Telecom Agent Considerations in Selecting a Service Provider

David Byrd : Raven Call
David Byrd
David Byrd is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer for Raven Guru Marketing. Previously, he was the CMO and EVP of Sales for CloudRoute. Prior to CloudRoute, He was CMO at ANPI, CMO & EVP of Sales at Broadvox, VP of channels and Alliances for Telcordia and Director of eBusiness development with i2 Technologies.He has also held executive positions with Planet Hollywood Online, Hewlett-Packard, Tandem Computers, Sprint and Ericsson.
| Raven Guru Marketing

Telecom Agent Considerations in Selecting a Service Provider

As an Agent, you have a number of decisions to make. You need to decide what you wish to sell (services, products or systems), to whom you wish to sell (small, medium or large businesses, or target verticals), what you need to be successful (product, organizational structure and pricing) and with whom you should partner (an OEM, service provider or Master Agency). You also need to view yourself as a small business owner, and understand that if you are not investing the time to make correct decisions, you are not properly managing your business.

As I look back upon my nearly twenty years working with indirect selling channels, I have settled upon, in my opinion, the seven key considerations for Agents selecting a service provider.

  1. Understand the company with whom you are partnering. Learn what values the company has demonstrated with its customer base, employees and partner channel, and ensure they are acceptable to you.
  2. Learn about the product and its acceptance in the market. History has shown that the best product does not always win in a competitive marketplace. However, there are certain product attributes every buyer wants to see, and others definitely want to avoid. In the simplest sense, good products meet the needs of the buyer. Bad products do not.
  3. Understand their definition and role of a partner, and determine if it fits with your business strategy. If you want to spend most of your time selling, and not providing support, then find a partner that supports that objective. Too much time spent answering post sales questions, such as those regarding provisioning, installation, number porting, escalation procedures or support contacts may be an indication that your time is not valued.
  4. Compare training programs to ensure they provide the knowledge necessary to be successful. Training programs should not place a financial burden on you. They should also be varied in their delivery and availability, as your time is a very valuable commodity. At a minimum, training programs should be offered regularly at different times and days, archived for later viewing and available as self-paced courses where applicable. Recognize that face-to-face training for agents can be expensive but, if offered, may be the right investment for you to make.
  5. Ask about customer satisfaction levels. The partner should have data as to how the services you will be representing are viewed by the customer base. If no surveys or data exists, the potential partner may not care enough about delivering a good customer experience.
  6. Selling has always been a contact sport but, these days, it is even more difficult. Getting noticed and offering valuable differentiation to your prospects is important. Learn about the tools, resources and support you will have access to that enable your sales success. Understand the marketing programs that will assist in driving demand, or supporting your efforts in generating leads. To win today, the sales enablement tools must be plentiful and well developed.
  7. The commission plan should be your last consideration. However, it is the overall plan or agreement that should be read, understood and negotiated. Ramps, market development funds, certifications, commissions and SPIFF payment schedules, claw backs and other contractual elements will affect your success. Know them in advance.

I can’t score these seven considerations for you. I can state, however, that the ANPI Premier Partner Program addresses each of the above and should be considered by any Agent who wishes to represent an innovative implementation of a cloud-based or hosted PBX and Unified Communications solution.

Good selling!

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