Peter : On Rad's Radar?
Peter
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

agents

SAAS for Agents

February 25, 2009

The first SAAS vendor I remember seeing at Channel Partners was nGenX, a subsidiary  of Lightwave Group. nGenX was offering Microsoft Office on-demand as a white label product for agents to sell for commission.

Next up for agents and VARs is GreenAppx.
With branded SaaS marketplaces, telecom agents and VARs can help small to mid-size customers eliminate capital expenditures and licensing agreements. SMBs can access critical business applications such as Microsoft Hosted Exchange Server, BlackBerry Enterprise Server, GoodLink Mobile Email, McAfee Security, WebEx Conferencing, and IBM Data Back Up and Recovery.



SMB Nation VoIP Survey

February 24, 2009

"SMB Nation is a community of over 35,000 small and medium business (SMB) technology consultants, channel partners, sponsors and resellers. With an impressive 10-year history serving as a trusted advisor and mentor to the SMB consulting and  reseller channel, SMB Nation has been able to consistently reinvent itself based upon changing market conditions." SMB Nation did a VoIP survey with NGT. 260 responded (results here).

These are the services they currently provide:

  • Networking infrastructure (91.1%)
  • Mobility sales, services, support (52.7%)
  • VoIP-specific sales, services, support (44.2%)
  • Telephony sales, services, and support (35.3%)
  • Line of business applications (35.7%)
  • Database development/programming/development (32.6%)
  • Web hosting (27.5%)
  • Host e-mail (26.7%)
These are the services they will add:

  • VoIP sales, service, support (56.2%)
  • Security (36.6%)
  • Telephony sales, services, and support (28.1%)
  • Web hosting, hosted services (25.5%)
It's interesting that Telecom Agents sell circuits and very few want to sell non-telecom services, but VAR's and MSP's are marching in to take over the Agent Arena.







6 Questions when Choosing a VoIP Provider

February 19, 2009

If you are a channel agent or a VAR or a service provider looking for a VoIP Provider to be your VoIP provider, there are 6 questions to think about:
  1. Do you want to White Label, wholesale or a retail package?
  2. Will you be serving consumers or businesses?
  3. Will it be POTS replacement or Hosted PBX?
  4. Will you be selling PBX, phones and other hardware?
  5. Do you want to do Tier 1 support?
  6. How will you sell it? (Or do you have a sales team?)
While many ITSP's (Internet Telephony Service Providers) can do all of it - white label, wholesale, retail, hosted PBX, analog replacement - it is difficult for each to excel at all of that. And you don't want to get half way down the road to have your vendor shift gears and the wheels fall off.

Support is key because "the blinking light" syndrome means that you will be getting calls about "how do I do that?" or "why can't I dial long distance?" So it's good to define responsibilities (and what is Tier 1 support).

Why know your market? Because most ITSP's have not designed an offering to compete against Vonage, Magic Jack or the cable companies.




Commission Dinging

February 19, 2009

Should an agent's commission get dinged when the carrier issues a credit over an outage or SLA issue? I have two cases of this happening right now.

In good faith, I sold a circuit that the carrier gave me permission to sell. But on a performance issue - months post-sale - the carriers ding my commission when they have to issue a credit for SLA violations.

Do they do this to their direct people?



Level3 Profits

February 16, 2009

L3 released 4Q08 numbers last week. Remember at Christmas, rumors swirled about a possible bankruptcy. Now it rings up a profit.

Level 3 Communications has recorded its first quarterly profit in six years for the fourth quarter of 2008.

More Agents or Lift the Ones You Have?

February 11, 2009

If you are a carrier or a Master Agent, do you need more agents or do you need to give a lift to the ones you have?

There's a sales management theorem that when you use Pareto's Principle, you should spend you time with the Top 20% of your sales force not the bottom 20%. Why? Because the people bringing 80% of your sales are the ones you want to keep happy. Also, the more efficient and less bumpy you can make the sales process for them, the better for all the sales team, but especially the top dogs.

If you have a bunch of agents who signed up, what are you doing with them?



Resellers on SIP Trunking

February 6, 2009

I moderated a SIP trunking panel at Microcorp's event in Atlanta in Sept. of 2008. The result was that the carriers were pushing SIP Trunking as a cost savings replacement for PRI. There was no differentiation among the 4 carriers - whose names I will not print. So then I am at the IT Expo in Miami for the Reseller panel on SIP Trunking titled "The Service Provider Perspective" hoping for something different.

The Voice of Megapath is a Duet

February 6, 2009

It's a Party! SUTUS, Megapath and Polycom are hosting a seminar about their combined offering on Feb. 24 in San Jose. (Email me for an invite!)

What offering? Well, you know about Polycom's IP Phones, even the HD Voice models. SUTUS offers a piece of hardware that is an office-in-a-box, which is more than just an on-premise IP-PBX. 
"The functionality includes wired and wireless networking, file server, email, VoIP PBX, auto attendant, voice mail, internet router, security and access to managed services.


Sutus Delivers a Stimulus Plan of its own

January 28, 2009

Small Business wins as Sutus announces new lower pricing for  'Office in a box' technology

All-in-one Telephony and Data Communications vendor announces SOHO-grade pricing for award-winning Business Central device


January 27th, 2009, Vancouver, B.C. Sutus Inc., the company behind the Sutus Business Centralâ„¢, a unique all-in-one device that combines all the Telephony, data and networking features required to run a modern-day office, today announced pricing that dramatically reduces the TCO (total cost of ownership) for small businesses.

VAR's Optimistic

January 28, 2009

"Nearly one-third of VARs (value added resellers like Cisco certified IT shops) are planning to grow their businesses in excess of 15 percent in 2009", according to CRN.

The most interesting quote was not about the importance of Managing Cash Flow or How Goal # 1 is Finding new busines, it was this quote:

"When we asked them to rank what is most critical, they said "finding new business." Note the word "finding" because these are not organizations waiting around for Microsoft or HP to send them sales leads. Growth-oriented VARs in a down economy go out and find new customers."

Good agencies have a Lead Generation system in place. But one thing Agents ask for from their vendors (carriers) is Lead Gen.

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