With 25 years of telecom industry experience collectively, James Larsen and Robert Patlan will talk to agents about the importance of consulting and professional services during today’s Marketing Showcase workshop. Larsen is COO of NetGain Communications Inc., while Patlan is a network analyst and agent support manager for Voice Smart Networks.
The session targets channel partners working with different telecom companies. The presentations are designed to help agents translate information into revenue.
Patlan worked four years as an agent, another four as an agent manager and spent two years as the head of network services for an interconnect company. His expertise largely lies in analyzing customers’ and prospective clients’ local, long-distance, and Internet bills and advising cost-saving alternatives.
Larsen, too, brings his vast knowledge to the table. Before co-founding NetGain, he was general manager of carrier services at Net2000 Communications; he spent nearly five years at American Management Systems in project management and business development; and he has worked for Sprint International, Software AG and PRC as a technical consultant.
Patlan plans to address "the importance of establishing a strategic relationship with an interconnect." He stresses that agents cannot simply introduce themselves to an interconnect company and then expect to have that sign an agent/subagent agreement. "I will be explaining how and why an agent must truly position themselves with interconnects, so that the interconnect looks to the agent as a source of effortless and additional income."
Patlan also intends to talk about what interconnects do for agents, and how to approach those decision-makers.
Larsen, meanwhile, poses the question of whether it is a good idea for telecom brokers to transition from agent to professional services agency, and will explore that in his presentation. He also will talk about roadblocks associated with providing consultancy services and charging clients a fee for those services.
"I will be discussing specific applications and services that can be added to the typical agent portfolio that will enhance the client’s experience, provide a stickier revenue stream and allow the agent to move up-market to larger opportunities," he says.
In addition to examining the pitfalls to avoid, Larsen will emphasize the importance of creating a structured, well-documented product that "clearly articulates the statement of work and the level of service that will be provided," he says.
Larsen’s company, NetGain, partners with like-minded agencies to share resources and take advantage of various carrier relationships, he says. NetGain focuses primarily on working with integrators and VARs to provide network services consultation.
Voice Smart, Patlan’s company, offers agents commission for referrals and sales. Voice Smart provides business solutions ranging from the industry’s best manufacturers to installing and maintaining traditional and IP-based business telephone networks. Voice Smart is an authorized SBC agent.