Are you a CEO, president, founder, owner, or sales director of a company sells a data center-related product or service? Are your clients enterprise IT end users of data centers, as well as outsourced data center operators, including wholesale and colocation providers?

The data center industry continues to mature at a healthy pace. Cushman & Wakefield estimates that multi-tenant revenue growth will be in the 12% to 14% range each year for the next two to five years.

What’s driving this growth? It’s the same areas one might expect: digital transformation of the global economy, mobile device adoption, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), cloud infrastructure, and data security needs.

Who Sells to Data Centers?

There are over 30 different categories of companies that sell to, service, or partner with data center end users and data center operators. These companies usually operate in one or more of these businesses:

  • Application delivery
  • Asset management
  • Automation
  • Brokerage
  • Cleaning
  • Construction
  • Consulting
  • Cooling
  • Data destruction
  • Data protection
  • Design
  • Electrical construction
  • Energy
  • Engineering
  • Facilities
  • Fire protection
  • Flooring
  • Hardware
  • Infrastructure
  • Integration
  • Management
  • Modular
  • Monitoring
  • Moving
  • Power
  • Real estate
  • Recruiting
  • Recycling
  • Security
  • Software
  • Storage
  • Telecommunications
  • Virtualization

Who Leads These Companies In and Around the Data Center Industry?

The executives that lead these companies tend to be male in their 50s that are married and have two children. Most of these executives have been in their positions for over 10 years and have degrees in some facet of engineering: electrical, industrial, or mechanical engineering.

Most of these executives either came from a large IT company -- such as IBM or Microsoft -- or held a mid-level executive role in a company focused on construction, engineering, integration, power, or telecommunications.

Top Concerns and Priorities

Most of these company executives are highly-focused on data center industry changes, as well as different facets of their CEO role -- including business development, contract negotiation, product management, startups, strategic planning, and raising capital.

Companies that sell to data centers care intensely about the quality of their work and provide outstanding service to achieve very high levels of client retention.

These same companies see their success and revenue growth tied directly to their commitment to listening to and responding to their clients’ needs.

While many leaders of companies that sell to data centers believe their outstanding service is their differentiator, all of their competitors’ CEOs feel that exact same way; meaning outstanding service levels may just be the price of entry and not a form of differentiation, let alone their top differentiator.

Challenges Facing Companies That Sell to Data Centers

For many companies in this space, raising capital and expansion are difficult.

So while hiring and retaining a strong team, along with client retention, are perennial challenges, the companies that sell to data centers often face challenges around developing an effective marketing and sales strategy, generating enough qualified leads, and shortening the sales cycle.

Many often fail to achieve trusted advisor status and end up selling from a position of weakness, which erodes their profit margins and starves resources away from much-needed innovation, research, and development.

The employees of these companies often believe that their leaders need a better growth strategy that reflects rapidly evolving customer needs and the competitive landscape.

Because employees in these companies are often wearing so many different hats, taking on so many varied roles, often the company’s digital presence ends up getting pushed to the back burner.

However it’s difficult for ideal clients to find the company, at the right time, in the right places, and in the right context if the company’s digital footprint is outdated and out of touch with its clients’ and future clients’ most important questions and concerns.

Recommended Resources

If you’re part of a company that sells to data centers and you want to position you and your team for growth, here are some recommended resources: