Ensuring your carrier services initiative succeeds

One of the biggest challenges new communications agents face is integrating what is essentially a different business into their existing business models. Intuitively it would seem to make sense for, say, a Cisco partner to offer bandwidth with the routers, or SIP trunks with a Call Manager system. The reality, though, is that these organizations will likely focus on their core business versus soliciting and managing carrier services.

FocusI've talked before about why it makes sense strategically for IT services companies to incorporate carrier services into their business offerings. Many have tried, but are falling short of their production goals. Why? In most cases, it's all about focus.

Successful companies achieve that success by focusing — concentrating their efforts on what they do well. IT service companies are no different. They hire salespeople who know the product lines inside and out, engineers with experience and certifications, and support staff that keep their customers satisfied.

The problem is that carrier services don't fit especially well into that infrastructure. The complexities of carrier services are foreign to the salespeople. The technical knowledge necessary to recommend and support carrier services isn't usually part of an IT engineer's skill set.

All in all, carrier services are a whole different animal altogether.

Option 1: Build a carrier services team from scratch.

In a perfect world, an IT services company interested in offering carrier services would hire communications-centric engineers, salespeople, and support staff; essentially building a new business division.

The advantage of this option is that you have total control over the division's performance or lack thereof. You can directly supervise their progress and facilitate the IT sales team's ability to hand off carrier services opportunities. Internalizing your carrier services business will also allow the organization to maximize your commissions given you are responsible for the majority of the sales lifecycle.

The downside? Investing a fair amount of money for several months before the ROI begins to materialize. Depending on the success of your initiative, it could be 18-24 months before the full return begins to hit the bottom line.

Option 2: Outsource your carrier services team.

If that kind of ROI timeline freaks you out, the other option is to outsource the carrier services team to a master agent like us. In that scenario, you have access to a turn-key infrastructure of experienced engineers, salespeople, and support professionals.

Certainly, you would earn lower commissions, but the corresponding lack of overhead allows those commissions drop right to your bottom line. Then, should you choose to do so, when the commissions stream hits a certain threshold you could build an in-house team paid for on day one.

The outsourced model requires your entire team to commit to the strategy and to gain a strong understanding of how to integrate with us. Agreed-upon procedures must be developed, rules of engagement have to be set for for pursuing opportunities within your existing client base, and incentives must be put in place to motivate your team to cooperate.

Both options require focus.

The common thread within those two options is focus. Without management's focus on and commitment to the larger strategy, or without the buy-in of the organization at large, you'll end up with a good idea that never gets executed. Neither option is a path to quick revenues. Both require long-term attention and dedication.

There is a system that will work for you.

Regardless of the direction you choose to go, there is no reason why any IT services company can't improve their profitability by double-digit percentages by incorporating carrier services into their solution. Carrier services are a natural technical fit. As the go-to people for everything technical, IT service companies are in a position to recommend carrier services effectively. And let's face it, who does your customer call first when something goes down? You're the first-line point of service. You might as well be earning commission for it.

If you want to learn more about how we can help you to establish a successful carrier services division, get in touch with us and tell us a little about your business. We'll help you figure out a way not to leave that money on the table.

We're a comprehensive technology infrastructure company providing network and cloud services, management and support solutions, and professional services to our partners and clients.

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