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Convert Smaller Colocation Opportunities into Bigger Cloud Deals: Ask the Right Questions
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Convert Smaller Colocation Opportunities into Bigger Cloud Deals: Ask the Right Questions

By Rob LernerVice President of Sales and Cloud Strategies, DataBank 

Does this scenario sound familiar?

After investing time and energy, you successfully closed a single-cab colocation opportunity and earned a commission on a $800 MRR deal. In a perfect world, we would all have 10-20 deals like this each month, which would be a win-win for everyone involved. However, we all know reality is bit different.

Yet what if there were a way to convert just one of these single cabinet opportunities into a much larger cloud or managed services deal? One that could be worth $10-$30k in MRR or even more?

The good news is that there is a way, and we’re regularly closing deals like this with channel partners like you. Here’s all the information you need.

Understand Your Customer’s Goals

It all starts with a basic understanding of what’s inside the customer’s cabinet, and then asking open-ended questions to learn more about their daily challenges, business objectives, and future goals.

Consider this home improvement example. A customer walks into a Home Depot or Lowe’s looking to buy a shovel. A store employee points him in the right direction, and the store quickly makes a $30 sale. Sounds great, right?

Not so fast. In this case, even though the customer asked to buy this specific tool, it turns out that he really doesn’t want a shovel. What he really wants is a hole for a new fence. If the employee asked more open-ended questions, she could have learned that the customer is looking for more privacy and to create a better backyard ambiance for his family.

This could have led to more opportunities for the store to focus on design services, firepits, and outdoor furniture, landscaping, and more. The customer may have purchased all of these options – leading to an exponentially larger sale for the store – but since the employee didn’t uncover his real needs, they missed out on the larger opportunity.

What Does Your Customer Really Need? (Hint: It Might Not be Colocation)

This same concept can be easily applied to colocation. Instead of a shovel, think of the prospect who seems to want just a cabinet. Sure, they need a cabinet, but behind the scenes, they also need to pay for servers, storage, networking, interconnections, monitoring services, cybersecurity, and so much more to manage their own private cloud.

Now we’re beginning to see that it’s the application (in the cloud) that matters much more than a colocation cabinet. Many of your customers are running private, VMware-based clouds inside their DataBank environment. This is a real opportunity because DataBank can do so much more to help these companies manage these cloud deployments.

Many of our most successful cloud opportunities were uncovered in just this way. A salesperson asked more questions to uncover the customer’s true needs and converted what could have been a single-cabinet colocation deal into a managed services cloud deal worth 20 times as much (if not more).

What Questions Should You Ask?

What are these magical questions to ask to uncover opportunities like this?

It starts with the basics. For example, is the customer about to refresh their compute or storage hardware? If so, this could be the perfect time to propose a private cloud option.

From there, consider asking questions to further understand the customer’s current challenges or business objectives. These can include the following examples:

These questions are designed to lead to larger conversations related to potential cloud, managed cloud, or disaster recovery opportunities.

Identify Win-Win Opportunities

It is important to note that the customer may think they’re in better shape than they really are.

For example, they may have a disaster recovery plan in place now or may be managing their own compliance processes so may think they don’t need additional help. Yet in reality, these approaches may not be working as well as they should or could subject the company to more time, cost, and risk than they may know.

We’ve seen situations where customers initially thought they wanted colocation, but after a deeper conversation, we were able to partner with them to provide a managed cloud engagement. These companies often spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year attempting to stay on top of cybersecurity and compliance, so a managed cloud engagement delivered significant cost savings even though it was more than they originally planned on spending for colocation. A true win-win.

If your questions lead to these types of feedback, please contact us and let our team of solutions engineers help you continue the conversation. To learn more about the right questions to ask and other tips on how to uncover more valuable opportunities with your prospects, reach out to your Channel Director today:

Keith Nelson                                                                                                     Joel Wilhelm
Director of Channel, East                                                                                      Director of Channel, West
718-825-1206                                                                                                       480-677-0797                                                                              




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