The Transition from Selling Telecom to Professional Services

We’ve been selling telecom services for years. Now our carriers like CenturyLink are having conversations with us on how they compete with the likes of IBM by offering professional services. Services such as consulting, managed services, system integration, outsourced IT and bundled IT packages: hardware, software and services with monthly pricing.

Through acquisitions, larger carriers are now able to offer a suite of professional services as their talent pool is larger. They now have specialists in verticals, well versed in compliance and industry regulations, security, hardware and software, all in-house.Consulting Image

This seems to be a growing trend as NTT also owns a very large professional services company called Dimension Data. Where they offer the same capabilities, including a full international network of services and data centers, billing in multiple currencies and multi-lingual support.

Comcast is in the process of buying Contingent, a national installer of hardware.  My prediction is that they are working towards the same solution set and marketplace offering.

Now, having been traditional telecom broker working to evolve, we understand this is a difficult “product” to sell. It’s not a product rather than a host of solutions and there is not a one size fits all answer. This type of sell requires significant discovery, SOW, use cases, etc. Each customer requires different solutions. Each customer has its own out of date software or hardware, or geographic considerations, or security requirements.

It’s difficult for our traditional telecom agents to adapt to selling products that take more strategy and longer sales cycles. We expect the carriers we put forward to assist in this process and conduct thorough due diligence with our partners’ customers. Now, selling professional services is very familiar to VARs, but they aren’t not used to selling it as a monthly fee and letting a provider bill for it.

So how do we, at TBI, empower traditional telecom agents and those not used to MRR to get on board and make money? We empower them through conversation, training and guidance. The more TBI and carriers can arm selling partners with collateral and leads, the easier we can get our partners embedded in their customers’ businesses. A stronger relationship enables them to sell more. And if our partners can identify opportunities where they can leverage TBI to bring in the right carrier, then we all win.

Key conversation topics that lead to IT infrastructure solutions:

  • Help Desk and IT services a customer might be looking to outsource 
  • Security threats/breaches, prevention, mobile accessibility
  • Disaster Recover (DRaaS) and Business Continuity 
  • Moving in or out of data centers
  • Purchasing servers or too many servers and looking to consolidate due to high density
  • Virtualization and cloud strategy
  • Managing Storage Area Networks (SAN)
  • Cloud services and migration of applications to the cloud
  • Database solutions like SQL, Oracle and Dynamics
  • Using VMWare, Cisco Servers, NetApps and EMC can lead to larger conversations

To learn more about how to start these key conversations and transition into MRR, email me at


About the Author
As Vice President of Enterprise and Vendor Management at TBI, Ken Mercer oversees all sales and operations within the organization. Ken is also active in leveraging his extensive network services expertise to consult with TBI channel agents on large enterprise opportunities and serves on the advisory boards for many of TBI’s service providers. You can contact Ken at or connect with him on LinkedIn.