An oft-cited survey by the Consumer Executive Board (CEB) reveals buyers today are at least 57% through the purchase cycle before reaching out to a vendor.
Some of the survey respondents said they were close to 70% through the decision-making process before making contact.
Is there anything a data center can do to influence consumer opinion at that point? Maybe. However, a better approach is to influence potential clients when they are in the pre-purchase research stage.
Outbound marketing does not appear to be the answer in that respect. Most buyers mastered selective consumption and ignored disruptions such as cold calls, web ads, and email campaigns. For maximum effect and opportunity, the buyer must be convinced to approach the data center, and gaining this trusted advisor status is often necessary to bring them in.
Trusted Advisor Status
People are an important part of B2B sales. While buyers certainly consider brands and their public perception, they are also impressed by the consultant or salesperson they interact with. Those who use data center consulting to gain a trusted advisor status can significantly impact the early stages of the buyer journey and turn that impact into a sale.
Data center consulting requires a public platform to reach and persuade clients. To build a strong one, the consultant can:
- Write articles for print publication and online distribution
- Set up a blog and post articles two to three times a week for ideal results
- Use social media to post colocation quick tips, advice, and answers to questions
- If resources permit, set up a YouTube channel to post how-to videos and answer questions
The Right Approach
Gaining the confidence of early-stage buyers requires a particular mindset and strategic approach. Data center consultants must make it their mission to help clients get services that solve their problems. If someone perceives them as more focused on their commission than the customer’s best interests, it eliminates trust immediately.
In relationship selling, demonstrating competence and credibility is important to predict and address client concerns; this leads to trust. Recognizing as an industry expert can be accomplished by publishing content that reflects the data center consultant’s expertise and integrity.
Make It Easy for the Customer to Buy
Trusted advisors make it easier for customers to make a purchase, but not according to a sales-centric model. Instead, they:
- Help the customer understand the problem colocation services solve and the importance of quickly acting on it
- Show solutions with genuine value for them instead of trying to push higher-priced packages
- Clarify the features and benefits of potential solutions
- Share business insights to assist in decision-making
- Assist the customer in getting organizational buy-in
Actions made with the client’s best interests as the focus strengthens their trust and can deepen into a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship.
Simplify the Complex
Although buyers today have vast amounts of information available to assist in purchasing decisions, the reality is that so much data can be disorienting. Trusted advisors help make sense of complex information and cut through all the noise to reach a colocation solution that’s right for their organization.
Other Related Resources
- Can Data Center Consultants Build Enterprise Value?
- How Data Center Consultants Retain Customers
- Should a Data Center Consultant Manage Design and Building?
- What's the Difference Between Data Center Consulting and Data Center Networking?
- What's the Difference Between Data Center Consulting and Data Center Recycling?
- What is Data Center Consulting?
- Why Data Center Consulting Websites Often Can't Scale
- Why Most Data Center Consultants' Websites Fail
The Bottom Line
Once a trusted advisor status is gained, consultants must maintain it by going above and beyond to keep client faith strong. Many salespeople and consultants seem to do the bare minimum to make a sale, which is why customers may initially be cynical. Gaining and keeping their trust will provide excellent business value both to the client and the data center.
Have your data center consultants reached trusted advisor status? How did they achieve this? Let us know in the comments below.