The five key questions to ask before selling a hyper-convergence solution
Your customers are asking about hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI), but have you asked yourself the right questions to determine if you’re in the right position to sell it?
Selling hyperconvergence infrastructure (HCI) requires a different approach to traditional storage, networking and compute architecture sales. Before a reseller considers HCI they should first evaluate their own business requirements, and that of their customers, to make sure they are well-placed to build a successful practice.
Here are five important questions that you should ask before you start the process.
1. Do I have the right existing or target client base?
Hyperconvergence is not a one size fits all; different vendors specialise in different propositions that suit certain verticals and application use cases such as virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). Partners need to make sure they qualify this, as it could lead to dead ends. Scope out what your customers are trying to achieve now and in the future, how they are currently managing their infrastructures and how HCI can help them to improve their processes.
2. Does hyperconvergence complement or conflict with our existing messaging or technology strategy?
Many resellers tend to have separate messages for compute, storage and networking, yet hyperconvergence incorporates all three, integrating them all into a single box solution. If your customers are becoming more aware of the existence of the technology and its benefits, it can be easy to confuse them if your messaging – including website, social media and communications – implies a different, more traditional strategy.
3. Do I have the sales teams that can sell it?
Hyperconvergence is a significant shift away from traditional architectures; initially it’s not a piece of hardware that someone asks for, which has a part number. It often requires a more consultative sell. Are those people in your sales teams aligned with the clients you want to position this solution to? Does your sales team understand what your customers need to achieve, are they pitching the benefits of HCI correctly and are they up-to-date with any certifications?
Also, hyperconvergence is not a traditional hardware sale – it has significant benefits, but they need time to be communicated and digested by your potential customers. Get as early into the sales cycle as possible and give yourself the opportunity to steer their thought process.
4. Can our technical teams consult on and support it?
It’s easy to still think of storage as LUNS and volumes, and there are certain data services traditionally associated to storage systems that may be missing or are not needed anymore in hyperconverged environments. Therefore, selling requires a mindset shift, and technical teams need to adopt a new way of thinking along with at least a working understanding of virtualisation technologies that HCI relies upon.
5. Can I identify and profitably engage the right hyperconvergence vendor?
As hyperconvergence becomes mainstream, the technology becomes a commodity – what was once profitable can become an inhibitor. Choose your opportunity wisely. Is the market over-distributed for that solution? Can the vendor offer you and your team the support you need? What do their channel programmes look like? Can I make money, sustainably while delivering the right benefits for the customer, helping them to meet their business objectives?
The good news is that once you have a customer using HCI, there is an exceptionally high chance they will come back and expand their footprint.
HCI is already disrupting the datacentre, and the market is asking for it. Resellers must have the confidence to talk to their customers about it, otherwise they will miss out on a profitable revenue stream. To position yourself as a trusted advisor, you will need to go beyond having the right knowledge. You will need to speak to the right customers at the right time, work with the most suitable vendor and have the right technical, marketing, and sales skills within your team to take HCI to market successfully.
- To sell HCI successfully, your teams need to have the right skills and knowledge before approaching customers. Equip them with the right training so you can qualify the right opportunities.
- HCI is a message that encompasses storage, networking and compute but comes at it from a whole new angle. Make sure you understand its positioning so you can educate your customers fully around its benefits.
- Engage and work with the right hyperconvergence vendor for each customer and remember that one size doesn’t fit all. Before selling a solution, you will need to know and understand the vendor’s full product portfolio and how their HCI solution can improve your customer’s environment.