The way people research and make data center purchase decisions has changed drastically during the past three years.
In the past, various kinds of influencers and decision makers would be involved in intense conversations and vendor evaluations very early in the buyer’s journey.
Today, these same prospects and clients are doing tons of self-directed research on search engines and social media -- so much so, that as much as 70% of their mind is already made up before you are even looped into the conversation.
This shift in buyer behavior presents a big challenge for colocation businesses, but it is also a big opportunity if you can get in front of the right people, at the right time, in the right places, and most of all, in the right context.
Don’t Blur the Lines Between Colocation Provider and Managed Services Provider
Colo companies should provide managed services, but not as an MSP.
Colo CEOs understand SMB clients have quicker sales cycles and need more professional services. They should partner with MSPs, but selectively, as most utilize weak sales and marketing strategies.
Get Found Early Enough to Earn a Trusted Advisor Seat at the Table
Colo professionals need to get found early in their prospect’s buying journey.
The modern buyer is estimated to be 70% or more through their buyer’s journey before contacting a sales professional. This new reality often leaves sales teams scrambling to make an impression and forced to compete on price—unable to prove their value.
The earlier a business gets found, the more time they have to differentiate, educate, and influence their buyer’s decision. Business leaders taking the time to inform and educate their prospects are more likely to be viewed as trusted advisors, granting them more leverage during the closing stage of their buyer’s journey.
Let Your Buyer Personas Dictate Priorities (Not Egos and Hunches)
Your buyer persona research should determine where to concentrate your marketing and sales efforts.
Is there a conference your prospects frequently attend? Do your prospects prefer LinkedIn to Facebook? Is your business monitoring its Twitter stream?
Personas will also dictate the subjects of your content. Content should touch on correlations found in your research regarding pain points, challenges, goals, interests, and more.
Analyze and validate your content using SMART goals -- goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
Invest in the Right Content Strategy to Support Your Sales Team and Growth Goals
Developing premium content for each stage of your buyer’s journey—awareness, consideration, and decision—will help your business accelerate and support its opportunities.
Content intended for the early stages of the buyer’s journey should be educationally-based (blogs, eBooks, and reports for example) to help inform and guide prospects.
Content intended for the later stages of the buyer’s journey can be more company-oriented and provide resources (pricing sheet, vendor comparatives, and testimonials for example) needed to make a final purchase decision.
Providing content directed towards various stages of the buyer’s journey encourages visitors to stay on your website to navigate through resources and allows businesses to take an active role in shaping their buyers’ decision-making process.
The Next Step
To learn more about analyzing your competition, identifying market opportunities, and positioning your colocation company for profitable growth, join me on April 4th at 2:30 pm at Data Center World 2017 for my session on “10 Ways for Colocation Providers to Find the Right Niches and Avoid Commoditization.”
Is your colo business getting found early enough to matter? How do you select which initiatives or campaigns to prioritize and invest in? Let us know in the Comments below.
To learn more about providing managed services, getting found early in the sales cycle, and using buyer personas, check out our webinar "How Colocation Data Centers Can Differentiate to Grow Leads, Revenue, and ROI."