The Doyle Report: Use Your Website to Win Business
For everyone who has ever gone cheap with the hope of gaining an edge, consider OffsiteDataSync, which goes the other direction and thrives for it.
Before I get to what distinguishes OffsiteDataSync, here’s some background on the company. OffsiteDataSync is a global provider of cloud services. It is based in Rochester, N.Y. The company specializes in Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) and Backup-as-a-Service (BUaaS). A regular on the Talkin’ Cloud 100 list, OffsiteDataSync operates out of Switch/SUPERNAP Data Centers located in Las Vegas and Michigan, and boasts two additional facilities based overseas.
So here’s what sets the company apart: Since its founding in 2000, CEO Matthew Chesterton has built his company around quality. Think of a chef who commits to only the finest ingredients, best locations and most-talented staff and you’ll get the picture. (I’ll get to them in a minute.)
“I guess it’s me and my nature: I like the best of the best,” Chesterton says. “From A-to-Z , soup-to-nuts and top-to-bottom, we try to use the best to be the best.” From Milan to Los Angeles, he adds, customers notice.
Which brings me to people. Chesterton feels the way about his people the way he does about his networking gear and backup technology: Pay for the best and avoid the hassles that come from going cheap. Take account executive Marty Ness, pictured below.
When I went to the OffsiteDataSync web site, I wasn’t left alone to wander very long. Within a minute I got an Olark chat message from her.
“Hello! Is there anything I can assist you with?…” After no response from me, she tried again: “Hi there! How may I be of service?”
Figuring “Marty” was a bot or someone from overseas hired to gather my name, I replied simply, “Just checking out your site.”
Ness, however, didn’t give up and continued to engage in a good-natured, non-predatory way. Before long, we were having a conversation about the award OffsiteDataSync just received. (In January, it was named the 2016 Veeam Cloud and Service Partner (VCSP) of the Year.)
Marty Ness, OffsiteDataSync
Ness was all over it, telling me all sorts of positive things about the company, including “it is the best one” she had ever worked for. The more she talked, the more I realized that she was an integral part of the story. An entrepreneur at heart, she previously ran a company that provided empowerment coaching and “Emotional Intelligence” guidance to other organizations. If that sounds a little out there, then note it’s what great salespeople have and what mediocre ones need.
Curious as to how much business could be conducted from the company’s web site, I probed Ness a little more.
“How many hrs a day do you spend monitoring web traffic? You cannot be on standby all day am guessing…?” I asked.
“Hmmm… well we do have someone online always monitoring during business hours. Then we also have a monitoring system in place for after hours that allows us to respond if someone needs assistance,” she said.
“Gotcha. And you’re a real person obviously, not a bot?”
Ness paused and then replied, “Let me check… Yes I am human. : )”
“Okay,” I told her, “I deserved that.”
That’s when I reached out to Chesterton, who told me his philosophy about hiring talented people. Why put someone on the front lines to engage customers who is low-paid, under-skilled and unfamiliar with technology? he asked rhetorically. Instead of a bot or an outsourced script-reader, he prefers to put his best people on the front lines. And it has paid off in dividends. Today, OffsiteDataSync generates an estimated 10 percent of its business from web inquiries. And Ness, for her part, helped secure one of the company’s biggest deals. It began with a simple web inquiry no different than mine.
“It started out with 5 Tbytes, then went to 10 Tbytes and then went bigger from there,” she says.
So what’s the takeaway from all this? Several things.
For starters, it pays to put top people on the front lines—including your web site. It also pays to invest and leverage the best of everything. This includes people, products and processes. Lastly, it pays to play the long game.
Chesterton, for one, has been approached countless times to sell or “share” his business. But he thinks it has more growth ahead. And why not? He was a professor, after all, at two local schools, including the prestigious Rochester Institute of Technology. He knows a thing or two about great businesses, in other words.
With Ness and other top pros along for the ride, OffsiteDataSync has plenty of runway ahead of it.