While industry consolidation looms large, data center growth must stay on the front burner for CEOs and sales directors.
To make this happen, several interrelated challenges need to be addressed when solving for profitable, scalable growth:
- Expansion to new markets -- While some data center CEOs may be content with their foothold in a single local market, expansion to other regions and markets seems nearly mandated to remain competitive -- whether to appease investors or clients demanding geographic fault tolerance.
Create new opportunities -- Given the changing nature of the data center, including increasing density, shrinking data footprint, and shrinking hardware size, there's no way for CEOs and sales directors to create new business opportunities or drive revenue growth simply resting on their laurels. The most effective leaders are constantly monitoring changing market conditions and taking a pulse on clients' unserved and underserved needs.
Positioning -- In a hyper-competitive environment, where as much as 70% of the buyer's journey is over before potential clients are ready to speak with your sales team, differentiation is no longer a luxury. It's critical for data center growth to get found early on in the sales cycle, where you can use helpful, educational content to achieve trusted advisor status. The key is to position your firm to compete on value rather than price.
Business Development -- While not every data center has staff with a "business development" job title on their business cards or LinkedIn profiles, one has to actually wonder where the business development rep fits into today's modern buyer's journey where marketing controls as much as 70% of the decision-making process. When done right, data center sales professionals are very consultative.
Marketing -- When looking at how data centers invest in digital marketing, we see largely two very different approaches. Some are progressive: focusing on buyer personas, creating genuinely helpful content at scale, and designing carefully segmented conversion paths. Others largely bury their heads in the sand and ignore how profoundly mobile, search, social, and cloud have disrupted the traditional marketing playbook.
Brand awareness -- 10 years ago, when sales still controlled the funnel, data center growth needed branding as a foundation. In today's modern buyer's journey, where evaluators and decision makers are researching the heck out of all available options before they're ready for a sales conversation, remarkable content creation that educates and builds trust, builds brand awareness as a byproduct of attracting website visitors and converting website visitors into leads.
Lead generation -- Since only a very small percentage of website visitors will be sales-ready on their first visit, it's critical for growth that you can build relationships over time with those website visitors that are a great fit for your firm's data center services. By offering remarkable content that solves the problems of your buyer personas, lead-generation landing pages can fill up the top of your sales funnel with those in the awareness stage.
Sales -- Attracting the right website visitors is important. So is converting those website visitors into qualified leads. But at the end of the day, closed sales fuel data center growth. By nurturing leads with content that's relevant to their buyer persona and buyer's journey stage, sales typically close about 23% faster.
- Building the bottom line -- Finally, no growth discussion would be complete without distinguishing between top-line revenue and bottom-line profitability. Why is this such an important issue for data centers, especially in colocation? Many data centers still don't understand how the modern buyer's journey has changed so drastically and continue to promote their features, services, and pricing while failing to establish their differentiation and value.
In this post, we've looked at nine factors that can be make-or-break for powering data center growth.
What challenges has your firm battled most recently in pursuit of growth? Which of these areas has been most relevant? Share your take below.