertisements, and annoying cold calls to push their messages to prospective clients. They may not know that this type of conventional marketing and prospecting has become much less effective: resenting the intrusion, prospects have adopted spam filters, ad blockers, and caller ID to keep out unwanted solicitations. A new methodology has evolved to accommodate how today’s IT buyers make purchasing decisions:
- Tips for Branding Your Data Center After Acquisition Are you a post-merger and acquisition (M&A) data center? What should your data center be doing to brand the new company? Branding a new company involves two highly critical tactics: (a) SMART goals and (b) buyer personas. Following a merger and acquisition in the data center industry, sales and marketing teams often face numerous struggles and challenges. Overall, the impact of mergers and acquisitions on data center companies can be significant, but by addressing these challenges, teams can navigate the transition more successfully.
- Tips for Creating Data Center Blog Titles A blog title invites readers to view your content. The title sets expectations and an agenda and entertains readers, daring them to click on your content to learn more about their topic of interest. At the same time, your blog title can make or break your article. So how do data centers create enticing blog titles and topics to attract viewers to their content?
- What Data Centers Should Share on Social Media All too often, data centers share content that aligns with the Decision Stage of the buyer’s journey. Through their sales process, this content supports prospects in the final stage of their buyer’s journey, already 70% or more. While content should be shared with buyers in the final stages of their sales cycles, neglecting content development for other stages of the buyer’s journey makes businesses entirely invisible to most buyers in the Awareness and Consideration Stages of their buyer’s journey.
- What is the Colocation Data Center Buyer’s Journey? The buyer's journey refers to how a stranger evaluates the prospect of engaging with your colocation data center. Over the past decade, this journey has evolved quite a bit, shifting from a seller-focused approach to a much more buyer-centric one today. To earn the role of a trusted advisor and establish connections with potential customers, it's imperative to grasp how your ideal clients navigate their research and decision-making. This understanding will enable you to act as their informed guide throughout the process.
- Which Data Center Service Providers Blog Well? Because data center service providers sell to a highly technical audience, a website with helpful, educational thought leadership content is more of a necessity than a luxury. In today’s highly competitive data center marketplace, that pretty much means that your website must have a blog and promote its content on social media. But it’s not enough to check off the box and say you have a blog.
- Which Data Center Trade Shows Should You Attend? If you’re like many data center CEOs and other executives, you have a core list of trade shows and industry conferences that are on your “must” list each year. Regardless of whether your company exhibits, you speak at, or you simply attend, which national and regional data center trade shows make the most sense for you to attend?
- Why Data Center Hosting Websites Market to Crickets If you build a website for your hosting firm and no one visits your website, that matters – mainly potential clients – did you really “build” a website? In this post, we’ll look at why so many data center hosting websites spin their wheels, attract virtually no strangers that matter, and end up marketing to crickets. But even more importantly, you’ll learn how to avoid becoming that following statistic.
- Why Data Centers Focus Content on Goals Data centers and end users have different concerns and needs. Sure, there are some traits you could assign to both, but at the end of the day, the two have separate roles, and you must separate these two audiences to understand what they look for when evaluating partners. To create content that resonates with each audience, buyer personas must be generated, separate content must be made, and different topics must be covered.
- Why Outbound Marketing is a Problem for Data Centers Is your data center still employing outbound marketing methods to attract new customers? In this context, outbound marketing refers to the conventional marketing approach where businesses actively pursue clients through intrusive strategies. Outbound marketing hinges on unsolicited phone calls, widespread email campaigns, radio and TV advertisements, and print promotions in magazines and newspapers, and it was once an effective means of engaging potential leads.
For Data Center Go-to-Market Executive Sponsors
- 4 Mistakes Colocation and Wholesale Data Centers Make With Digital Transformation Many colocation and wholesale data center providers include digital transformation in their menu of solutions promoted on their websites. But here’s a dirty little secret many don’t want to know: Many of these same companies' own sales and marketing teams struggle with digital transformation. To help you ensure your company doesn’t repeat its transgressions, consider these four mistakes that colocation and wholesale data center sales and marketing teams make when working on their digital transformation.
