11 February 2016
The telecommunications reseller market is attracting new players. In particular IT sellers who, seeing a lucrative and exciting business opportunity, are expanding and adding systems like cloud-hosted telephony to their current product portfolio. Attracted by the 74% of businesses who believe that their customer service would improve if their networks did, these new resellers think they can make the difference – and make margin.
New entrants joining an already busy marketplace can be a cause for concern to established players. But equally the move by IT resellers into telecommunications can be the spur for traditional, experienced, telecoms resellers to up their offer, re-motivate their staff and push their sales operation to the next level.
The way to service success for channel partners is through maximising your staff resources, ensuring that your systems are up-to-date and that your service offer is as good as it can be. In other words, people, process and potential.
In February 2015, various digital tech sector roles were added to the UK’s Shortage Occupation List. Quite simply there are not enough people with the right skills to fulfil the growing need for tech selling, installing, aftercare and expertise.
Experienced telecommunications channel partners should be aware of this staff shortage for two reasons. Firstly because it may be harder to look for the best new staff during periods of expansion. And secondly because you may well find existing staff coveted and lured away by new competitors, many of whom will be looking to bring in experienced operators.
The best way to maintain a good staff retention rate is by embracing the latest tech selling trends, such as SIP trunking. This ensures that sales and support staff are constantly challenged and motivated. Working with your provider to offer a high level of training also means that key employees never feel like there is a better offer elsewhere.
One of the advantages of being an experienced telecoms reseller is that your billing and operational capabilities will be well-embedded within the organisation. But by not utilising the latest updates and developments it is all too easy to allow things to slip.
Once again, use your provider to ensure that there are no holes in your processes, particularly when it comes to matters that affect continuing customer relationships, like billing and aftercare.
If your provider is not bringing you up to speed with the latest developments in back-end systems (and offering high quality training to the staff who will use them), then it may be time to seek another supplier relationship.
How has the telecommunications market advanced since your company first moved in? And have you kept up-to-date with the latest products?
The reason that IT resellers are looking at cloud-hosting is because it is a future-ready product that allows them to sell bundle offers with other specialist IT services. Experienced telecoms channel partners not offering a cloud service are set to lose out on good business opportunities, particularly with the thousands of potential customers that need scalable telephony (to put that in context, some IT resellers are selling 100 hosted seats within months of taking on the service).
But it is not all about keeping up with the new crowd. Traditional telecommunications channel partners are far better able than newcomers to sell systems like SIP trunking.
SIP – with its myriad of benefits around reliability, cost and number flexibility – is the system many larger scale businesses will almost certainly be looking to adopt. And with your experience in phone supply, you are the best equipped to provide it.
The key is to ensure that your provider is giving you the support, training and advice to sell the biggest and best portfolio of services you can.
During the coming years channel partners should expect the marketplace to become busier than ever before. But with the skills, resources and product knowledge already in-house, twinned with the right provider, you should see it as an opportunity to grow. As such you’ll take on more business from that 74% and solidify your place at the top of the telecoms tree.
11 February 2016 | Justin Coombes
The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.