Caisson Offers a Better Way to Buy Phone and Internet
Buying telecommunications can feel like an exercise in defeat. Telecom providers are hard to trust, sales people are pushy and customer service response times are poor. This is extremely frustrating for business customers and isn't working well for telecom providers, either. To answer this, the industry is revolutionizing its distribution model. Again.
Consumer choice is relatively new to the telecom marketplace. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 broke up Ma Bell and established competition between providers. Investors and telecom executives drove innovation like a stampede. New phone and Internet services upped demand. Prices dropped. The problem is that providers neglected to innovate the 1980s-style direct sales model.
Telecom providers, like Comcast, CenturyLink and Integra Telecom pay direct sales representatives up-front commissions on the services and products they sell. As a result, direct sales reps are incented to sell as much as they can right now and move on to more, new customers as quickly as possible. This frenzy is reinforced by weighty quotas, which many direct sales reps do not meet. For this reason, direct sales teams are infamous for constant turnover, as well as inexperience and high-pressure sales methods.
Even good direct sales representatives suffer this model. It's no fun to work in a department with high turnover. It feels rotten to sell telecom to a customer knowing you are discouraged from helping that customer out in the future (there is no money to be made in altering existing accounts.) Also, it's confining to sell single-provider solutions at a time when most businesses need services and products from multiple providers.
Indirect Sales Agents are an unconventional, benefits-driven solution
Indirect sales agents are the alternative to direct sales when buying telecom. Also known as consultants or brokers, indirect sales agents sell telecom products and services through a strategic partnership offered by providers. However, they are completely independent from the provider and their services are free to business customers.
This is not resale. By partnering with providers, indirect agents gain access to the same promotional pricing, new product and service training and customer support networks that direct sales agent use. Business customers get to buy their telecom in a better way and establish an account with the provider. Providers benefit, too. They gain a strategic possibility for growth and greater efficiency.
There are clear benefits for business customers. Specifically, indirect sales agents help businesses save time and money. Here's how:
Businesses work with just one person for all of their telecommunication needs. This includes, among other tasks, calling the providers for the latest pricing, qualifying business locations and completing contracts.
Businesses gain a trustworthy, knowledgeable resource. Indirect agents are required to attend trainings on the products and services sold by each of the providers they represent as a condition of their partnership, so businesses can feel confident of the accuracy of their recommendations.
Businesses can count on an experienced, real-world analysis and a comprehensive solution that fits their needs. The best indirect sales agents have worked in telecom for many years and have experience in multiple capacities within the industry. They correlate service and product offerings from across the industry with the specific telecom needs of their business customers, fast.
Businesses gain a professional advocate now and in the future. Motivated by the long-term success of their customers' telecom solutions (more on that below), indirect sales agents help businesses long after the sale is done.
Again, indirect sales agents don't charge their business customers anything. Instead, they earn residual commission from the providers on the telecom products and services they sell. This new model is a natural compliment to the long-term happiness of business customers.
“I started my indirect sales agency, Caisson Technologies after working for a large telecom provider. There, I saw that business owners, office managers and IT directors were loosing time, energy and money because of flaws in the sales process. I saw customer accounts get orphaned or relegated to low-wage, unskilled personnel. Businesses felt abandoned, so they switched providers only to have the situation repeated.” – Brian Wade, indirect sales agent and president of Caisson Technologies, www.caissontechnologies.com
Many indirect sales agents offer paid services, too. For example, some offer ongoing telecom management and telecom audits, analysis and mapping. At this point, indirect sales agents have been around long enough to develop thriving businesses with their own unique brand.
Telecom providers also win with the indirect sales model. High turnover on their sales floor and among their customers costs them money. By contrast, happy customers stay with them longer.
Clearly a win-win-win solution, it's interesting to note that a majority of business telecom services and products are still sold through direct sales. Indirect sales agents like Brian Wade say this will change as the new model gains publicity and more businesses recognize it as a legitimate alternative to buying telecom directly from the providers.
“We need to get the word out. I've run my indirect sales business for nearly a decade. I have a long list of happy business customers. My competitors can say the same. I believe in the power of telecom to help businesses be successful, especially small and midsize businesses that may not have dedicated telecom staff. Ultimately, they will decide whether or not indirect sales agents survive as an alternative to the old model of telecom sales.” –Brian Wade, Caisson Technologies
When selecting an indirect sales agent to work with, look for one who is authorized to sell products from multiple, competing providers. This is an indication that he is dedicated to offering truly unbiased telecom buying help. Check out his website. His business should be well established, including a clear description of how he adds value in the marketplace. Also, look for an indirect sales agent who has a portfolio of happy, long-term customers, years of experience and technical expertise.