VoIP wholesaler Intelliverse this month is launching its agent program to sell a version of its hosted VoIP service, Intelliverse callEverywhere, which is tailored to small and very small businesses.
Stacy Conrad, who has been tapped to head up the new program as vice president of agent sales, comes to the role after four years with Premiere Global Services, where she managed its agent, reseller and wholesale partner programs. Prior to that, she worked at Cable and Wireless where her final post was managing direct and indirect sales reps who sold the companys messaging solutions.
Intelliverses Stacy Conrad
Intelliverse, which was created in 2005 from the merger of Voicecom Telecommunications LLC and iNuntius Inc., has a direct sales force that sells its IVR and messaging products, but it will rely exclusively on indirect reps to sell callEverywhere. A Web site, www.everywhere.net, serves to inform end users about the service, generate leads for Intelliverse partners, process orders and, after the sale, provide an account management interface.
Weve packaged the product so its easy for partners to sell, says Conrad, describing a one-page online form the customer completes and submits to set up an account. In addition, callEverywhere works with a customers existing phone system and bandwidth provider, relying on the callEverywhere Message Manager (an analog telephone adapter from ACCEL Inc. or Belkin International Inc.) to do the heavy lifting. Primarily, it appears its going to be a one-call close opportunity.
Conrad says eliminating the need to buy equipment is one of callEverywheres strongest selling points. Its hosted IP PBX without the need for the IP phone, says Frank Paterno, vice president of marketing. This, combined with the bandwidth-independence also distinguishes the service from what Intelliverses wholesale customers typically offer, which is an integrated service-CPE bundle. We are trying to make them look like two separate services, says Conrad, of its wholesale and retail services. However, she says, that distinction is not critical since competition for VoIP services usually is legacy service and rarely another VoIP service.
While having experience handling billing and customer service for its direct sales products and, in some, cases for its resellers, Intelliverse has expanded its care facility by 45 percent from 19 to 42 reps to support callEverywhere.
Plus, Paterno says, callEverywhere was beta tested under the same brand name about two-and-a-half years ago through Belkins big box retail distribution channels. It was a little too early in the market, he noted of the pre- Vonage days. However, he says, Intelliverse presently supports 50,000 end users for its wholesalers and has empirical data and experience with what they use, buy and need help with.
Few providers out there are offering a true small business service, says Paterno. There are a few out there, but not many.
Conrad agrees: Most of them have a larger target or they just have a residential service they are trying to pass off.
Most features of callEverywhere are facilitated by familiar star commands similar to Centrex. So, *90 is for transferring calls, *67 is for call blocking and *72 for call forwarding. In addition, the Web-based interface allows users to do more advanced functions, like setting up speed dialing or defining auto attendant and hunt groups.
Conrad adds that while callEverywhere mimics Centrex and key systems, it is designed to cost less and also is bundled with unlimited domestic long-distance calling. The service is priced at $49.95 per seat per month. The ATA is purchased separately and each seat requires a port on the ATA. Intelliverse offers a four-port ATA for $150 and an eight-port for $325. Conrad says the ideal customer is a company with two-to-30 people per location, such as a small business with multiple locations or remote users who can now be included in the auto attendant, hunt groups and four-digit dial plans. Those types of businesses are going to see the biggest benefit, she says. The great thing is there are so many of them.
Agents are compensated on the MRC but not the ATA. The comp plan includes an upfront amount plus a monthly residual. A special promotional comp plan will be available to agents signing up prior to March 31, 2007, through the 2007 plan year. Conrad declined to reveal further details, but says that callEverywhere is not a huge sale, an order might be $500 so the upfront payment is added incentive. Its not going to be a huge monthly sale, so for an agent, we had to make sure it was really easy to sell No. 1 and after they sell it, all the support goes to us. They are not opening trouble tickets on behalf of their customers, says Paterno. The upfront bonus accounts for the selling time. After that, its all gravy because theres really no effort in it from the agent point of view.
|ACCEL Inc. www.accel.com.tw
Belkin International Inc. www.belkin.com