It will be a busy year in 2012 as all the carriers try to synergize their mega-mergers and get their back-office in order so that we can actually place orders.
Besides selling the traditional circuits - POTS, T1, SIP, PRI - there are some interesting things for an Agent to look at in 2012.
M2M is growing. We are seeing that the 3G/4G system is creeping in everywhere - from broadband backup systems to surveillance systems to fleet management to home healthcare monitoring to security monitoring. There are an unlimited number of ways that devices and the wireless network can interact. Think about the Kindle. There is money to be made in M2M.
More wireless but mixed with TEM. If you haven't moved your big accounts to TEM, 2012 may be the year you think about it. Auditing has increased in the last two years as governments (local, county, state) and medium businesses look for ways to reduce the ever-increasing telecom bills. (Cellular/3G/4G is big and growing, which is increasing the total cost of telecom spending.) Telecom Expense Management (TEM) can help accounts that spend more than $5K per month. It also makes the Agent the point person all the total telecom spend. It's a great way to become vital to the organization.
In addition, you can add Mobile Device Management. If a company has more than 250 employees, it likely needs help tracking laptops, data cards, cellphones and the like. There are software platforms for this to make an Agents life easy. This is yet another way to become integral to a clients business. Notice I'm not suggesting selling cellphones, but manage those assets for the business.
Lastly, there is Cloud and Managed Services. I'm going to skip cloud unless you want to sell apps to businesses. If you sell within a vertical, I would suggest that you certainly start selling apps into that vertical, because it will add revenue for you and make you the go-to person for all things IT and Telecom for that Vertical!
In Managed Services, we are seeing a few trends: hacking is increasing; security is lax; IT is pervasive in today's business environment but there is not enough money or staff to handle it all. That's where managed servcies comes in. If the company has a lot of empployees and a small IT staff, managed servcies would be a fit. Things to ask:
- "What task would you like to relieve yourself of?"
- "What routine task could we outsource to your ISP to free up your staff's time?
- "You are consuming a lot more bandwidth, what are you doing about firewall and other security?"
- "How are you tracking wireless spending and devices?"
- "What would you do if a company laptop was stolen or lost?"
- "How much private company data is on a smartphone or laptop? How much access does either device have to your network?"
- "Do you backup your data regularly and off-site?"
You have to adjust for the changing times, unless you just want to push pipes. But your customers are under a strain to handle devices, billing, auditing, tracking as well as security and more. You can make some extra money -- and become more than just a sales guy -- if you move beyond the pipes and help your customers with the rest of the story. HUH? They buy those pipes from you for a reason. Help them with that.
Happy New Year!