- 8 Signs Your Data Center's Sales and Marketing Are Falling Behind The data center, cloud services, and mission-critical industries move fast. If you have any doubt about this, just put the hashtags #datacenter #cloudservices or #missioncritical into the search box on Facebook, LinkedIn, or (X) Twitter -- and attempt to digest the past 24 hours of posts. However, many companies in the data center industry or that sell to the industry are getting lulled into a false sense of complacency. Why?
- Are Colocation Hosting Providers Aligned Around Shared Goals? Getting sales and marketing teams on the same page is a problem in nearly every corporate setting. For most colocation hosting providers, marketing is responsible for sourcing leads, while sales convert leads into clients. Unfortunately, the two teams rarely work in tandem. Worse yet, many words sales and marketing personnel use to describe one another are less than flattering. The good news is there are ways hosting providers can fix this situation.
- Are Data Center Companies Chasing a Broken Playbook? Most C-level executives of data center companies are not new to the industry. And even if they are new to leading a data center provider, they came from a company that was one degree of separation away – during the previous 10 to 15 years of their careers. Early on in their careers, scaling marketing and sales was pretty straightforward. The plan included renting lists, making cold calls, emailing those lists (basically what’s known as spamming), and exhibiting at trade shows. And things were humming along pretty sweetly until along came change.
- Are Data Center Providers Getting Found Early Enough? Many data center providers use the same marketing and sales playbook they’ve depended on for the past decade. The problem, however, is that there have been dramatic changes in how many of the most ideal IT decision-makers navigate the buyer’s journey.
- Are Your Data Center Solutions Getting Found Early Enough to Matter? Ten years ago, most IT decision-makers and evaluators found out about various data center solutions through cold calls from salespeople, trade show booths, direct mail, ads in trade publications, and spam emails. Today, the buying process has completely changed. The sales rep no longer runs the show because of significant disruption from the consumerization of IT and the mainstream adoption of search engines, social media, mobile devices, and cloud computing. Most decision-makers and evaluators do as much as 80%+ of their upfront research before they’re ready for a conversation with sales. This is a massive change in behavior for many data centers that naively believe that their buyers don’t use the Internet to research products and services.
- Colocation Market Problems: No One's Talking About Colocation services are experiencing ongoing expansion, yet the colocation market encounters hurdles that need solutions. Specific challenges, like competition from cloud-based data solutions and the reluctance of CIOs to relinquish complete control over infrastructure, are readily apparent. There are less-discussed issues within the market. Explore several of these concerns and their potential consequences for the colocation market.
- Differentiating Your Data Center in a Crowded Market Interestingly, if you look at market research firms or conference organizers, they often look at the five or six biggest data center regions in the U.S. as Northern Virginia, Dallas, Northern and Southern California, Chicago, and New York. Every once in a while, you will see them break away from these most popular data center locations. For instance, we have seen much more data center activity in the Pacific Northwest, Utah, and different Midwest areas lately.
- Do Colocation Data Centers Need SMARTer Goals? Ask the owner of a struggling business what their plans are, and you will likely hear, “Bring client numbers up.” Pose the same question to their more successful competitor, and you can expect an answer that includes clearly established and articulated specific goals. Like any company, the success of a colocation data center hinges on the ability of its managers or owners to set and attain positive goals. The way to do that is SMART goal setting.
- How Colocation Providers Analyze Competition and the Buyer's Journey The colocation market is steadily changing as entities such as colocation, enterprise hosting, private cloud, and managed services begin to merge and intertwine. Where each enterprise once held different markets, clients, business models, and offerings, the line continues to blur as each competitor strives to hold their stake in the market. This competitive atmosphere makes it essential for colocation providers to stay on task, identify the right clients and partners, and maintain their pricing power.
