While speaking at the FISPA meeting this week, I kind of focused on sales and marketing. Why? Mainly the E-Myth. Most of the ISP owners are technical but are very uncomfortable talking about business, marketing and especially sales. One point that is important is that ISP's are NOT selling Internet Access. ISP's are selling reliable, dependable high-speed access to Facebook, YouTube and the rest of the websites and Web Apps that people desire to use. SAAS and VoIP means that ISP's need to be cognizant of the fact that if you keep selling Internet Access you will relegated to a dumb pipe. Instead, you should be offering not just the access but also some of those Apps. (That's what the RBOC's want to do).
ITSP's are NOT selling replacement phone service. They are selling business productivity and efficiency through a new, reliable and redundant platform for voice service. It's NOT about saving someone 10% -- it is about understanding how the business uses the phone (and other communications services) to interact with prospects, customers, and employees.
Google Voice is now going public. Luckily, for some providers Google announced that it will charge for enterprise and premium users. At the FISPA meeting, IKANO (Disclaimer: I rep IKANO's Google Apps for ISP's) presented the concept of ISP's moving their email service to Google. This was at the tail end of a CLEC session where the discussion centered around becoming a CLEC is about controlling your destiny and your services. Well, outsourcing your email - still the killer app for users - for an ISP is tantamount to losing control. And the fact that Google - IKANO's partner for email - is launching Google Voice is just one more reason that the ISP's will say No to Google Apps. They see Google as the new AT&T.