The Channel

Do You Want Fries With That?

By TMCnet Special Guest
Peter Radizeski, Head of telecom consulting agency RAD-INFO Inc.
  |  June 01, 2011

A couple of years ago, conferencing was a side act in telecom. Not many agents sold it. Those that did kind of specialized in it. Today, it has gone a little main stream. One reason is that the conferencing providers like Intercall and RollCall starting providing agents with extra tools that most CLECs did not: value propositions.

Conferencing was sold as an add-on service to your base of voice customers. Repeatedly, agents were reminded to check their base for conferencing opportunities. It was a real change of pace.

Today, cloud will certainly be sold like that.

Cloud is not really a replacement service like PRI or Internet bandwidth. Usually, there is on-premises software that is being substituted for software as a service, like office suites. E-mail has usually been hosted. And CRM has either been sitting dormant or not utilized.

Selling cloud services will be different than selling telecom or network. Agents will need to work their base for additional sales. Agents should understand that their greatest asset is their customer base. The new target is total telecom and IT spend of that base.

Before agents chased data or voice. More and more agents chased both. Conferencing was probably the first voice application in the cloud sold. It was sold like dessert by a waitress. “Oh, how was everything? Good. Did you save room for dessert because we offer conferencing now in three flavors – audio, video and web. How does that sound?”

Now agents will have to market to their base again with a new spiel. The questions will vary from “What software makes your office tick?” to “Do you have a server lurking about?” Agents have never asked that. Heck, Rackspace (News - Alert) doesn’t exactly cold call small businesses asking that either. And I don’t know any agents that were selling hosted Exchange or a BlackBerry server. (VARs were.)

That’s the new frontier: Asking your client base about other services that you offer. Your carriers have a wide breadth of services available from hosting to network to managed services to unified communications components. We’ll just have to get used to asking clients if they want dessert. (Or, to be corny: Do they want fries with that T1?)

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Edited by Jennifer Russell