- How Data Center CEOs Get a Clear Vision Wayne Gretzky (a famous NHL player) has been noted for saying, “Skate to where the puck is going, not where the puck has been.” Mark Twain once advised, “It's not what we don't know that gets us into trouble; it’s what we know for sure that just ain't so.” Along the same lines, to remain competitive and gain a clearer perspective on their industry, data center CEOs must (a) discontinue over-investing in dying marketing channels and (b) discontinue under-investing in the future. CEOs must ask the right questions and become chief learners to define their company vision.
- How Data Center Providers Can Get More Executive Support Data centers should lead with data to gain more executive support. Show how your company compares with competitors, including direct, indirect, and non-business model competitors. Remember, once you start going on social media and search engines, many companies, organizations, trade publications, conferences, and channel programs write on topics awfully similar to those you want to use to catch your buyers’ attention.
- How Data Centers Avoid Bad Clients Data centers should strive to be discovered early in their prospects’ buyer’s journey. Early discovery gives data centers a massive advantage over competitors, allowing vendors to prove their value, influence, advise, and educate their prospects. So how does one gain early detection in the sales cycle?
- How Data Centers Compete in Local Markets What can your data center do to compete in a mid-tier city? First, you must conduct a competitive analysis and identify your core market. Once you understand who you are trying to attract, you must provide customized content for each buyer persona.
- How Smaller Data Centers Compete with Big Box Data Centers One of the biggest challenges small data centers face is perception – in particular, the perception by many prospects that bigger is better. Because perception, in many ways, is reality, there’s only so much you can do to change that perception. Or is there?
- How to Best Enhance Your Data Center Thought Leadership To position your data center as a world-class communicator, grow your business, and attract world-class clients, do not be a sloppy blogger. Don’t just blog once in a blue moon. And definitely don’t solely put glorified press releases on your blog. These strategies may have cut it ten years ago, but they will not cut it today.
- Is Server Colocation Being Disrupted as Old Playbooks Become Obsolete? Technology has changed how consumers shop for everything, including colocation services. However, those responsible for marketing these services are slow to part with the old tried and actual marketing playbook, which includes persuasion tools like direct mail, cold email campaigns, cold calling, and traditional brand advertising.
- Is Your Data Center Colocation Sales and Marketing Living in the Past? Those in the data center colocation business have been through dizzying changes in recent months. For many and their local competitors, this turbulence has included unprecedented mergers and acquisitions, increasing density, game-changing state tax incentives, system downtime threats, hyper-converged systems, and cloud threats and opportunities. However, it's been pretty unsettling for many that market and sell data center colocation services. Why?
- Is Wholesale Colocation Causing Market Oversupply? The simple answer to this question is first looking at supply and then demand. However, you might come to the wrong conclusion without digging deeper into both aspects. While it is true that data center capacity gluts sometimes make the headlines (in the specialized press, at least), we need to know more. Answers to the following questions help make a definitive statement about wholesale colocation and its effect on the market.
- Is Your Colocation Pricing Based on Differentiation or Desperation? Successful differentiation that protects your colocation pricing and profits will not happen alone. However, competitive pressures and self-awareness create an opportunity for you to take charge of your destiny as a colocation provider, and undoubtedly a better option than being a victim of price pressure (and perhaps somebody else’s desperation.)
- Is Your Data Center Company Focused on SMART Goals? Marketing and sales changed more in the past five years than in the previous fifty. This significantly impacts how your data center company engages with potential clients. With more than 80% of the buyer’s journey and decision-making process now over before potential data center clients are ready to engage, your firm must get found by the right decision-makers, in the right places, at the right time, and in the right context. Learn how to set client acquisition and revenue-generation goals and explain those goals to other stakeholders in your data center company.
- Is Your Data Center Pricing Page Hurting Your Sales Cycle? Regarding data center pricing, the lack of transparency often makes it difficult for customers to compare data centers, prices, and services. As a result, it is not uncommon for pricing pages to turn potential buyers away. However, colocation operators have become aware of this, and there’s a recent trend toward use-based pricing that’s helping to minimize confusion. With used-based pricing trends, customers can achieve significant savings over time.
