By Peter Radizeski
I watched the CPZ 2012 (see below) and had to comment. I take offense to a bunch of folks who are not agents talking about the mindset of agents. Generalizing that agents shop orders is wrong. Does a subset of agents shop orders? Probably. Do some masters encourage this? You bet. Ive been approached by a couple to move business over for an extra couple of points. I work with people due to long-term relationships, not for an extra point. Thanks for thinking Im a prostitute though.
With the moves that INGRAM and Tech Data are making, master agents need to look out. It wont be about a point here or there, it will be about automation, ease of use, and a complete set of suppliers (hardware, services, software). At least, thats my guess. Have you seen TDMobility and Ingram Siesmic?
Cloud providers seem to be mad at agents, basically for not selling their stuff. Although everyone says go up-market, are we certain that there is enough opportunity there? To hear carriers talk, MPLS is the new Integrated T1. So MPLS is the next commodity.
I have often wondered about managed services from the carriers, because most are incapable of monitoring their own network, so why would my client want them monitoring theirs?
Cablecos are cleaning up in the sub-$500 space and it seems like they will own that space. I foresee cablecos becoming the new ILEC and then acting just like Verizon. Be prepared. Three years max.
Truthfully, have the providers done all they can to give agents the tools they need to sell their product? Have they established a value statement? Do they know who the target market is? Do they know what triggers the sale? Who is the actual buyer? Answer those questions first.
The other thing to consider is that transactional agents are not motivated to sell your stuff. Its not so much a commission issue. Transactional agents like getting ink. Cloud takes longer to sell, demands a different sales skill set, and requires a lot of product/technical knowledge to solution sell. Who pays for that while they get retrained? Plus, will they be as happy selling cloud as they are closing telco deals?
Peter Radizeski is president of RAD-INFO INC., a telecom consulting firm, and a founding board member of TCA.