The week I wrote this column two master agencies announced agreements with two different hosted VoIP providers. Each agency now has an agreement with 20 service providers that offer Hosted VoIP. 20.
It isn’t just hosted VoIP. The cloud computing space is also getting crowded with VPS, IAAS, PAAS, and other competitors of AWS.
In the midst of all of this, agents will be blamed for selling on price. I think agents – and masters – are being set up to fail.
I get as a service provider you want to have as many feet on the street as possible, so you sign up as many partners as you can. You use mirrors as your criteria. That is the wrong strategy!
It isn’t about how many quote you; it is about how many can align their business model with yours so that you both win. That is what a partner is. Unfortunately in these heady days of quarterly improvement, service providers miss the mark on that. You wouldn’t hire employees like this would you?
I have seen the results for a service provider that picks wrong: Eight quotes a day that never lead to a sale.
The service provider will get mad at the master agency for the low close rate – even madder when the master charges several thousand dollars to attend the partner event. If you want face time with the agents, it will cost you. How many master contracts do you have? Do the math.
In this overcrowded market, your story is not being heard. But then you aren’t really telling it either. I thumbed through some overviews today. You could just change the logo on the top because it is all the same copy.
Where’s the sweet spot? Where do you excel? Where should the partner think of you and only you?
Tomorrow and next week, the agent will get three to five quotes for a 50-seat hosted VoIP deployment. How will he figure out which ones to present to the customer? He has his own experiences to go on and maybe some word of mouth from other agents, but nothing the service provider has said will help. In a crowded market, you have to be better marketers.
Edited by Maurice Nagle