It is the fourth quarter – time for the master agencies to hold their big shows. Microcorp, PlanetOne, and others have all held shows. The Agent Alliance held a learning summit in San Antonio. There has been one recurring theme. (Unfortunately, partners have been hearing this same tune for five long years.) The theme: you have to move up the stack and start selling conferencing, cloud, security and other manager services.
On the OSI Model, partners have sold Layer 2 and Layer 3 forever. They need to go up the stack towards Applications. Software is eating the world. Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen said that in 2011! It has proven true. However, Nvidia CEO says that while software is eating the world, AI is going to eat software!
This means that a large part of the corporate wallet will be software based. Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, SaaS, PaaS, IaaS and IOT will lead to Analytics, Data Storage, Data Quality and Security. It all ties in.
As the pricing for both voice and data continue a decline, the commission compression makes partners scramble and panic. In that mode, there isn’t the ability to re-think, innovate, strategize in order to transition to the next phase. But partners need to schedule some time to do so. Now!
One scary statistic from ScanSource: “The president of the ScanSource’s Worldwide Communications and Services business has since learned that the transition from transaction-based hardware deals to recurring revenue is often a slow, complicated process for many solution providers.” Wait, there’s more:
“You have to find some expertise there. You have to make the investment,” Baker told CRN . “We’re finding out from Intelisys that it takes a good bit of time. You might break even in 18 months, but you’re probably not going to see a return on your investment for about three years. That took me aback, to be honest with you.”
I have often figured that it was a 12 month plan. Now there is data that it takes 3 years to ROI! That is disheartening.
One thing that most companies do wrong – carriers and partners – is think that the same thinking that got us to here will get us to there. It won’t. Some people will not make the journey with you. You need buy-in from your employees that they are ready and willing to take the journey with you. YOU have to be ready, willing and able to lead that transition.
Cloud is a mindset. It is a different way of doing business. It is a new way of selling. No more pushing product or taking replacement orders; it’s time to put on the grown-up pants and Consultative Sell.
You aren’t late to the party. Despite the drum beat of cloud we hear. And PR like this from master agency, PlanetOne, gaining 22 percent more business than it did in 2016 due to “More partners are taking the initiative to learn about selling cloud services.”
Most of the revenue in the channel is still network, pipe, broadband and voice. But the race is on.
“Telecom agent partners for years have focused on selling connectivity and voice solutions, but the partners that are coming up with new game plans are reaping the rewards, Ted Schuman, PlanetOne’s founder and CEO said.”
You don’t have to know it all. Lean on the vendors. Lean on your master agencies. But you do have to learn how to sell, well, how to ask the Discovery questions that are needed to begin having conversations that aren’t about the pipe or the phone.
Webinar this Friday on that btw!
It’s 4Q, put a day (or at least 4 hours) on your calendar to review your business, your numbers, your customers. Think about what you can add to your portfolio. Take you top clients to coffee, lunch, dinner or breakfast to find out what they are worried about, what technology they are pondering. That is the next step in the transition that you need to start doing now.
Every year in December (12/15/2017), I present a Goal Setting webinar. I am also available to help you put a plan in place or talk it through with you. Call the office today at 813-963-5884 or schedule an appointment to speak with me.