A good friend called me a "hat guy" yesterday. I guess I am. I haven’t always been, but in the past five years or so, I find myself always wearing a hat. I’ve got quite the collection now…always adding to it. Not ball-caps so much, although I do have my favorite of those, but i’m talking fedoras. Stylish, hip, bold…takes some courage to pull it off. That’s me. Its kind of become my signature….one of my differentiators.
I once asked a potential supplier, "What makes you different? What really makes you stand apart from all the others?" His response, "We try harder." Well that’s compelling.
Jay Bradley always reminds me, "better isn’t different, different is different." That’s always a struggle when I’m looking at new service providers…few are good at truly differentiating themselves from the masses.
The other day I found myself on yet another conference call with yet another provider, once again trying to explain how they were different from all the others. This guy meant well, knew a lot about his company, made some good points, but really struggled to articulate his real differentiator. Instead he gave me the list of 23 things they do better, and the zero things they do poorly. By the end of the call, the things he thought made his company different had all blended together into one constant hum…and it put me to sleep.
So what’s yours? Have you done the hard work of boiling it down to the essentials?
Jay Bradley made that investment a number of years ago as he led Intelisys to really decide what made us different…truly different. Intelisys is a lot of things, but more than anything, we are the home to the channel’s top performing partners. Clear. Simple. Indisputable.
And to that, I tip my hat.
When the first discovery of gold was confirmed in 1848, people from all around began flocking to California to try their luck at striking it rich. What was later named “The Gold Rush” attracted tens of thousands looking for gold nuggets that could be picked up off the ground, and later found in streams and riverbeds.
In present day, “The Cloud” phenomenon has increased exponentially, and more vendors than ever before are moving beyond the cloud hype and are aggressively pushing cloud based services. After years of limited IT budgets, the Cloud is fast becoming the new Gold Rush.
As a telecom agent, what is your responsibility in the adaptation of Cloud based offerings? Here are three roles you might play:
Facilitator- Your role as the facilitator is to act as an intermediary between the cloud services customer and the vendors of these services. In this case you may simply be saving the purchaser time by researching services from a variety of vendors, and providing the customer with information about how to use cloud computing to support their business goals.
Negotiator- As a telecom agent you might also be hired to negotiate contracts with cloud providers on behalf of the customer. Here you are given permission to distribute services across multiple vendors in an effort to be as cost-effective as possible, in spite of any complexity that negotiations with multiple vendors might involve.
Non-partisan consultant – Customers in the market for new phone or internet service regularly reach out to telecom agents for an expert, non-biased opinion. As a telecom agent you have a broad understanding of the market and how technology solution providers compare to one another. You aren’t locked into selling only one vendor’s service and can recommend the best solution for the customer regardless of price.
Regardless of your role, vendors and customers alike are rushing toward the cloud. It is your job, as the telecom agent, to be prepared and educated enough to fill any need your customer has in regards to the new Gold Rush. Take your chance at striking it rich!
Have you filled other roles in the adaptation of cloud based services? Did we miss anything relating to the new Gold Rush? Feel free to leave your comments below.
No one likes to be last, so step up to the line, set your feet, and when the gun goes off be ready to out run the rest. If you warm up, equip yourself with the right gear, and keep steady and focused, a first place finish in is your future.
The gun has gone off, and “Cloud” is no longer just a buzz word in the industry. It has become a living, breathing craze, growing increasingly more popular with customers every day. New cloud-based solutions are coming on the scene and it is imperative that telecom agents are adapting and evolving with these new business models in an effort to stay relevant in the industry. Ask these 3 questions to stay ahead of the rest in the Cloud race:
With the cloud bubble still on the cusp of popping, you have a great opportunity to perfect your role as it relates to cloud-based solutions and as your customer’s trusted advisor. To stay relevant in the industry today educate yourself about the cloud and cross the finish line confidently.
Are you selling a cloud based solution? What questions do you have about the cloud? Leave your comments below.
