Intelisys knows this has been a very difficult winter for most of the country. With ice storms and sub-zero temperatures knocking out services and communications, thousands of businesses are experiencing losses. As I am writing this, another storm is heading to the Southeast, and it’s forecasted to move up to my area. So once again, and over the next several days, thousands of businesses may lose millions of dollars in time and assets due to outages. However, the good news is that many of these losses and hours of downtime can be avoided with some IT and communications services planning. To better ensure uptime and productivity during these storms and natural disasters,here are three technologies to consider.
Desktop as a Service (DaaS) can be leveraged to overcome outages. For those of you not familiar with DaaS/VDI, the technology moves the desktop operating system into the cloud and streams the desktop out to any device running a small agent. Why is this valuable in a power outage? Accessing individual files and applications consumes a lot of bandwidth, while streaming desktop images uses a much smaller amount. With lower bandwidth requirements I can run my full desktop and access my corporate data over my cell phone. So when the power goes out, I’m able to switch from my cable modem to my cell phone and I’m back in business. During Hurricane Sandy I worked like this for over a week. Some of the companies to look to when considering this solution include Matrix, Evolve IP, RapidScale and NaviSite.
Colocation and Virtual Servers
If your customers are still housing their data onsite or in a low tier data center, now is a great time to talk to them about moving to the cloud or a colocation facility. Data center providers such as Savvis, ServerCentral, Internap or Telx can provide customers with highly redundant facilities which include power, data connectivity, and cooling. The peace of mind which comes from having higher levels of uptime due to this redundancy, especially during these winter storms, is immeasurable.
Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is another technology which can help your customers “weather the storm.” Even if your customer can not move everything to the cloud, a good DRaaS is a sound strategy and a great first step. Companies such as Green Cloud, Windstream and RapidScale provide solutions which enable companies to back up virtual images of their servers to the cloud. Then in the case of an outage, those virtual images can be quickly and easily turned on to ensure business continuity during sustained power failures or when access to locations becomes challenging.
As we have done in the past, we will make it through this storm! But times like these do make us pause to think about and consider better ways to protect our businesses from the impact of unpredictable, yet inevitable disasters. What I have shared with you is just a few ways Intelisys can help you and your customers plan and be prepared for the next big one. Because, in the end, it is Mother Nature who has the ultimate say. We just need to prepare for her!
Be Safe and Be Warm!
Successful telecom agents make a living solving their clients’ communication problems. Whether it’s providing more reliable service, adding functionality, or lowering costs, for telecom agents to be successful, they must add value to the client. They have to do something else, too: They have to convince the client to let them help. There are six secrets that successful telecom agents harness to help turn prospects into clients.
Before discussing the six secrets, there is one additional thing that all telecom agents must do before they ever sit down with a client. They must prepare by getting to know the client and their needs before ever sitting down with the client. The more that agents know about the client, the more they can tailor their approach and focus on using the six secrets effectively.
1. Create a sense of obligation. Without being pushy, successful agents guide their prospects to feel like they owe them the business. Doing free work like conducting a survey of an existing telecommunications system can be a way to create this sense of obligation.
2. Make prospects fear loss. If there’s no urgency to the sale, it’s hard to motivate a prospect to move forward. However, if the prospect feels like he or she may lose the opportunity to purchase the service, the client is more likely to strike while the proverbial iron is still hot.
3. Demonstrate value. Prospects respond to telecommunications agents that demonstrate their credibility through professionalism or through sharing specialized and valuable knowledge.
4. Make clients commit. Telecom agents who can get a prospect to agree to work with them before they actually close them for the business are much more likely to convert the opportunity into booked business. Techniques such as trial closing are especially useful in accomplishing this step.
5. Be a safe choice. Prospects prefer to work with agents and companies that are already working with similar companies to them. Presenting testimonials and lists of existing clients helps to make one’s offerings look like a safe and accepted choice.
6. Be likable. The old adage that people do business with people they like still holds true. Telecom agents who are are personable and who prospects can relate to are usually more successful at closing business.
LinkedIn continues to grow into a robust social network that can be leveraged for lead generation and lead nurturing. LinkedIn is connecting business professionals from all over the world in nearly every industry, and those that take advantage of its potential watch their network grow, increase company awareness and drive leads.
Many telecom agents only see LinkedIn as a way to connect with people they already interact with in their network. They often overlook the true potential found within LinkedIn that can help grow their business, create more leads and position them as an online leader within the telecom industry.
By spending a small amount of time each week in LinkedIn and committing to growing their presence on LinkedIn, telecom agents can do a lot more than simply add people they already know to their professional network.
