Death of the Agent

Keynotes have been saying the channel is dying a long time — back to Boston CP Expo in 2015(?).  Channel Futures has an article about Agents and what they need to do to stay relevant HERE.

In this article, Schijns said the small agency will go the way of the VAR and Dodo BUT she also said “many small agencies will survive”??? Which is it? And this coming from someone who was going to #savethechannel?! (From what?)

The article gives perspective from a few partners (no idea why a consultant to vendors was giving input).  Jeter thinks Agents should become MSPs of a sort. That requires talent and capital and building out a managed services business. It also sounds like Jeter wants agents to rebill. Agents don’t have that BSS in place. Plus collections for telecom is a PITA!

Agents selling to Enterprise have access to budgets for project management and consulting. Even at mid-market – if you can prove your value – can tap into the budget for PM or consulting or management.

Enterprise orgs are used to hiring Consultants; but even those big firms are morphing. Have you seen how many companies Accenture has acquired in the last three years? 109 companies!

Agents in the real SMB space (under 300 employees), probably look at things differently than others. If those agents listen to their customers, they can see where the path is. But you have to have conversations with your customers. You have to be more than just the telco guy or the bandwidth slinger. You have to ask great questions! Provide Value! There are different ways to do that.

What should an Agent do? Consider this:

What segment of the market do you play in? S-M-E or other? Government? Verticals? All this plays a part in how this works out.

What part of the job do you like?

Can your TSB add some value for you? How about a peer? Or a strategic alliance with another type of company that has expertise to add to yours?

What do your customers want or need (but not know)?

Do you want to build a business with talent, systems, etc.? Would you rather partner or in some way contract for the talent and systems instead of building?

Is there a segment of emerging tech – AI, cybersec, quantum or edge computing, low code, etc. – that interests you?

What is holding you back? What hurdles get in your way?

Are you just hustling just to keep your head above water?

Need a sounding board to figure this out? Call me or another partner or your TSB or someone in your peer group or a mentor – and talk it out.


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