“It Can Take Years to Build Those Relationships” | Leading Ladies of Mission Critical Talk the Latest Sales Strategies at CAPRE’s Mid-Atlantic Mega-Summit

LEESBURG, VA — State of the Data Center & Cloud Infrastructure Industry: Past, Present and Future was the first panel discussion at CAPRE’s two-day Mid-Atlantic Data Center Summit, including the inaugural Women of Mission Critical Data Center Summit. And it dug deep into the perspective of a handful of leading women from around the region.

Moderator Greer Aviv, Senior Vice-President of Investor Relations at Iron Mountain kicked off the discussion by setting the tone. “I want to start with a sales focus,” she began, directing the conversation to three panelists in particular. “A big topic today is hyperscale vs colocation. Talk to us about the difference between selling hyperscale and selling colo and what those differentiators are.”

Louise Julien, National Manager at AFL Hyperscale offered the first response. “Hyperscale makes their revenue from their infrastructure, from their network infrastructure. A colocation [provider] makes money from the rental space,” she responded, before diving into more about the hyperscale conversation.

“So the sources of revenue there are different. The hyperscalers will buy and build infrastructure for themselves. They’ll start from a clean slate,” explained Julien. “They will buy a lot at one time and deliver quickly, and that can be at many places at one time. So there’s a lot of demand for their supply. There will be a huge leap of technology every time they buy from one generation to the next.”

“The colocation [providers], they will survive based on how much they can rent to their customers,” she contrasted. “So that means there’s continuous movement. They have to live with the current enterprise infrastructure to grow for the future. So you have this mesh of intertwined connectivity…it’s a different environment.”

Tracy Biggs, Director – Sales & Strategic Accounts, Digital Realty

Next up, Tracy Biggs, Director for Sales & Strategic Accounts at Digital Realty, offered a contrarian view. “I think that’s a really good description, but I think from a sales perspective, there’s not that much different,” she asserted. “You’re dealing with many one product or maybe a couple of cabinets, to maybe 30 cabinets, and the other one you’re dealing with a lease and a different type of procedure in terms of getting someone to lease a building. the steps might be a little bit more prolonged, but a lot of time you’re dealing with the same buyer – just qualifying what their needs are, the services that they’re actually going to buy from you. But it’s two cabinets to a building, and it’s not much different.”

At that point, Aviv asked Biggs a follow-up question. “In thinking about the sales process, what will typically cause that person to make a decision?” she posed. “Is it cost? Is it location? What is it that will make that person make that decision?”

“There are a number of factors based on that individual. I don’t think it’s ever just about price. I really think there are a number of factors that go into it,” replied Biggs, quickly and assertively. 

That inspired co-panelist Roxanna Cieplinska, Vice-President of Hyperscale, International at e-Shelter to offer a bit of insight. “I think it’s ability. It’s also about sophistication, it’s about being able to deliver on what you promise, and also you need to have good relationships,” she offered. “It sounds simple but it can take years to do that.”

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