In this article, you will find information to help you understand the benefits of adopting Telecom Services into your deliverables.
Why is Telecom So Hot?
In an analysis by CompTIA of the research consultancy IDC’s data in CompTIA’s Industry Outlook 2013 report, CompTIA states: “The IT industry can be segmented into a number of primary categories. One natural dividing line breaks the industry into a grouping of hardware, software and IT services and then a grouping of telecommunication services. Along these lines, the global IT industry consists of a 56% allocation towards hardware, software and IT services and 44% towards telecom services”.
CompTIA goes on to state “With the never ending pressures of convergence, such as in the areas of IT-‐telecom or IT-A/V, channel firms must contend with new competitors, while not losing sight of new opportunities.”
As a result of the tremendous need for Telecom services by end user customers as reflected by their heavy investments in these services, IT providers that do not include these services in their portfolios are missing a tremendous revenue opportunity.
CompTIA states; In its Telecom and IT Partnerships – A Practical Guide for Solution Providers report,: “In yet another indication of changing roles and relationships in the technology industry, traditional IT channel firms increasingly are aligning themselves with agent companies that sell telecom provider services. The business partnerships they are forging together reflect a number of realities today: ongoing convergence between the two industries, the impact of surging trends such as cloud computing, and the need to fill gaps in skill sets to meet customer demand”.
As reflected in the above graphic, a considerable amount of revenue is generated from Telecom Agent and VAR relationships, according to respondents of the Channel Partners and CompTIA Agent-VAR Partnering Survey, January 2012. And there is no end in sight, as convergence fuels the adoption of Telecom services into traditional VAR IT solution portfolios. In fact, in its Industry Outlook 2013 report CompTIA states “As the voice and data world merge, parties in both of these channels have found a symbiotic relationship works well to serve customer demand for phone and IT to come in one-stop‐shopping fashion”.
What is Telecom?
In the context of this document, Telecom services include packet and circuit-switched data, Internet and voice services sold to end user customers. These can include broadband and voice services delivered over the traditional PSTN along with Cellular, Satellite, Fiber and Cable networks. Traffic carried over these networks include voice and non-voice data, images, video, fax, interactive services and more. VoIP, local and long distance and voice and enhanced voice services are also delivered over these networks.
Telecom is the Next Great Opportunity in IT
Delivering and managing recurring revenue-based Telecom Services and Solutions affords you the opportunity to offer additional value-added services to your customers as a result of the need for voice and broadband services in the business environment, powering analog and digital phone systems, Internet access and Cloud services such as email, online applications and data.
Adopting and integrating a Telecom Practice into your business increases customer stickiness and your overall cash flow; improves your business valuation and financial profile, and provides a consistent recurring revenue stream that grows exponentially as you deploy more Telecom Solutions, improving the overall health and stability of your business.
What is the Role of a Telecom Service Provider?
Once Telecom Solutions and Services are added to your deliverables, your role as a Telecom Service Provider is to evaluate and advise your customers in developing and implementing Telecommunications Strategies that incorporate the appropriate blend of analog and digital voice, data and broadband connectivity management Strategies, solutions and services that will meet their business needs and budgets. This includes designing, quoting and selling all of the individual components of a Telecom Solution; including circuits as well as devices, as part of a broad, comprehensive solution sale focused on improving customer business outcomes. Once Telecom Solutions and Services are sold, you will implement, integrate, and customize them for your customers by leveraging your Telecom Vendors’ highly trained and certified engineering staff.
This role will include developing a deep understanding of these services and solutions as they impact operational, financial and technical aspects of customer businesses, with a specific focus on cost savings, availability and redundancy. As a result of the intimate understanding of customer business needs, workflows and environments gained in this role, you will uncover additional opportunities to present and deliver supplementary value-added services and solutions to customers such as Managed Services, Unified Communications and Virtualization; along with Cloud deliverables, to enhance your strategic value to customers, increase customer satisfaction and grow revenues.
The benefits afforded to end customers by adopting your Telecom Solutions include cost savings, more efficient management of voice and data resources, increased business agility and flexibility, productivity and efficiency, improved business continuity and elevated customer satisfaction and retention, among others.
Telecom Products and Peripherals Will Be Sold As Part of a Solution, Not Individually
With the help of your Telecom Vendor; along with the necessary voice and data circuits, you will succeed in designing, quoting and selling all of the individual components of a Telecom Solution. These can include devices such as telephone or VoIP systems, handsets, fax or multifunction devices, audio and videoconferencing hardware, routers, switches, firewalls and wireless access points – as part of a broad, comprehensive solution sale. Along with new recurring monthly revenue, this strategic approach will help grow top-line revenue by increasing the overall value of each sale, and accelerate the attainment of Trusted Advisor status with customers, facilitating additional solution sales in the future.
