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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Channel Manager Tip #47

After an order is complete with a partner – new, old or renewed – ask for feedback. The organization may not take feedback, but your partner will appreciate it.

Often partners get a bad taste in their mouth during an order. Better to know what it is than to have to guess why the partner is ducking you.

If it is positive feedback, ask if there are any other customers like the last one that your services can be introduced to.

If it is negative, is it resolvable?

Reminder: as a CM, your customer is the Partner!

Mid-Summer’s Musings (Part 2)

If you haven’t read part one, start there.

The UC market in North America is less than 25 percent penetrated and the Cloud Contact Center (CCC) market is less than 15%. Despite 17 years of effort on the part of 2000+ providers.

Avaya has a huge customer base (100M+ UC seats and 5.5M contact center seats) that have yet to migrate to the cloud.

NEC has over 80 million business users worldwide, NEC is in the top three globally for installed unified communications seats, and ranks No. 1 for global line shipments over the past 3 quarters. [source]

Mitel has 3.2 million seats, most of which have not gone cloud.

183M premise based seats!!!! That is just 3 PBX manufacturers. There are many users still captured on Cisco Call Manager and HCS as well as outdated PBX from extinct manufacturers.

The Big Question: Do these customers migrate to the cloud with the same PBX vendor or do they RFP it?

The next question: What is the incentive for the sales reps for these legacy companies to migrate users to the cloud when they are certainly making money on them now? Follow up: Do these reps even have the skills to sell a cloud solution after years of pushing boxes?

On the Buyers’ Side:

When users move, do they want to get another best-of-breed solution like they did when they purchased Mitel/NEC/Avaya 15 years ago? Will they migrate to separate UC and CCC vendors? Or will they choose a platform – such as 8×8, RingCentral, Nextiva, Dialpad, Vonage or Intermedia? Or do they go Microsoft Teams and a Cloud Contact Center? There is a lot of choice now in the marketplace. Way more than there was ten years ago.

In addition, do these buyers now desire an Agent focused, Call Center specific vendor – like Genesys, NICE Incontact, Serenova/Lifesize or Five9? Or do they want a more general purpose built platform for communicating with customers, prospects, vendors, employees that also allows for contact center ability in various departments like accounts receivable, customer care and support? That is where the sector is going – either agent-centric or ecosystem.

Even the ecosystem model allows for build it yourself with Salesforce, Amazon, Twilio and Vonage and a devops team.

Extra Tidbits:

Zoom revenue has grown 272% in the first six months of its fiscal year. $ZM is up 397% over the past year and now worth nearly $130 billion.

Dialpad acquired HighFive (video conferencing) to add to Dialpad, its contact center and its UberConference platforms.

The entire addressable fixed broadband market in the U.S. is well over than 100 million subscribers, 40% of which get their connectivity from Comcast. FastCo

Sales Tip Number 1

A white label VoIP provider has called on me a number of times over the past four years. The latest exchange is why I am writing a blog post about the Number 1 Sales Tip for Cold Calls.

I looked the company up on LinkedIn. They have 31 employees on there and most of them are in sales. That makes me wonder if they actually run a “global dial-tone platform” since you would need some engineers and network folks. Yet if most of your people are in sales, shouldn’t the company be running on a CRM? I sure hope it isn’t ACT! running on Win 95!

How do they not have a history of contact with me? Or the fact that I have expressed to them a number of times that I don’t white label anything.

Yesterday I received a snarky email from them. I replied snarky: “Name one of my blogs and I will have a chat with you.” Apparently, the sales guy didn’t understand that he could Google me and find that info in two minutes. And that is the lesson right there: DO SOME RESEARCH!

We live in a digital world. It is rare someone has zero digital footprint.

In this pandemic situation, the gurus have been crawling out of the woodwork to preach and teach “social selling“.

This year I presented several workshops on Virtual Selling – research was one topic. The more you know, the more rapport you can build. The more you know, the better you can identify targets. [see Salesforce and Hubspot articles]

Sales is about a win-win — both sides win, not just the vendor collecting a check. Selling is about building a solution that benefits the buyer and gets them closer to their business goals.

The company that cold called me uses Sandler for training (the BD guy told me.) Sandler is pretty good for theory – and they make a great lead source for my training. If your company went through Sandler training and sales haven’t improved, let me come in and clear that up for your sales team. Call the office (813) 963-5884 for the best telecom sales training – and the only channel manager training!

What Are You Reading?

I used to be a big Jeffrey Gitomer fan, even attending several of his in-person training classes. I think his Sales Bible is one of the best for anyone in sales. He has two new books out: (1) The Very Little but Very Powerful Book on Closing: Ask the Right Questions, Transfer the Value, Create the Urgency, and Win the Sale! and (2) Sales Manifesto. After watching a few of his webinars this year, I just can’t. The reviews helped me decide to skip it, too. Every guru eventual succumbs to hubris and it isn’t pretty.

just 2 of 12 shelves of books in my office.

