M10-120: How to sell Managed Storage Services (Course)

Course Summary

This course prepares sales personnel to engage in a knowledgeable dialogue about storage to determine if there is an opportunity where they can compete and win. It recommends methods for discovering storage goals, perspective, and requirements as a precursor to matching the requirements to your high-level storage services. When there is a match, opportunity takes a step toward qualification.


Explosive information growth has created an opportunity to offer managed storage services as part of an ever-expanding portfolio of service offerings. Data storage is a high value part of that portfolio. In this specialized area, it is often difficult to determine:

When leads are properly qualified, your company gains credibility and the value of all wins, increase.

Our dialogue needs to use a vendor neutral language that bypasses brand boundaries. This allows us deliver a functional design at several price points. Service level becomes the focus and the differentiator at each price point. Changes to the vendor or product mix do not change the functional design. As a result, the client selects the service level and/or price point that will satisfy them. The language and process increases the probability of winning.

Qualification leading to a win is not without the work of others to propose a solution. Customers are willing to provide information one time, except for validation or as a basis for further detail. Sales engineers need good data and a plausible proposition before they prepare high-level designs. Each player needs to gathers and summarize data in a common language. We know that the gathered data will never be perfect, but it can always be better. The high-level design again should use the vendor neutral language. Procedurally, the client should confirm that the high-level design meets their business requirements. Underneath, the design should map to an array of service capabilities, enabling selection and discussion of options.

Selling and architecting managed services is fun, but difficult. It is fun to meet a real need. It is difficult to sell storage services in contrast to other managed services and to maintain credibility during the sales cycle. The storage industry marches to a different drummer. Its propositions are patient, mature and proven. As storage absorbs an increasing amount of capital budget, the nature of why, how and who makes a decision, has changed. Integrating tactics with that change yields success.

In the end, success depends most on credibility. Credibility starts with knowledgeable dialogue. The dialogue has several parts, knowing their business, the industry and what you can deliver. However, it is hard to know an industry that is an erratically moving target. Today, the storage industry is commoditizing, consolidating and innovating, all at the same time. A successful team member must know the basic storage capabilities and the building blocks that underpin them across storage disciplines. The challenge is to be practical in the way you mix the basics to meet needs. Alignment is the goal.

Balanced technical breadth enables the account executive or sales engineer to improve problem-solving skills while gaining transferable technical depth. Broad fundamental knowledge enables the manager to understand limits and choose strategic direction. Both are no longer bound by vendor specific language, and in fact, they share a common storage industry language.

The many terms including SAN, Array, Migration, Replica and Clone, by name sound like characters in a science fiction movie. Understanding the terms composition, roles and interactions provide the foundation for developing and maintaining storage solutions. Business depends on these storage solutions. They are not just building blocks, they are put together certain ways to meet a purpose.

Alternative Course

S10-108 HyperTestPrep™ for SNIA Storage Network Foundations S10-100 and S10-101 Exams (1 day)
S10-210 SAN and Storage Management Survival Skills,
a.k.a., SAN Boot Camp (5 day, hands-on)
K20-200 Managing Storage as a Service (1.5 day)
K20-210 Managing the Storage Team (1.5 day)
K20-400 Information Lifecycle Management (2 day)
K20-410 Data Classification Workshop (2 day)
K20-420 Creating Storage Services (2 day)

Expected Outcome

Have strong practical and verbal understanding of storage and storage networking concepts. 


1 full day (Instructor Led), 8 hours.

Delivery Modes


Instructor Led - Sessions offered to specific vendor companies under contract.
Online eLearning - Pending



The S10-101 course represents a tremendous body of work. Over eighty books and many standards documents were used in it's creation. Many of our students remark that the course material provided is something that they will use as a reference for years to come, with both breadth and depth.



Instructor Led - 5% advance registration discount, 21 calendar days before session start date.

