5 ways to successfully pitch your server sale in a quickly changing market

How to overcome the competition and remain relevant in the IT market.

The move to virtualisation has been a major shift for enterprise IT architectures over the last decade. Although it provides better utilisation of resources, virtualisation has led to a decline in the growth of server sales. Partners don’t need to be too concerned, however, as servers still bring in a valuable revenue stream. The market is still substantial, worth an estimated $11.8 billion.

Even with virtualisation, organisations still need physical hardware to run applications, especially where the cloud is still not suited to certain types of workloads. This can be due to:

  • Latency.
  • Regulatory issues.
  • Data upload/download delays.
  • Costs.

With the popularity of virtualisation, how can you make your servers sale pitch a success?

1. Change your sales approach

Server sales have changed. Smaller businesses may need to buy a server from time to time, but larger businesses already have their head in a virtualised data centre. Your SMB customers are undoubtedly important, but to make the high value sales, you need to approach bigger businesses in the right way.

You are ideally placed to act as the expert authority in helping to specify, deliver and ultimately add value onto your customer’s server purchase. Key requirements expressed by customers often fall into several primary areas:

  • Performance.
  • Availability.
  • Form factor.
  • Price.

2. Understand why your customer is requesting an additional or new server

Starting with performance, the key information that should start any discussion is what type of application will be running on the server, and whether that will be on a virtualisation layer or directly onto an operating system. Some CPUs have optimisation for the various hypervisors, yet performance - irrespective of operating system choice - will come down to a raw mix of CPU, system RAM and attached local storage such as flash. Getting a fuller picture of the operating requirements is essential to specifying the right server.

3. Scope availability within your customer’s environment for more servers

Availability for server purchases should be considered in the wider context of the business need. Very few enterprise organisations have single, redundant servers running critical apps. Instead, many are using clusters or failover within virtualised environments.

Basic options to consider for smaller organisations should include dual PSUs, while a beneficial upsell is the addition of out-of-band management capabilities that allow servers to be remotely managed via the console port as well as the ability to perform hard reset through the PDU.

4. Think about form factor and complexity

Form factor is another consideration, although the standardisation of rack mounts has made this a simpler choice. However, it is worth considering that dense server designs with more componentry and processors will tend to generate more heat. Many vendors will now show energy consumption ratings for different configurations, and it is worth pointing out this fact if a customer is filling up deep and dense data centre environments.

5. Talk about value, not just cost

Which brings us to cost, which although would seem the most important factor, the intense competition in the market means the difference between vendor pricing is diminishing. Although cost is always going to ground the conversation in the wider picture, it is worth noting that a more important conversation should move towards longer terms goals.

The link between the application and the physical hardware has been blurred, and the need to order servers based on specific needs is disappearing. Flexibility is essential in an era where IT is changing at a rapid pace and organisations are increasingly mixing and matching on-premise, SaaS, hosted, cloud and some hybrid, or all of the above.


Delivering a server implementation that meets the needs of your customers in line with their wider IT strategy, along with a degree of flexibility, will put them in good stead for other parts of the infrastructure refresh. Although it’s a market that’s undergoing changes, the server is still the lynchpin of the IT industry.


  • Key points of discussion are performance, availability, form factor and price.
  • Get a full picture of the operating requirements to specify the right server.
  • Server availability should be considered in the context of the business need.
  • Discuss energy consumption with the customer if power and cooling are limiting factors.
  • Resellers should deliver a server implementation in line with the wider IT strategy.

Increase your skills and knowledge when it comes to selling servers. Download: The Trusted Advisor Blueprint: Maximising growth opportunities by adding value to server sales

The Trusted Advisor Blueprint: Maximising growth opportunities by adding value to server sales