Typically, the buying habits of business decision makers are regional. People often look to be within one hour or so from their Data Centre. Some customers simply like the peace of mind of knowing where their infrastructure and data is.
Many customers like to visit the site they will be using to see the environment their outsourced IT is kept in and meet the people looking after it. Outsourcing is a leap of faith, so it’s understandable that people seek reassurance.
While it may seem an obvious point, for a regional business model to be successful you have to carefully select the regions you want to service. Given customers’ desires for an accessible site, it is best to pick one with good transport links to surrounding areas to maximise your catchment area.
Employing the right people is crucial for any business. If you identify a region where there is demand for your services, you are more likely to find a relatively untapped pool of local talent. At Node4, we mainly look for highly trained technical engineers or driven commercial people with passion for technology. If we’re one of the only employers in this field, we’re likely to be able to recruit the most talented local people more easily.
Constructing a local team with knowledge of the region also makes it easier to build relationships with potential local customers. Many customers appreciate the fact they can meet with their account manager at any time.
Once you have the right people, it’s essential that you keep them. Having a positive company culture is key to maintaining a low staff turnover. If employees feel valued, empowered and trusted, they are more likely to stay with you.
In summary, the regional model is designed to make the customer the centre of everything you do. It’s everything from ensuring you are providing an in-demand local service to using the pool of local talent to deliver it. In doing so, you can establish stronger working relationships with customers rather than a strictly “customer and supplier” style engagement.