When you think about data center challenges in today's marketplace, you might first consider the changing nature of data centers, competition, funding, regulations, and site selection.
But CEOs and sales directors for data centers face revenue forecast challenges when navigating the longer sales cycles associated with closing six-, seven-, and sometimes even eight-figure deals.
In this post, you'll learn how to advance the typical data center sales cycle, that is usually somewhere between a few months to a few years.
Make Your Website All About Their Data Center Challenges (Not Yours)
10 years ago, you could get by with a crappy, self-serving, mediocre brochureware website. Today, you can't afford to be complacent.
Data center evaluators and decision-makers are much more empowered today, doing tons of upfront research before they're ready to engage with your sales team.
The latest research from Gartner shows that in most cases, 80%+ of the decision-making process is already over by the time a prospect raises their hand for a conversation.
So it's critical that you use your website to create helpful, educational resources that attract the right website visitors and begin to help them solve their challenges.
But how do you know how to address their challenges with your website content? Should you guess?
Heck no. By creating buyer personas, you can zero in on the content that will grab them (virtually) by the shirt collar and attract them to your website.
Moreover, by addressing their challenges and not selfishly focusing on your needs, you'll get two emotional reactions from the right website visitors:
- "Holy smokes, I can't believe I finally found what I've searched for over the past few weeks."
- "Wow, this is so insanely helpful. What else do they have to say?"
Focus on the Marathon, Not the 50 Yard Dash
Most data center websites are going in for the kill -- asking for the sale -- way too soon.
When was the last time a new data center client committed to a multi-year deal on the "first date?" Pretty much never, right?
There's a long sales cycle -- generally somewhere between months to as long as years.
So your website and digital revenue strategy must focus more on the marathon, not the 50-yard dash.
That said, there are definitely some elements that can help accelerate leads into revenue.
And because nurtured leads close about 23% faster, adding this kind of leverage can be extremely worthwhile.
Help Your Leads Advance Themselves Along the Buyer's Journey
To do so, behind every landing page, you'll need both thank you pages -- sometimes called confirmation pages -- and confirmation email messages.
Once a website visitor fills out a form on one of your landing pages and clicks the button, that person gets directed to a "thank you" page.
While you may not explicitly think about how this works, unless you've been living under a rock for the past five or ten years, there's an excellent chance that you've been through a lead conversion path just like this sometime in the past few weeks.
How does this work?
Let's take an eBook, for example.
When you're on the eBook's landing page and form, there's a button for you to click at the bottom of the form that probably says something like "Download the Free eBook Now." (Or if the marketer is a newbie or just lazy, the button says "Submit.")
After clicking the button, you'll end up on the thank you page -- which handles a lot of the heavy lifting:
- Follows up with your newly generated leads
- Delivers the "goods" that you promised on your landing page
- Manages expectations about what's coming next
- Suggests the next logical step, which advances the new lead further along in their buyer’s journey -- helping the new lead to self-propel themselves down your sales funnel
Done right, thank you pages handle a lot of really important steps for advancing your sales process -- and are particularly valuable to data centers with long sales cycles.
Invest In the Right Lead Generation and Sales Acceleration Assets That Create Leverage
Similar to landing pages, confirmation pages are revenue-generating assets that are working for you 24/7.
No paid time off. No sick days. No need to travel to conferences or training. No workers comp claims. And no unions, no benefits, no overtime.
How many of the marketing or sales professionals who work for your firm are addressing data center challenges, converting strangers into targeted website visitors, and accelerating newly generated leads into sales opportunities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?
What would you have to invest in staffing to have someone watching your website 24/7 to (a) immediately provide new leads with the promised premium content offer and (b) suggest the next logical steps to accelerate qualified leads in your long sales cycle -- so hot leads become sales-ready much faster?
The concept of investing in assets is very important as well.
Developing content for lead generation and sales cycle acceleration is not an expense. It's building assets that can yield prospects and sales opportunities for literally years to come.
For example, for SP Home Run’s own campaigns and many of our clients, often, as much as 60% to 80% of leads generated in a given month come from evergreen content that was not created that month.
The idea of thinking about lead generation and sales acceleration as assets is a very different mindset than a trade show booth, Google AdWords campaign, direct mail campaign, or PR campaign.
With the traditional marketing playbook, the traffic stops as soon as you stop paying to interrupt people.
If your data center business values long-term clients and referral sources, investing in lead generation and sales cycle acceleration assets that create leverage is a no-brainer.
What do you currently do to help your ideal clients address their most common data center challenges? Is there content on your website that attracts these kinds of website visitors, converts these visitors into highly qualified leads, and accelerates these leads into sales opportunities faster? Share your take in the Comments below.