CDN Sales 101

How many times have we heard Akamai competitors tell prospects “Akamai charges for every little feature and service. Not only that, they’re overcharging on features by 2x or more, and they do everything in their power to lock you in. We’re different, because we are throwing in these features for free, or giving it to you for this super low price”. When I hear these statements, I think to myself, “that’s why Akamai is worth $10B, and they are on track to do $2B in revenue”. Akamai is a master at selling the value of the feature set. They’ve been successful for the last decade, and are a great teacher to everyone in the ecosystem. CDNs must be open minded to the possibility that Akamai gets it, and maybe a similar strategy is the best way to improve sales, and profit margins.

Akamai doesn’t undersell its features, they sell the value of the differentiated feature set. CDN size doesn’t matter when selling features, as long the smaller CDN presents itself as the “best” in something special, whatever it is. It’s okay for the start-up CDN to “sell features at very low price points for a little while”, in order to capture more customers, but sooner rather than later, selling tactics need to change. Features, especially the innovative ones, should be sold on the value, as there is no need to give it away for free, or at ridiculously low prices.

One good example is Yottaa; they dramatically changed their sales approach over the years, whereas in the beginning they sold on price, and now they sell the value. Another good example is Instart Logic and Aryaka Networks, as they started offering features at premium prices from the get go, because they understand the feature value. The key takeaway is be open minded, and ready to mimic a successful competitor.