When It Comes to New Sources of Customer Leads, Go Where the Competition Isn’t

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This is a great time to be in the data center outsourcing business, as the industry is experiencing healthy growth in all sectors, and that’s putting it mildly. As I explained in a recent interview with Data Center Journal, the leasing segment, meaning retail colocation and wholesale, is expected to see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20% over the next 3 years.  The cloud and managed service segment is expected to grow at a downright staggering 60% CAGR in the same period.

That’s the good news. The challenge then becomes filling all that space. Clearly with the CAGR the data center outsourcing business is expected to see, providers should have no problem finding quality leads. The bigger challenge is closing them before the competition does.

There’s an old saw that says, “Go where your competition isn’t.” As it applies to business development, that means if you can find a source of leads that your competition isn’t using, you’ll have a much better chance of closing those leads.

Data center service providers typically get leads from sources including data center brokers and by leveraging relationships with their value chain partners, such as contractors and engineers, among others. That’s all well and good but I believe there’s another, virtually untapped source of customer leads: data center equipment manufacturers.

Many of the companies that make all the software and infrastructure that goes into data centers naturally have a large number of relationships in both the end user world as well as with their various partners. These companies include firms that make the power and cooling systems, racks and so on, as well as IT companies that provide computers, networking equipment and software. The key is to focus in on those providers that have direct relationships with end users, as opposed to companies that simply use a network of resellers and reps.

Schneider Electric, for example, has a vast network of customers, dating back decades to our APC days. Similarly, we work with lots of IT vendors, including integrators and service providers. The list is long.

Our connections with these folks run deep, as we have a direct sales force as well as engineers who work hand in hand with both end users and partners on a daily basis. It’s only natural that they find out about companies that may be looking to outsource some or all of their data center requirements.

It makes sense for providers of data center infrastructure, whether of the physical or IT variety, to pass along such leads to data center service providers because anything that grows the data center business is good for all of us.

There’s no reason not to keep mining your current lead sources, but if you want to “go where the competition isn’t,” you should be thinking about new sources as well.  At Schneider Electric, we’d be happy to do what we can to help.


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