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More tips for selling server virtualization

As customer demand for server virtualization continues to grow, so does competition among vendors and resellers.

Despite all the industry hype about server virtualization, a lot of businesses are just now familiarizing themselves with the technology and available products. The most successful vendors and resellers will be those that can demonstrate the benefits of server virtualization and show how it meets specific business goals.

Virtualization expert Dave Sobel, CEO of Evolve Technologies, recently offered some tips for selling server virtualization on He likened it to a contractor selling a deck: The homeowner doesn’t really care how many 2 x 4s the project will need, or what kind of nails will be used. He or she just wants to know if it will be big enough to put some chairs out on and have an iced tea.

Likewise, server virtualization customers want to know if the technology will cut their costs and help them do their jobs more efficiently. They also want to know about its advanced use cases and how the major vendors’ products differ from each other. That’s where a new report by Forrester Research comes in.

The report, “Inquiry Insights: Server Virtualization, Q4: 2008” by Frank E. Gillett, takes a look at all of the client inquiries that Forrester has received about server virtualization over the past two years. Using this data, Gillett and his team of analysts then came up with three recommendations for businesses that sell server virtualization projects:

  • Create a collaborative team of sales engineers: Case studies aren’t enough any more. You need a team knows how to address the most common customer scenarios, based on evolving best practices, so you can immediately demonstrate your value.
  • Show how hypervisors and their associated products fit into existing environments: Most customers focus on comparing hypervisors, but Forrester says it’s more important to highlight each vendor’s total offering — especially around compatibility and support.
  • Prepare to sell to both newcomers and veterans: Some of your customers will have no virtualization experience, while others will have a bunch. And sometimes you’ll find both kinds of customers within the same company.

What questions are your customers asking you about server virtualization, and what are your keys to successfully selling the technology?

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