We wanted to pass along some exciting news regarding the IT space and how things are changing. We typically do not talk about ourselves (Intelisys) at all on this blog. It really isn’t about us…we’ve started this site to provide value and guidance to the telecom agent community.
As such, we recently held a symposium of IT business leaders to better understand their businesses, their fears, and how we can better partner together to all achieve more as the face of both industries continues to change.
The result was truly eye-opening, and we learned so much. We are grateful for all the people who took time out to participate and share their ideas.
CRN was there to capture the main points, so we wanted to pass along their coverage of the event. Please click on the links below for more information, and stay tuned as we bring more similar events to cities near you.
When selling telecom services, you may still encounter customers who are confused by “the Cloud.” It’s a hot buzzword, but many still don’t understand what it is or what it means to their businesses.
Ironically, they are probably already using several “Cloud” services and just don’t know it. Here are a few examples of common Cloud services that you can use when explaining what Cloud technology could mean for their business telecom services.
CDs to MP3s and iTunes
Perhaps one of the best analogies for explaining the Cloud is the transition that has occurred with music. It used to be that you had to buy an artist’s entire CD (or tape or record), even if you only wanted a song or two off the album. You also had to drive to the music store, purchase the CD and put it in your CD player.
Now, with MP3s and services like iTunes, you can download exactly what you want and nothing more. The music is housed “in the Cloud” and can be accessed from anywhere – your PC, mobile device, etc. There’s no more hassle of driving to a store, spending money on songs you don’t want, and having to store CD cases.
There are very similar parallels between music and telecom as both have evolved to the Cloud. Gone are the days where it is necessary to own a large amount of expensive equipment and store it inside offices.
Dropbox is another great way to explain the benefits of Cloud services. Dropbox is a file storage and backup service that allows multiple people to quickly and easily share all kinds of files.
Since the files are maintained “in the Cloud,” you can access them from any web-compatible device. And if something happens to your computer, your files are safe. This is an excellent way to illustrate disaster recovery services.
The evolution that profoundly affected how music is bought and shared has now found its way over to movies as well. Gone are the days of movie rental stores on every corner or owning a large collection of DVDs.
Now movie lovers belong to services like Netflix, Hulu, and Apple TV where they can access a variety of movies and television shows on demand. And many cable providers are catching on and offering on-demand movies as well.
Once again, this is a common illustration of a transition from premise-based equipment to Cloud-based services. It’s happening all around us, even if we don’t necessarily recognize it or call it “Cloud.” It’s all the same concept.
Anything we missed here? What analogies to you use to help your customers and prospects better understand the Cloud? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.
With over 120 million business professionals on LinkedIn, it would be silly to ignore this free tool to improve your business. LinkedIn can help you with prospecting, staying up to date on technology trends, and establishing yourself as an expert. Get started by focusing on the social in social networking and becoming involved with the top telecom forums.
Channel Partners (formerly Phone +) is the leader in providing indirect sales agents with news, tools and educational resources. Use this forum to stay connected with other telecom agents and the editor of Channel Partners Magazine herself, Khali Henderson.
The formatting of ChannelVision Magazine might be a bit of a nightmare, but their forum on LinkedIn is a solid resource for technology and telecom-related stories. The editor of the magazine, Martin Vilaboy, finds tme to lead discussions and answer questions. Join in to share your opinion on top industry topics.
The name of this forum says it all. Whether you like it or not, cloud computing remains the industry’s buzzword. Even after it wears down among the experts, clients will still have plenty of questions. Stay up to date with the cloud and virtualization here.
This one is a great one for establishing your expertise in the industry. Many users post questions rather than articles. With thoughtful answers to a few of these questions, you’ll not only help your peers, you’ll become a trusted resource.
These are only a few of the Telecom forums on LinkedIn. Utilize the group search to find more specific topics. Whether your focus is currently on IaaS, Hosted VoIP, or disaster recovery, you’re bound to find a group catered to your company. If not, go ahead and start your own. What are your favorite Telecom forums?