Go Upstream My Friends

By Peter Radizeski, RAD-INFO

Here in Atlanta for the start of the six-week fall conference run. Microcorp’s One-on-One, Channel Partners, Round Table, COMPTEL, ISPCON, then VON (throw VoiceCon and INTEROP in there as well). Yep, Atlanta to New Jersey to NOLA to Dallas to San Jose to Boston. Whew!

Anyway, here in Atlanta the theme of the Microcorp Annual agent show has been: Go Upstream. Directed at the agents who sell minutes, handsets and DSL, the carriers are looking for capable agents to sell big pipes. (See the related PHONE+ cover story.) At lunch, XO’s team gave a lesson in consultative selling, emphasizing that data was easier to capture than voice (or VoIP). Level 3 continued on that theme with its push to sell more into lit buildings and near lit buildings (places within 500 feet of their fiber). Metro Ethernet, IP VPN, wavelength, VPLS, private line and DIA. (We have voice and VoIP, but let’s push the pipe.) 10MB pipes are the new T1, people!

The challenges of going upstream are that it isn’t a transactional sale. It takes more time. It involves a process that consists of questions to highlight the need, proposing a solution that has ROI and TCO, and follow-up (lots of thoughtful follow up). The commissions are higher, but the implementation requires coordination for cabling, conduit, CPE and the turn up.

Look for the carriers, like ACC Business, XO and Level 3 to continue this message the rest of the year. XO, Level 3, TWTC, and now PAETEC (with the McLeod buy) have fiber networks that are under-utilized. Maxing out those assets is the fastest path to cash for these guys. The strategy going into the fall COMPTEL show has to be to sell as little type II as possible.

Peter Radizeski is president of RAD-INFO. He can be reached at [email protected].

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