The article originally appeared in the Jan./Feb. edition of INTERNET TELEPHONY.
The rumblings I hear inside the carriers are mainly that the agent channel just isn't moving the needle. In some cases, the inside sales have higher sales tickets. Note that some of this is due to the fact that direct salespeople do a better job of upselling than agents do.
Channel heads talk about agents needing to add value. What that means varies.
The one thing that agents need to understand is that the line item on the balance sheet for commissions keeps increasing – and has to be explained to not be wiped out.
Each carrier has a different service they want pushed. That service is the new metric that the C-suite examines. Agents should start thinking of ways to sell that new service, especially for carriers that the agent has a lot of business with. Going forward – as cloud, apps, managed services take a bigger spotlight – less emphasis will be put on transport and T1.
Agents spend most of their days hunting, not worrying about carrier strategies. However, as this industry goes through the latest round of turbulence, agents need to be cognizant of how internal changes at carriers will likely affect their income.
We have seen TDM slowly slide off the compensated products addendum. We have seen long-time POTS CLECs transition to cloud. Take this as the warning it is: _t is time to re-think and re-tool.
I am not saying you have to go cloud, but I am saying that for your own benefit you need to add more services to your catalog, more tools to your toolbox. Those services can be as simple as conferencing or as complex as VPS.
For the sake of your base, you need to go back in and cross-sell to your customers the services that are popping up on Wall Street’s screen, like hosted Exchange, backup and collaboration. Many carriers offer these services – and many surveys cite that the SMB market is looking for these services and will buy them from you – if you just offer them!
In the end, adding some services will get you more revenue, a stickier customer, and a satisfied carrier.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi