Friday, December 12, 2008

How Should VARs Sell Carrier Services?

Many solution providers these days would at least consider adding carrier sales to their product mix, providing the business case makes sense. But the actual sales model any particular solution provider should—or can—take will depend on several factors, say executives at Level 3 Communications, including:

• The current size of a solution provider’s customer base
• Rate of new customer growth
• Typical customer requirement for support at one or multiple locations
• Geographic scope of a solution provider’s operations
• Alignment to current solution provider strategy and focus

In broad outline, the “go to market” strategy will have smaller local VARs profiting from a “referral” or “assisted sale” fee arrangement. Some solution providers will consider becoming sub-agents. Solution providers serving multi-location enterprises will become carrier sales agencies

The new sales operations to sell carrier services can take several forms, Level 3 says.  If the agency route is selected, smaller organizations will train existing staff. Larger organizations may hire personnel with carrier sales experience. 

If a solution provider decides to take a less-extensive role, solution providers may choose simply to make referrals. In a more-substantial role, solution providers might become sub-agencies affiliated with a master agency.

There is no single business arrangement that makes equal sense for every solution provider. The typical smaller value added reseller with perhaps a dozen employees or less, working in a single metropolitan market, may not generally find that a feasible route, and might well opt for a referral fees model.

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