8 things to know that’ll help you sell more servers
What you need to know to build on your server sales through upsell and cross-sell opportunities with your customers.
Channel partners are ideally placed to act as the expert authority in helping to specify, deliver and ultimately add value onto the server purchase.
The latest generation of servers offers greater performance, features and functionality than ever before, and you can use these to provide significantly more consolidation and transformation in the data centre.
Here are 8 tips to help you engage with potential customers, and identify additional revenue opportunities around the initial server sale.
1. Sell business outcomes, not a technology platform
The sales engagement with your customer must be based on much more than specifications and pricing. Your sales conversation must focus on business outcomes for your customer's business. The data centre transforms at a rapid pace and your customer's requirements are always changing.
Address how servers can boost performance, increase security and improve resilience. These are only starting ideas. To sell business outcomes that are meaningful to your customers, you need to establish a deep understanding of their business and their specific requirements.
2. Focus on the features that can resolve customer issues
Channel partners are faced with more server vendor choice than ever before – and each solution has a long list of features. To become a trusted advisor in the server market, you will need to build your knowledge around what each server does, what its key features are and how they can improve your customer's businesses, from the desktop right through to the data centre.
Not all features will be relevant to every customer. You can become a successful server partner and maximise your sales by delivering a server that can resolve your customer's problems. Storage servers, for example, can offer your customers unlimited scale and automated data tiering to the cloud.
3. Pitch your server sale correctly
27% of final IT purchasing decisions are now made by someone other than the IT department. It’s a signal that technology has shifted from a supporting function a strategic business asset, and so you should evolve your sales pitch to address any number of decision makers within an organisation. By targeting the right audience who are thinking about their overall business goal, you may be open up cross-sell conversations.
If they’re adding more servers to their data centre, are they able to secure each and every one? If scalability is important to them, have they thought about disaster recovery for their operations? Don’t be afraid to ask these questions. Without great performance, high security and strong resistance, your customer's servers could fail to do their job.
4. Start small but don’t stop at the server
Some partners do well with a ‘land and expand’ strategy. By focusing on the smaller server sales, or even if the first server opportunity that becomes available, you can deliver value around particular workloads. From that small, effective footprint, you can demonstrate the importance of servers to your customers and gain their buy-in.
Once you’ve got this buy-in and deepened the relationship with your customer, you can expand the server estate across their organisation. To counter shrinking margins on hardware sales, it is important to think about attachment sales and the potential services you can wraparound the initial server sale – whether that’s software, security, or networking. The servers are the glue that sticks it all together.
5. Upsell tools that can improve server management
Many of your customers will be working in the cloud. If they’re not, they’re seriously considering it. Although the focus is moving towards software and virtualised environments, there is still room to maximise your server sales. The most successful partners know how to leverage solutions and add-ons that will simplify server management for customers.
There’s a host of third party tools for managing virtualised environments which complement a server consolidation or rationalisation project. These include server and virtualisation monitoring and management tools that can help to corral unruly environments, reducing the data centre footprint while incorporating fewer, but more powerful, servers.
6. Demonstrate the cost savings that can be made
You can’t approach server sales without talking to your customers about costs. Hardware expenditure is falling, so you need to know how to make the sell that can boost your bottom line - and your customer's.
As their data centre footprint continues to grow, your customer's concerns around energy consumption, heat and cooling will increase. Many vendors now show energy consumption ratings for different server configurations, so talk them through the issue if they are using dense data centre environments.
7. Offer your customers payment flexibility so they have more buying choice
To increase your sales, move the conversation beyond cost savings. Think about how your customers are paying for their server investment in the first place. Work with a distributor who can offer support contracts around server hardware, either vendor backed or through a third party can offer a higher margin than the actual server sale.
Leasing may be an option for smaller customers. By giving all of your customers, no matter how big or small, flexibility around payment options, you will increase their freedom to buy servers as and when they need. Offering contracts and financing to your customer base can be a quick win when it comes to maximising your server sales.
8. Speak to your customers about on-premise vs. cloud
Your customers are likely to be attracted to the flexibility of the cloud when it comes to running their applications. Step back and have an honest discussion with your customers about why some workloads aren’t suited to the cloud. This could be down to security concerns, data location, latency, the complexity of moving certain applications to the cloud or the long-term costs that can arise, of which customers are often unaware.
As your customers speed towards virtualising their data centre, don’t be too quick to dismiss the importance of servers. They can offer solutions to your customer's issues around poor performance, a lack of security and weak resilience to change. Servers can always be an option, so make sure you keep your lines of communication open with your customers.
- Don’t close the door on conversations about servers, no matter how far your customer is down the virtualisation route for their data centre.
- As your customer's data centre footprint expands, so may their issues around performance, security and resilience. Demonstrate how different servers on the market can resolve their issues.
- Be flexible around your customer's purchasing options. By speaking to them about contracts and finance options, you can keep sales opportunities open and give them the freedom to buy as and when they require new hardware.