Peter Radizeski is Founder and President of RAD-INFO INC. He is an accomplished blogalyst, speaker, author and consultant. He has helped many service providers with sales training, marketing, channel development and business strategy. He is a trusted source of knowledge about the telecom sector. His honest and direct approach make him a refreshing speaker.

Look for his innovative ideas and analysis of current technology on his blogs.

Meet him at one of the many conferences he attends and speaks at.

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This isn’t the New Normal

Lots of talk about this – right here, right now – being the “New Normal”. Not to be the bucket of water, but we have not peaked in this pandemic yet. We have not felt the full effects of this virus yet.

Everyone is suggesting that people will continue to work at home. No they will NOT. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Shitty or no broadband at home.
  • No room to work from home.
  • Doesn’t want to or unable to work from home
  • Managers can barely manage workers they can see, let alone manage remote workers.
  • Does everyone think commercial leases will just dry up?
  • Culture.
  • Lack of training on tools like Collab prevent good collab.
  • I could go on!

Some folks may enjoy it and want to continue working from home – at least a couple of times a week.

Personally, I am seeing every platform – GoToMeeting, Zoom, UberConference, FreeCC, et al – buckle under the strain. Freezing screens, crashes, and the like. Newbies are not enjoying that at all.

The residential network of voice and broadband are not made for most people to work from home – as we are now witnessing.

HOAs are clamping down on people working from home by reminding residents of the commercial clauses in their agreements. That’s nice, huh?

People in our industry are certainly hopeful that the UC&C seats sold in the last 2 months remain in place, but a percentage (half?) will bounce back to the office.

Right now, these tools are in a free trial. When businesses open back up to full capacity and look at the invoices – and then see how many customers they lost – that’s when the New Normal will hit. Here in Tampa we are already seeing small businesses close for good.

On a call today, a TEM expert reminded the group that no one is checking the P&L right now. They are fire fighting to stay alive. After that settles down, they will go back to the P&L sheet with a red pen. Then we will see.

I won’t even get into the ripple effect of the Stimulus bill’s $2 Trillion spend; state, county and city tax losses; government budget short falls; and bankruptcies of small businesses and people that is sure to follow. This will have an immense effect on consumer spending (which powers our economy), consumer confidence and business behavior.

Conferences Off Till July

Tech conferences have been cancelled through July. Some have postponed. Many have cancelled. A few went virtual.

The main reason we attend conferences is to network; the second reason is to learn.

In the current environment, webinar invites are increasing in my inbox. SSDD on that, really.

I have been joining virtual happy hours, hangouts and virtual coffee breaks – not any webinars. I like the short respites to see and interact with others in the industry. No real agenda. Just a get together to share tips and thoughts.

COLOTRAQ has a virtual coffee break every Thursday at 3:15 PM Eastern time. (Join here).

Microcorp has one every Tues & Thursday at 9 am Eastern time (Join here).

I don’t think partners are worrying about when the next conference will be. I think most are just worried – about the well being of themselves, their families, their co-workers and clients. Many are worried about their business – and whether or not it will survive.

In these times, I think jumping on a virtual coffee break to speak to others in a similar situation – and maybe have a laugh – is healthy and welcome. And, hey, if you need to reach out to someone just to chat or even vent, please call me. I’ll do my best to listen and maybe make you laugh.

Tips for Channel Managers (COVID19 ep2)

From a LinkedIn update I wrote last week: “In sales? Are you a channel manager? Don’t know what to do? Call people and just ask them how they are doing. It is that simple. (But you have to actually mean it or don’t bother). All about being Human right now. Invite folks to a virtual happy hour or coffee break. Teach people how to use the tools we have been selling for years! (Now is the time!) And of course wash your hands and stay home. Thanks for listening.”

One of my clients shared it channel wide. I figured I would share my follow up tips for CMs (and others in sales) here.

Remember, right now partners are hearing much bad news: COVID19 updates, ransomware attacks, outages, congestion, blah blah blah. They are also helping users with getting set up with WFH tools for free. Sales are stalled.

A few follow up/contact ideas:

(1)  I know you are hearing a lot of bad news right now, what can we do to help?  [Do you have any resources the partner can leverage?]

(2) if you know the partner well,  share a cartoon (or some humor) to offset the bad news right now. Or invite them to ESPN’s fantasy college basketball .

(3) Invite them to a 10 minute virtual coffee with another partner. Everyone wants to hear how others are doing (so they don’t feel alone). Be the Connector! I have been doing video chats with handfuls of partners a couple of times a week just to hear what the market level set is.

(4) Share a podcast you like or a poll about shows to binge during a pandemic. Be Human!

(5) Share a win! If you just sold a solution that had impact (not cost savings, but impact), share it!

Good time to connect and build

If you want a copy of the first chapter of my new book – Channel Sales Enablement – just email me for a copy.

What the Secret to CPaaS?

A few weeks ago I did a call with Pete Davis of Panterra Networks and Sean Kane from Intelepeer joined us as we talked about the secret to CPaaS. You can listen or download it from Google Drive.

The secret sauce to CPaaS isn’t just dial-tone with SMS but to add to the 800 toll-free number. It is a way to enhance the toll-free number and sales.

There are a number of use cases for CPaaS (see here at Intelepeer) like bill reminders, get customer feedback, employ self-serve options, and send out password notifications (especially Now!).

There are a few healthcare uses such as empowering telehealth. During our current health crisis, this is a very important pivot for doctors, therapists and other healthcare providers.

CPaaS can help institute two-factor authentication. (Telestax use cases)

CPaaS is probably best known for being the engine behind Uber and Lyft (and other sharing economy apps). Besides SMS and chatbots there are ways small businesses can leverage CPaaS to improve business and the customer experience.

Take a listen to the call HERE.

Headwinds of UCaaS

As the pandemic sweeps the globe, Zoom turned up 600K new seats this month. Slack surged in paid users. Most UC&C providers have offered free trials and other things to get users on-board.

I was asked on a conf call what I thought would happen. On one hand, this is the moment that UCaaS has been waiting for. However, conversion will be tough.

Every platform – from Microsoft to Zoom to 8×8 – experienced some glitches in the face of this surge — so did the broadband networks that were not built for people to actually want/need/use the advertised speed. In the face of glitches and no training, will users pay for the new platform going forward? We don’t know.

My best guess is: the money is in the training.

  • If people just use Zoom for a few 3-way video calls, then Facetime wins.
  • If people just use Teams for chat, then WhatsApp and SMS win.
  • If people use RC/8×8/Vonage/UCaaS for voice replacement, then the PBX wins.

If the UC&C provider want to keep these customers around, they have to get them trained and show them how to make productivity gains with the service. They have to show people how to team build virtually; how to sustain culture online instead around the water cooler.

For the longest time, UCaaS was sold as dial-tone replacement. This past month it has become the DR/BC solution that folks hoped it would. BUT to keep these users from going back to business as usual, the push for training and tips and mobile has to be now.

Zoom has a good blog that shows how to add backgrounds, do virtual team building and more. Zoom has been hacked so users can loop a video that shows them paying attention. Zoom needs to push these things out to the users so that they become paying customers. So does every other provider. The money is in user adoption.