Conferencing, TEM, MPLS Sell Best in a Slowdown

Americans are enduring some tough economic times, with more disposable income going into gas tanks and food bills. Companies are feeling the pinch, too, and cutting back on unnecessary spending. Such belt-tightening could be scary for channel partners, whose livelihoods depend on recurring commissions. So the challenge is to present current and potential clients with technologies and products that will help them save money as the country slogs through a recession — the end of which no one can predict.

The communications dollar goes furthest when businesses use conferencing, telecom expense management (TEM) and MPLS, say Monday’s three “Selling in a Slowdown: Solutions That Sell in a Slowdown” panelists. Moderator Khali Henderson, editor of PHONE+, will be joined by Angelina Beitia, senior vice president of indirect channels for Premiere Global Services Inc.; Peter Callowhill, CEO of NetGain Communications; and Sarah Graham Linares, vice president of product development and revenue assurance for TMC Communications.

When it comes to conferencing, the biggest advantage, of course, is eliminating the need for expensive airline travel — travel that grows more costly by the week, thanks to higher fuel prices, bag-check surcharges and increased food and drink fees. Beitia said the best way to pitch conferencing in a slowdown is to talk about subscription-based packages, adding that these are easier to sell and come with predictable commissions. Beitia will give agents tips on how to position subscription conferencing to clients, especially in the current economic environment.

TEM is another good service to put in front of clients, according to Callowhill, because it saves companies money while providing a strong ROI. NetGain gives its potential iTEMize customers a guarantee: they will see ROI thanks to the optimization process or the review that assesses where money is slipping through the cracks and shows businesses how they can recoup those dollars. Callowhill will give an overview of how TEM sales open new doors and invite new revenue streams.

“We want partners to have newfound confidence that a tough economy is actually a great time for them to bring their industry experience and knowledge to their clients,” said Callowhill. “We want them to feel good about delivering new value to the marketplace.”

Finally, TMC’s Linares planned to show agents how technologies such as MPLS let companies make the most of their networks and existing services.

“The sales pitch has moved from offering a lower flat rate than the next guy to a value proposition that provides every business prospect with a custom solution that considers services they already have in place,” she stated.

To that end, MPLS allows users to integrate multiple WAN access technologies and protocols to enhance network performance, Linares said. Agents also can talk up integrated managed services as advanced MPLS offerings because that provides greater control over network and application performance, Linares explained. Customers prioritize their network traffic, maximizing the efficiency of their network and eliminating the need to purchase additional data circuits.”

There are a couple of other options Linares will cover, including Resp Org services and customized pricing on dedicated long-distance. She’ll also chime in on the TEM discussion.

On the whole, “in today’s economy, the products that sell are those that improve the productivity of a company’s existing telecom services,” Linares said.

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