3 Scenarios to Re-tool

The transactional agent or sales rep who has been selling replacement services for years. Doesn’t matter if it long distance, SIP trunking, broadband or some other seeming commodity if the sales rep or agent has a history selling these products, getting them to sell more complex offerings like SD-WAN, UCaaS, CCaaS and so much more will require re-tooling.

You will need to re-tool the sales comp plan to specifically set it for the new goals. (This too will re-tool your sales team as some partners, CMs and reps will leave in the wake of a comp change like that. Yet this is the step needed to put a sales org in place for where the company and its portfolio is going.)

There will need to be heavy sales training and product training, which we have gotten away from. Too many businesses assume that a new sales rep will know enough to hit the ground running. The company they just joined has different policies, procedures, ordering, quoting, service delivery, SLA, comp plan, product portfolio, value prop, etc. For example, BroadWorks sold at one SP may rely on R16 of the software, while another SP is running R22. Quite a few significant differences in just that with the same softswitch, let alone how the SP has decided to package it, sell it, price it and deliver it. But who is training your employees on this annually?

In the same light that transactional sales reps and partners need re-tooling to sell solutions, the same can be said of channel managers. Some sales reps and CMs get hired for their Rolodex, with the company thinking that it will get some quick sales out of that hire via the contacts (rolodex). This thinking happens when the Necessities are missing – like Target, ideal customer, ideal partner, value prop. The hiring manager believes that anyone can use the product like it was soap or milk. That thinking is flawed because Ivory soap used to be the number bar soap sold in the US for years. Where is it now? It was the top loss leader product to get shoppers into grocery stores. Today, the soap aisle looks very different. Even milk isn’t for everyone unless you sell many varieties of milk like whole, oat, lactose-free, fat-free, almond, et al. So it is unlikely that any company’s service offering is for Everyone.

Like the sales rep – or any employee – the channel manager has to learn the ins and outs of each product, the procedures, processes, service delivery, value prop, as well as employees in various departments like porting, tech support and billing, since partners rely on a CM for everything associated with the vendor.

Another point is that if the CM has been working for transactional companies, there will be an adjustment period that coincides with re-tooling (training and coaching) to get the CM on the path to success. Signing some on-boarding paperwork and logging on to a portal isn’t the going to help your goal reach its sales goals.

In North America there are over 2000 companies offering UCaaS – it might be 2800 with all the service providers of every stripe who white label – all chasing the same market (10-1000 employees) with roughly the same features. So why would they buy from you? What makes you special? Who benefits the most from your service?

We have gotten away from researching who benefits the most (and how); of who the buyer is now; and what is the buying process. Basically marketing has become solely about lead generation without the fundamentals even being looked at. Marketing doesn’t just need a re-tool, it needs a reality check.

Scenario 2 is around the old PBX partners (inter-connects). It is not just mindset that gets in the way of them selling cloud comms; it is the business model. I have written about this before. The partner has labor costs associated with the PBX business that is expensive. The business has to maintain sales in order to retain its coveted partner status with the vendor – or lose support, MDF, discounts, etc. of the main revenue stream.

When your business is based on a $40K hardware sale, it is a long haul to run your business off of $1000 UCaaS deals even with $500 SD-WAN and cable combos thrown in. The commission on that is $250 per month, which is less than 1% of the old sale. The vendor SPIFF is Necessary in order to pay sales people, meet payroll, make up for lack of a professional services sale, etc.

The business model needs a re-tool with a business and comp plan in place to steer the company to MRR and cloud comms. It takes a plan because the business will need a runway and an C-Suite desire to see it through.

SPIFFs are often scoffed at. Some claim it is just buying business, but if that math works out isn’t that okay? Also, unless you have a branded in-demand product (currently that would be Zoom and Microsoft Teams), getting creative with sales comp might be okay. Take a page from auto sales or pharmaceutical sales!

If the the vendor isn’t going to spend dollars on creating demand or building a brand, then SPIFFs, MDFs and contests are what remains to get noticed.


  • Scenario 1 is transactional partners/sales reps/CMs.
  • Scenario 2 is hardware business model.
  • Scenario 3 is marketing dollars.
Scroll to Top