Managed service providers and colocation providers once operated in unrelated markets, targeted different clients, and performed separate services. The lines continue to blur today as colocation, enterprise hosting, private cloud, and managed services serve the same/similar markets.
Many colocation providers struggle to stay on task, identify the right clients and partners, and maintain pricing power.
Learn how to provide managed services, assess your product/market fit, and get ahead of today’s colocation buyer’s journey. Discover strategies for analyzing your competition, identifying market opportunities, and positioning your colocation company for profitable growth.
Providing Managed Services
In the past, MSPs operated as outsourced virtual IT for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Over the years, technology expanded the needs of SMBs, with more and more clients demanding services such as hosting, cloud, and colocation. Today, some MSPs even purchase wholesale colocation and sell retail colocation in an attempt to keep up with these growing demands.
Colocation providers’ typical SMB clients have faster sales cycles than mid-market and enterprise clients and require more profitable professional services. It can be beneficial for colocation providers to partner with MSPs. However, they should be selective and operate with caution, as MSPs notoriously execute weak sales and marketing strategies, and the two are hunting the same SMBs—thus, making them competitors.
Product/Market Fit—or PMF—describes the degree to which a product satisfies a strong market demand. Whether your colocation company has PMF can be determined by analyzing:
- How accurate your buyer personas are
- How well do you know your metrics
Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal clients based on real data and some select, educated speculation regarding demographics, behavioral patterns, motivations, and goals. Buyer persona research takes note of commonalities and trends observed in its data and uses them to create a fictionalized profile. These personas should be very detailed and well-developed, as they serve as a basic staple to several other sales and marketing strategies.
Buyer personas are excellent tools for colocation providers to use because they help validate campaigns, delegate resources, and attract like-minded leads. They are also critical for aligning sales and marketing teams, supporting services and operations, and facilitating future investments in revenue growth.
You can also determine PMF by analyzing key metrics such as:
- Average client lifetime value (LTV)
- Average cost of client acquisition (COCA)
- Average sales cycle length
Calculating these metrics can help businesses optimize their strategies in the data center industry.
Getting in Front of Today’s Buyer’s Journey
A buyer’s journey describes a prospect's active research process when making a purchase decision. The buyer’s journey consists of three stages:
The Awareness Stage describes when a prospect discovers a problem, opportunity, or goal and attempts to identify it. In this stage, buyers research to define their particular circumstances and rely on informative content to guide them through this phase. Content intended for prospects in the Awareness Stage should be educationally based as they seek information to take them to the next stage: Consideration.
The Consideration Stage occurs after a prospect defines their problem, opportunity, or goal and begins researching solutions to overcome/achieve their circumstances. In the Consideration Stage, prospects weigh each solution to determine which best fits their needs. Content intended for prospects in the Consideration stage should also be educationally based, as prospects are still learning about their circumstances and considering various solutions.
The final stage of the buyer’s journey begins once a prospect settles on a solution and searches for the best vendor to meet their needs. In this stage, prospects compare vendors, prices, features, and more to ensure they make the best decision.
Content produced for the Decision Stage should be more product- and company-based. Content such as vendor comparatives, pricing sheets, testimonials, and trials are all appropriate offers to use during the Decision stage.
The average buyer is 80% or more through their buyer’s journey before contacting a sales professional. This reality makes it especially important for businesses to provide content at every stage of the buyer’s journey to ensure maximum reach among prospects.
The earlier an organization gets founded, the more time they have to nurture prospects, gain their trust, prove its value, and guide its prospect’s buying process. Personalize content through buyer personas to attract qualified leads and create content for every stage of the buyer’s journey to optimize your marketing and sales strategies.
Has your colocation business achieved product/market fit? Are you being found early enough in your prospects’ buyer’s journeys to matter? Let us know in the comments below.