Instructor Led - 5% SNUG End-User Member discount (see definition)

North America Schedule

Course ID










M10-120 004455 ILT


07-26-2007 THR 08:30AM-05:00PM Vancouver, BC, CAN Private
M10-120 004460 ILT


08-10-2007 FRI 08:30AM-05:00PM Calgary, AB, CAN Private
M10-120 004463 ILT


08-20-2007 MON 08:30AM-05:00PM Toronto, ON, CAN Private


The primary objective of this course is to develop fundamental storage sales skills and the underpinning knowledge that supports it. technical knowledge and skills required to understand current and emerging data storage capabilities and infrastructures. The course provides a set of practical approaches required to help new and experienced storage administrators and managers to do their job better. Objectives include:


This course develops the skill of persons responsible for sales and engineering support of new and existing storage products and/or services; this typically includes account executives, sales engineers and sales management staff.

A basic level of IT literacy including at least six (6) months experience in IT and/or Storage Networking Operations. Advanced computer skills and knowledge in at least one operating system. Technical skills as a team member to develop complex solutions. A course specific non-disclosure agreement is required to attend this course.

Next Courses

Course Contents

The Big Picture - identifies the underlying storage patterns from a technical perspective. These pat-terns repeat and recombine to create new patterns. Patterns and technology combine to meet business requirements. Change is constant, however the patterns remain.

Key Words and the Executive Perspective - discusses the business problems that underpin a storage decision. Words are key to the interaction with business and IT senior management, not words to: open, but rather words in: response to discussion. Conversation is a lively art, however hearing the need and translating it into a simple response is the goal. When you reach the goal, a door opens to present a solution. It opens because your words demonstrated understanding of the client’s problems. This module also contains an introduction to ITIL and CMM.

Storage Industry Landscape - is hot, hot, hot. Yet, it is a tumultuous game unlike any other. Players are mature, calculating and will “eat your lunch”. Customers have learned to manage the game out of the necessity to manage capital expenditures. Even government (retention), NGO (PCI) and the public join the game through legislation or media embarrassment. So to win, you need to know the rules, and be passionate about the services you provide, as you change the rules.

Business Impact of SAN and Storage Services – discusses how they can improve external metrics. Technology is an enabler that has most value when balanced against financial impact of not using the technology. In this module, we dig into the financial impact of un-availability, bad capacity acquisition and poor utilization from the client perspective. For each technology, we introduce the tangible and intangible benefits from the perspective of the executive.

Business Case - For the most part, we know the parts of a value proposition, e.g., ROI, TCO and NPV; however, the nature of content growth and speed of market commoditization, require calculation that is more careful. We need to know the common change patterns (direct to SAN attached storage, file servers to NAS and others) and their metrics. Yet, we want to be careful to propose solutions that are within the grasp of the customer’s organizational maturity and respect (by the numbers) the many options before them.

Storage Services – discusses your menu of storage services, also formally known as the service catalogue. The menu is the group of defined building blocks used by your firm for the creation of higher-level services. A service is well defined, mature and predictable. At one level, they are your branded offerings; at another, they are the products you represent. This module connects neutral language to the products and offerings in your cupboard. Given a customer application, you should be able to create solutions from parts that provide maturity and predictability.

Implementation Strategies - The strength of any large player is in the ability to offer been-there, done-that, implementation strategies supported by best practices. Given a scenario, propose a roadmap. There is no silver-bullet or single strategy; there are only components, tools and techniques used in a variety of ways to meet requirements.

Implementation Strategies - The strength of any large player is in the ability to offer been-there, done-that, implementation strategies supported by best practices. Given a scenario, propose a roadmap. There is no silver-bullet or single strategy; there are only components, tools and techniques used in a variety of ways to meet requirements.

ILM - the buzzword of the storage industry. It is simple and complex, a process and a collection of technologies. Using the basic ILM structure, you can fashion a requirements driven roadmap that stands the test of time, even if the technology never caught up. To win one thousand 1-U servers does not require great skill. To win the approval of an entire company of a strategic storage plan without competitive battles is the ultimate goal; and that is done through innovative combinations of process, technology and services that are superior to all others.


Examinations leading to SNIA CERTIFIED SALES PROFESSIONAL credential are held on all continents.

Certificate Advantages