Five things to consider when choosing a provider
Geico, the nation's second-largest private passenger auto insurance company, has long been known for its advertising catchphrase, "15 minutes could save you 15 percent or more on car insurance." This slogan, and an aggressive marketing campaign, recently propelled Geico past Allstate in the hyper-competitive automotive insurance market. Now Esurance, backed by parent company Allstate, has jumped into the "quick-quote" fray claiming that pricing for its insurance products and services takes a mere seven-and-a-half minutes and that in this brief time, prospective customers could save an unspecified amount over their current insurance.
While Esurance doesn't promise to save its customers 15 percent, the company does take a direct swipe at Geico with an appeal to time-sensitive prospects. Still, one problem for both Geico and Allstate is that while prospects may receive fast prices for insurance products, research shows that often customers look behind the proverbial curtain of the insurance-quoting machines and compare not only the pricing received from different providers, but also such things as breadth of coverage, consumer satisfaction surveys, and claim payment histories.
The same basic principle of looking at various options applies to telecom services. A quick quote from a telecom distributor—whether it takes 15 minutes or seven-and-a-half minutes—could result in a less than optimal solution option for you or your customer. If you are serious about including telecom services as part of your portfolio, the first step is to qualify your customer's needs and pair them with the provider that offers the best solution available to match their requirements. To ensure you provide your customers with the telecom solution that is the right one for them, here are five things to keep in mind when selecting a provider:
- Geography: Start by looking at the provider's footprint. Your telecom distributor should consider recommending local and regional service providers before the national carriers since the local providers are the ones who built the network.
- Product Offerings: The provider you choose should offer nationwide service options that include a range of products, including cloud, voice, data, Internet, and managed services. The provider should also be willing to assist you in determining the best product and service options for your customer.
- Brand Reputation: Be certain your technology distributor has preferred relationships with the industry's top providers. However, it’s important to keep in mind that while the largest providers usually deliver stability, they often bring a lower commission; lesser-known providers typically deliver higher commissions.
- Pricing: Are the providers offering competitive, negotiated quotes that meet your client's specific requirements? Apply age-old wisdom here: If the rates or saving claims seem too good to be true, they usually are.
- Long-Term Profitability: Enticing commissions are desirable, but make sure the provider you choose will help you protect and farm your existing customer base, venture into new markets, and create new revenue streams.
Who you select for a technology distributor is important for quoting as well as for support. Our partners tell us that TBI’s front-end quoting process is better than that of anyone else. This is in part because we don't promise "instant quotes." Instead, we offer dedicated and highly-knowledgeable representatives who we consider to be the "concierges" of the telecom industry. They work with you to identify the solution that best meets your customer's business needs, not the one that best fits the provider's bottom line.
We guarantee the integrity of a complete sales process by taking the time to develop each and every quote for our partners ourselves. In this way, our quote accuracy is second-to-none. We complete our quotes with speed and accuracy, making sure to get it right the first time around. By offering multiple choices among the industry's best providers, and recommending only the best solution options, TBI provides a truly consultative sales experience for our partners and for their customers.
About the Author
As Vice President 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with him on LinkedIn.