Trust is a foundational aspect of our relationship with each and every customer. Customers are relying on our infrastructure and services to power their respective livelihoods. In colocation, we are taking responsibility for the Three Ps (3Ps) – power, ping, and pipe. In unmanaged cloud, we are taking additional responsibility by covering the hardware and cloud infrastructure. In our managed service (dedicated, cloud, and hybrid), we are taking an extremely large amount of responsibility in covering everything from the 3Ps to hardware to application infrastructure.
Yet, it all begins with trust. Customers need to trust that we will take responsibility and not merely rely on SLA credits to (attempt to) make them happy.
Before we can ever get to service delivery, trust starts with the first time a future customer calls or emails our sales team. Sales must earn the customer’s trust in order for the relationship to be successful. It’s for this reason that we take a drastically different approach to sales.
First and foremost, we do not believe in hard selling. Business Dictionary Online defines “hard selling” as “Applying psychological pressure (by appealing to someone’s fears, greed, or vanity) to persuade the prospect to make a quick purchase decision.” I would also describe the hard sell as “What’s it going to take to get you into this car… err, server/cloud instance today?” approach to selling. Quick purchase decisions, especially for internet infrastructure, can often lead to wrong decisions – for the technology and the business.
Overselling customers is absolutely not about the customer. It’s about the sales person making a quota or attempting to pay for his/her car, house, etc. If we oversell a customer, it breaks down the trust relationship with the customer. This makes the jobs of our support engineers, our account managers, and our customer service representatives even harder. Customers need to know that when we recommend more CPU or RAM, it is to solve a challenge or problem – not to make an arbitrary quota that means nothing to the customer.
It’s for these reasons that we have strict controls in place to ensure we never lose sight and engage in these activities. Account managers and customer service representatives are non-commission positions. They are compensated based upon salary and customer satisfaction. In addition, they have the power to null-and-void a commission if we ever engage in this type of activity. Thankfully, we have never had to do such.
For us, sales is about learning. We are provided a wonderful opportunity to learn about what customers are doing and what they need/want. We get to share our experiences and knowledge to help customers make the right choices. Sometimes the right choice is with us. Other times, it may not be. It’s their decision. Regardless, we are committed to being honest throughout the process and earning the business. Trust must start here.