The services and technologies telecom agents once specialized in have transformed. Phone services are a great example of this shift. With the popularity of VoIP and connected services, finding inefficiencies in phone bills is no longer an effective business model for agents.
So what is?
For agents, evolving into managed service providers is becoming more and more attractive. However, this move can take time and training. While adding offerings means increasing revenue streams, it also means adapting to reflect the shifted — and still shifting — tech landscape.
The Difficulty of Adding Managed Services
From the outside, the roles of telecom agent and managed IT services provider appear similar enough that the transition from one to the other seems easy. However, the sales cycle and required knowledge differ significantly. Telecom agents must commit to new educational efforts and explore their provider relationships to create value in a new relationship with clients.
In the more complex market of managed services, telecom agents must adjust to a longer sales cycle and different infrastructures. The result looks much more like an IT VAR, albeit a new role entirely.
The new relationship between telecom agent and client involves more preparation and decision-making:
- Telecom agents must understand an organization’s needs on a deeper level than simply lowering monthly bills.
- Agents must also understand Cloud and other technologies from the IT perspective as well as the client’s.
- A broader range of expenses must be considered, from quantifying server downtime to various maintenance expenses related to IT.
- Special concerns like security, compliance, and disaster recovery needs must be addressed.
Master Agents Bring Everything Together
Telecom master agents can help their partners enter the managed services game successfully with Cloud services and products like managed security and managed disaster recovery. For the agent, the transition feels new, but not unrelated —particularly with VoIP services replacing many traditional phone lines.
If a telecom agent only handles a client’s phone bill, the client can easily drop the agent at the end of the current contract. With VoIP offerings available for SMBs and enterprise alike, many organizations would take the contract’s end as a signal to find voice solutions from an IT service provider.
By empowering agents with the skills to manage more services, telecom master agents stay relevant and profitable. For the client, the value comes from finding agents with fruitful partnerships in both the telecom and IT sectors.
Partnerships Between Telecom Agents and IT Providers
Clients want seamless service that adds value. Ultimately, they do not need to concern themselves with whether a telecom agent or IT service provider delivers the products and services. While telecom agents have work cut out for themselves, IT providers can also use help in managing the customer relationship.[MM1] This creates a unique, new opportunity for partnerships between IT and telecom agents.
On the telecom side, agents can work with clients to discover the services needed and then turn to carrier connections and IT providers to supply the means. For the IT provider, business increases because telecom agents do plenty of legwork and assist with sales.
With the inevitability of change in the market, telecom agents need these methods of diversification and product updates to continue providing meaningful value for clients.
[MM1]I find these sentences to be a bit confusing. I am not sure what the writer is trying to say here, so I don’t feel comfortable revising. Maybe ask them to clarify?