There are a few books that I really need to finish:

  • Tom Peters’ The Excellence Dividend;
  • Calm the F*ck Down by Sarah Knight;
  • This is Marketing by Seth Godin.
  • I couldn’t get through Mark Manson’s Everything is F*cked book (about hope).

The Algebra of Happiness was pretty good. Habits of a Happy Brain was helpful. Need something positive? Olivia Holmes Has Invented a Vineyard.

Just ordered: Create the Future + the Innovation Handbook: Tactics for Disruptive Thinking.

What have I been reading mostly during the pandemic? I love spy and detective novels. It is a way to escape for a few hours. This year I have read a slew of them:

  • Brad Thor’s Near Dark & Backlash.
  • Daniel Silva’s The Order & The New Girl.
  • The new series – Revengers – by Marcus Wynne
  • Randy Wayne White’s Salt River.
  • Despite his death, Robert B Parker’s main characters – Spencer, Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall – live on with new writers, like Ace Atkins, Reed Coleman and Mike Lupica – with Angel Eyes, The Bitterest Pill and Grudge Match.

Michael Connelly, Vince Flynn (Lethal Agent), Mark Greaney, Mark Dawson, Robert Crais (A Dangerous Man), David Hagberg, Barry Eisler (Killer Collective), Eric Van Lustbader and Lawrence Block round out my list of favorite authors.

Has anyone done adult coloring books?

I am working on two books. I should have finished my sixth book by now – Channel Sales Enablement. I am also working on Virtual Selling, an ebook that will be about $1.99 when I get it finished.

Tell me what you have been reading…

Mid-Summer’s Musings on Cloud Comms

When looking at cloud contact center (CCC or CCaaS), my biggest observation is that pure play contact center providers (Genesys, Serenova, et al) are built for primarily inbound contact centers and secondarily for outbound call centers. That is great for call centers, big customer service departments and inside sales boiler rooms. There isn’t really any collab or UCaaS functionality, so that CCC piece is layered on top of the UCaaS or CPaaS (which is the case with Twilio Flex, Amazon Connect and Talkdesk). The buyer is paying $150 per agent per month on top of the telephony piece – and more with add-ons.

The CCaaS providers that are mainly offering UCaaS have a module for call center that is more general purpose. This can be sold to departments or lines of business as a functional add-on to the UC&C play.

Microsoft Teams is kind of doing the same thing. Office365 became Teams utilizing the Skype4Biz video calling and chat module and expanding it. It is email, chat, video calls, conferencing and phone. It can be used as a fully functioning PBX. Microsoft even supplies dial-tone in other parts of the world. It went Office docs, Sharepoint (file sharing), Skype/Lync (for calls, chat, video) to PBX and the full UC&C suite. And in WFH it is a winner because it was a familiar look (employees were acquainted with Outlook and Office products) with collaboration first and telephony second. Conferencing and chat are winning the work-from-home race.

In the UCaaS (unified communications) sector, the winners on most analysts’ lists are all homemade platforms. Avaya, Mitel, 8×8, Vonage, RingCentral, Nextiva, Fuze, Star2Star and LogMeIn (Jive+Grasshopper+GoTo+Join.me) are all custom built. No Broadsoft to be found.

  • Verizon is always a top SIP and UC provider as it goes to market with Cisco and BSFT.
  • Comcast was a huge BSFT customer – yet they acquired Blueface this year to control their own destiny. 
  • AT&T has both a Metaswitch and a Broadsoft and is a big Cisco shop, but goes to market with RingCentral for UCaaS.
  • West (now called Intrado) is a Cisco shop. They just acquired OnSip (homebrew).
  • Windstream is a mix of Mitel, Avaya, Allworx, Metaswitch, BSFT and Broadview (homebrew).
  • Evolve IP is a BSFT shop with emphasis on Microsoft.

This top 10 list has been about the same for 8 years with little change except by virtue of M&A.

On-premise vendors chose homebrew:

The point may be that pure play providers in either sector – CCC or UC – have a focus advantage as well as a devops convenience that non-pure play providers do not have. The feature game is over as almost every provider has the same features (they just appear different in the user interface).

Another buying factor is Price. Pricing is easier for non-BSFT shops, since BSFT means Gold, Silver, Bronze packaging that is impossible to get away from. With Vonage and to some extent 8×8 going the build-your-own-comms-system route, buyers can consume (and pay for) functionality that they need despite which layer it comes from – CPaaS, UCaaS, CCaaS.

Most service providers sell to everyone – even if their platform is a misfit for the buyer. It is all about revenue – any revenue. Where is the deep dive into their CRM that they pay big $$ for? Why have providers not examined what verticals that can be leveraged or integrations that can be strengthened to have a Unique Advantage. Pure CCC providers have done that kind of integration with Salesforce, Gamification, Payment Processing and more. The deep dive into the customer list may help your sales team focus their sales.

If you are selling UCaaS or CCaaS, follow the advice of Seth Godin: “Find products for your customers!” Not for your prospects – for your customers! Especially during a pandemic when wallet share and customer retention are your best avenues to go.