- Launching a Data Center Channel Partner Program If you want to grow your data center's client list and revenue, you’ve likely at least considered building a channel partner program and recruiting like-minded VARs and MSPs. This is a very appealing proposition for many CEOs as you’ll likely reach highly fragmented market segments that wouldn’t be cost-effective to reach on your own. And you’ll gain an army of evangelists and sales staff without increasing your organization's headcount.
- Server Colocation Revenue Growth and Leverage If you regularly talk with folks in sales and marketing at server colocation companies, you discover a highly fragmented industry with wide variations in target markets, services delivered, and average client lifetime value (LTV). So each colo provider needs a different path and plan for scalable, predictable revenue growth. However, colocation is largely based on real estate – location, location, location – and owning assets that, with lots of value-adds, can be rented out for a premium. This asset ownership is many times what builds leverage into their balance sheets.
- Should Colocation Centers Work Backwards from Revenue? In business, sometimes, going forward means looking back first. On the surface, it seems counterproductive to establish a goal (in this instance, a revenue target) first and then work backward to achieve it. Isn’t progress a forward motion? When used in business, this type of reverse engineering is a solid way for colocation centers to set sales and marketing activity goals that work.
- Should Colocation Data Centers Fear Consolidation? First, to understand whether consolidation threatens colocation data centers, ask what kind of consolidation is concerned. IT consolidation, for instance, refers to the actions of an enterprise to reduce its IT resources through more efficient technologies. On the other hand, data center market consolidation refers to mergers or acquisitions of service providers, producing smaller numbers of providers but increasing their average size.
- Should Data Center Experts Disrupt Their Status Quo? Regarding marketing, data center experts must live by one premise: prepare to change. Decades ago, being ‘online’ was optional and largely the purview of academics and the military. Now it is an essential business requirement. Digital marketing has undergone a similar transformation: as recently as a few years ago, it consisted primarily of banner ads and email campaigns. Now the evolution of mobile technology and social media, combined with buyer habits, has changed how businesses interact with and appeal to customers.
- SMART Goals for Data Centers We have all heard a variation of the quote, “If you have a goal, write it down. If you do not write it down, you do not have a goal - you have a wish.” It is true. When written down, the likelihood of remembering and completing a goal increases. To take productivity one step further, apply this method to a SMART goal.
- Solving for Data Center Growth While industry consolidation looms large, data center growth must stay on the front burner for CEOs and sales directors. To make this happen, several interrelated challenges need to be addressed when solving for profitable, scalable growth. Learn about nine factors that can be make-or-break for powering data center growth.
- The Future of Colocation and Its Inbound Implications It is safe to say that colocation is in flux, with increasing competition from cloud alternatives. However, many clients and data center operators are settling into a more intermediate-term hybrid IT reality. That said, macro trends like IoT (Internet of Things), streaming video, and security breaches make the colocation market even more valuable.
- Understanding Colocation and Data Center Buying Trends As the term suggests, buying trends are ever-changing commodities. To understand buying trends, you must first acknowledge the market has changed. Advancements in technology have shifted the market indefinitely. Where buyers once relied on businesses to distribute information, they now have access to an endless supply of information — the internet — and can retrieve this information on their own time, on their terms, without committing to purchasing.
About the Data Center Sales & Marketing Institute (DCSMI) and How It Empowers Go-to-Market Teams at Colocation Data Center Providers
If you’re part of a go-to-market team for a colocation data center provider, you play a pivotal role in the success of your colocation-related business.
You and your colleagues ensure that products and services meet customer needs, get effectively promoted, and generate revenue in a competitive market.
Your team uses a combination of market research, strategic planning, collaboration, and customer-centricity to achieve its goals.
The Data Center Sales & Marketing Institute (DCSMI) is a boutique business advisory, consulting, and training firm for data center providers as well as IT, facilities, and sales and marketing companies that partner with data center providers.
DCSMI understands the unique go-to-market challenges and opportunities that colocation GTM teams face in the rapidly evolving data center marketplace, and we're here to help you excel.
Welcome to DCSMI, your strategic partner in navigating the complex world of data center go-to-market strategy and the role of GTM teams.