Delivering Telecom Solutions Uncovers Additional Value-Added Service Sales
The adoption of a Telecom Practice uncovers numerous additional value-added service opportunities, including the delivery of voice and data network readiness assessments and infrastructure improvements and additional project opportunities, and for new recurring revenue realized through the sale of voice, data and cellular services to your customers.
Building a Telecom Practice into Your Existing Business
Your move towards Telecom is evolutionary and not revolutionary, as you will transform your business to support the specific changes required to grow a successful Telecom Practice within it.
In order to determine how to best adopt Telecom into your business, you first need to evaluate your current business model, as this will dictate the roadmap you will follow to integrate or build a Telecom Practice within your organization. Are you primarily a product-centric, time and materials, professional services, cloud or managed services organization today?
Once you have determined your predominant business model, you can create alignment to adopt Telecom as a Telecom Service Provider and begin your transformation.
Along with developing the necessary strategic vendor partnerships and training your staff in the Telecom technologies and solutions you will deliver, in order to successfully adopt and integrate Telecom into your business profitably you will need to strengthen your capabilities to effectively market and sell Telecom Solutions.
Over time, as you grow your Telecom Practice and strengthen your marketing, sales and implementation capabilities and improve your financial profile, you can evolve your practice in a systematic manner to realize greater capabilities, capacities, revenues and profits.
In order to build a successful Telecom Practice, you will need to:
- Adopt Telecom Solutions into your own practice
- Identify your target market
- Determine your Telecom Services and Solutions
- Align yourself with Strategic Vendor Partners
- Get trained on marketing, selling, implementing and maintaining your Telecom Solutions
- Create your marketing plan and go to market
- Develop your consultative sales process
Adopt Telecom Solutions into Your Own Practice
There is no better way to share the benefits of your Telecom Solutions with your prospects and customers than through your own experience in using them. Your own use of these technologies and devices is a powerful subliminal testimonial that will build confidence and trust in your customers and accelerate their decision to adopt them into their own businesses.
Identify Your Target Market
Your target market should be comprised of prospects in your desired geographic area and vertical markets that can afford your solutions. In addition, there should be enough of them to support your sales opportunity goals, and they should have a pain or need that your Telecom Solutions can alleviate for them, such as cost savings, improved productivity, increased business continuity and employee and customer collaboration and improved customer service and service delivery, among others.
Targeting vertical markets that you specialize in can accelerate positive marketing and sales outcomes by leveraging your understanding of these business’ pains and needs, organizational structures, processes and workflows and network infrastructures and technologies in order to engage them more effectively.
Determine Your Telecom Services and Solutions
Your current predominant business model will dictate the ease with which you will be able to adopt and deploy, manage and maintain specific Telecom Services and Solutions for your customers. These may include Telecom Solution Architecture and Design Services, Telecom Device Management and required platform and device specializations.
Align Yourself with Strategic Vendor Partners
One of the most important activities you will conduct in transforming your business to adopt Telecom is the Vendor selection process.
There are several factors that can affect your partnering decisions for Telecom Vendors, including your predominant business model, the Telecom offerings that will comprise your service catalog, your partnering and training costs, your marketing and sales sophistication, your efficiencies in delivering Telecom Solutions and your Telecom Vendor’s compensation and commission plans.
Get Trained on Your Telecom Solutions
Whether you sell to the Small and Medium business or the Enterprise, you will work with your Strategic Vendor Partners; whose solutions you are representing, and enroll in their training programs, as well as identify and engage with other third-party organizations that can offer you the training and support to help you succeed.
Create Your Marketing Plan and Go to Market
By following these steps, you can develop a simple marketing plan for Telecom Solutions, and by executing it consistently, you will create a growing pipeline of prospects:
- Identify your target audience and obtain a good marketing list
- Develop your compelling marketing message
- Deploy that message to your target audience through a variety of vehicles, including postcards, email, your Website and phone calls to set appointments
- Create a schedule that is consistent and repeatable to include all of your marketing touches
- Don’t forget your existing customers – they are your warmest market
Once you are ready, you can execute your marketing plan and introduce your Telecom offerings to the market. As you perfect your Telecom practice and sell more solutions, you will increase your overall cash flow; improve your business valuation and financial profile, and provide a consistent revenue stream that will improve the overall health and stability of your business.
Develop Your Consultative Sales Process
The achievement of success in a more service-centric model such as Telecom requires unique skill sets centered on effective sales and long-term relationship-building and customer satisfaction techniques.
Improving your consultative sales sophistication by learning to sell Telecom Solutions more effectively over time will assist you in generating more sales in a shorter period of time, increasing immediate revenues as your closing ratios improve.
Perfecting your consultative sales process will accelerate you towards Trusted Advisor status, easing your way to additional solution sales with your customers.
The Business Case for Telecom Services
The business case for Telecom Services include the value these services provide to your prospects and customers, along with their tremendous need for these services.
Additional benefits include the ease of sale, implementation and ongoing maintenance for these services, as well as their recurring revenue pricing model that allows exponentially growing annuities to be realized over time as more and more customers are engaged for them.