Here are five tips on how to optimize LinkedIn for lead generation:
- Update your personal and company’s statuses with announcements and industry news to attract followers
- Add keywords and phrases that represent the telecom industry, products and services to optimize your pages for SEO
- Add each of your products and services and ask your network for recommendations for each one on your company page
- Create a LinkedIn Group to start discussions around the telecom industry’s hot topics, create polls, and post company career openings
- Integrate LinkedIn within everything you do – your website, e-mail newsletters, blog, etc.
By following these five steps, your presence on LinkedIn will grow significantly and can turn followers into brand advocates, which can position your company to appear when a prospective buyer is searching for the products and services your company offers.
What are you doing to increase awareness on LinkedIn? Anything you want to add? Please share your comments below.
The business environment today is all about how to make your message heard above the rest. Telecom agents are always looking for ways to maintain a competitive advantage and to be able to connect with customers and potential customers, creating personal connections.
Online video continues to rise in popularity and indicators point to telecom agents embracing online video as an essential marketing tool. Online video is expected to grow significantly more than email marketing, search engine marketing, and display ads.
Video adds a new dimension to your marketing efforts. If a telecom agent uses videos of themselves communicating their message, they are able to utilize humor, physical expression, and eye-contact adding another layer of personalization.
Using video turns a static message into a dynamic, interactive experience. Video requires the audience to use more of their senses making the message unforgettable. Video can do and communicate a number of different things including:
• Educate your customers and prospects with product demonstrations
• Show your services, solutions and products in action
• Be proactive with customer service
• Train clients remotely
• Expand your audience beyond your local geographical area
Telecom agents who use video to promote their brand are adding a human element to their marketing strategy. Using videos encourages engagement with their brand and in an industry where relationships are key it is a very important aspect of video marketing. Videos are more cost effective and provide a much more valuable and memorable experience for the end-user.
Are you using video connect with your audience on another level? Did we miss anything? Share your comments below.
YouTube is the #1 video sharing platform and #2 search engine in the world, next to Google. Over two billion videos are being viewed and shared across the world each day, yet many
Telecom Agents don’t take advantage of YouTube’s massive global audience.
As a Telecom Agent you would be doing yourself a disservice by not utilizing YouTube to your online marketing advantage. YouTube is a unique way to capture your audience’s attention and improve your brand awareness. Here are the top four reasons why you need a YouTube Channel today:
1. YouTube is Universal
Online video has become the most engaging form of content on the internet. If you are not using a YouTube Channel to make the most of this worldwide popularity, then you are missing out on a huge interactive audience of potential prospects.
2. Be a Thought Leader
Telecom Agents have been slower to adopt YouTube as an online marketing medium. Give yourself an advantage over your competitors by being at the forefront of this media adoption. By embracing new technologies you show clear thought leadership in the telecom space.
3. Viral Video Potential
Viral video exists because of YouTube. YouTube offers the potential for overnight recognition that transcends countries, cultures and industries. YouTube users share videos and interact on social media networks to generate massive viewership and increased awareness.
4. It’s Free
Whether you want to use it for personal or business use, YouTube Channels are completely free. This should fit into any Telecom Agent’s marketing budget!
YouTube has the ability to provide Telecom Agents with a unique online marketing advantage. It assists in improving brand awareness and personal thought leadership to a worldwide audience. In addition, it is free. There is no reason not to have your own YouTube Channel, so why wait?
Are you using a YouTube Channel as an online marketing tool? Anything you want to add? Please share your comments below.
Email marketing is an important tool, but the competition for your readers’ attention is constantly growing. So, how do you differentiate yourself as an agent and provide your subscribers with unique value all in one email? Personalize your messages, give them some personality, and have a purpose.
Consider segmenting your email distribution lists and creating different emails for each list. Most third-party email marketing systems allow you to assign your subscribers to an infinite amount of lists. You could separate your clients by industry, company size, stage in the buying process, etc. Creating multiple messages will be more time consuming, but your messages will be more targeted and effective.
As with social media, it’s important to be consistent with your brand’s voice in your email marketing. Decide whether you want your company’s tone to come across as purely professional or a little bit quirky. Keep in mind that as a telecom agent, you are a trusted adviser for your clients. Don’t be afraid to express some personality in your messaging, but do know your boundaries.
The goal of your email marketing messages is to promote your company – but do so in unexpected ways. Your readers can tell when you’re sending out an email just to get in front of them, so make sure every email is created with purpose. Running out of ideas for content? Include recent case studies and to illustrate how you have helped solved problems in other companies. Talk about technology you use in your own company. Discuss news about the carriers you represent what might affect clients. Share articles by other writers that your clients might find interesting or helpful.
Subscribe to some of your competitors’ email distribution lists and pay attention to messages from companies from other industries. Emulate the things you like and avoid the things you don’t. As a telecom agent, you are hopefully passionate about the industry. Express that in your writing. If you are bored by your content, it’s likely that your readers will be, too.
What have you done with your email marketing that was a big hit? Any major misses?