No one buys software without giving it a test drive first. As R1Soft’s Sales Engineer, Brian Winebarger serves as a sort of driving instructor. He knows our Server Backup Manager (SBM) in every detail, and he understands the backup needs and challenges different users face, so he can effectively demonstrate how the software addresses each company’s unique technical needs.
Demos are a 3-Way Partnership
Sales reps work with prospects first, to gain a deep understanding of their specific usage environment and challenges. They set up the demo meeting and sit in on the call. During the demo, Brian covers three key requirements needed to set up Server Backup Manager:
- Setting up the server
- Disk safe
Using GoToMeeting, he provides a quick overview. Then, based on what the sales rep has learned about the company’s hosting and enterprise environment, he zeroes in on the most pertinent product features. Demos are highly interactive -- a personal conversation rather than a “lesson.” And because each session is custom-tailored to the prospect’s needs, there is no wasted time.
Many prospects have already been testing Server Backup Manager, via the 14-day trial, so they may need only a phone walk-through or have a few questions. But Brian always has an initial conversation of some kind with every customer. That opens a channel for future communication, if help is needed to resolve any immediate issues.
Brian is rarely called on to re-explain or elaborate. “By the time the customer buys,” he says, “they know what it does and what it takes to use it.” Occasionally he does a quick run-through when a new backup administrator comes on scene at a company.
He also gives “free style” mini-demos at trade shows where R1Soft is exhibiting. Prospects stop by to put faces to names and learn more about SBM, and customers stop by to check out the latest features. He uses a laptop plus a TV monitor, so more people can watch and learn.
There are Common Questions, but Few Universal Answers
Hosting customers or service providers need different things and have different environments, so every question requires a distinct answer. People ask what types of disks or file providers SBM supports, and types of hardware needed. Storage estimating is a common challenge, but Brian notes there is no simple answer. It’s a complex issue, based on many company-specific factors such as compression levels and fluctuations.
However, three questions come up frequently:
1. How does Server Backup Manager work, and how often?
Brian explains that default backup is hourly, but frequency can be set for nightly or whatever period makes sense. “We’re backing up at the block level,” he explains. “We take one full backup for life. After that we only capture the changes since the last backup. This enables small windows between backups, with minimal impact to performance on the protected server.” There is no limit on how much data can be backed up.
2. Is there an API?
“Almost all of the tasks that can be performed through the SBM’s web interface can be achieved through the API,” he notes. “A lot of our partners use this to integrate their own billing systems and shopping carts. There are API samples in the install directory, so customers can see examples for most of the common tasks performed.”
3. What about off-site back up?
There are multiple options. “The first is a relatively new feature called Site-to-Site Replication that’s actually baked into the product. With just a few simple configuration settings, you can set up any Server Backup Manager to listen for disk safe replicas to be accepted from any Server Backup Manager.” As with normal backups, one full replica of the disk safe is sent, then only block changes thereafter.
Customers can also create disk safe replicas locally or integrate with Amazon Glacier. Although most clients use the cloud for disaster recovery services, some want to back up to the cloud, too.
Brian's Here to Configure Things Your Way
Even R1Soft’s trade show presence has been updated to reflect the company’s emphasis on individualization. The former “group look” of matching polo shirts is out, personal choice is in. It makes perfect sense, says Brian, because R1 techs, sales and marketing reps are all individuals, too.
Brian loves his job, because it’s always new, never the same. Every environment is different and new technologies are constantly emerging. He gets to talk to people around the world. Since his job is virtual, he sometimes works from home and sometimes winds up working in the evening or on the weekend, to accommodate extreme time zone differences.
Although he normally enters the picture at the sales rep’s request, occasionally prospects find him via email. One even friended him on Facebook as an approach to ask questions.
He says he most often gets comments like “informative” and “you answered all my questions” – exactly the goal of any demonstration. There’s no doubt he is greatly appreciated by his audience. But Brian Winebarger doesn’t see himself as a Tech Hero or expect overt thanks. He simply says, “This is what I do!”
Want to chat with Brian about your server backup needs?