Thursday, May 28, 2015

Worldwide CRM Survey

This is Gartner's worldwide CRM survey. Which CRM system are you using?

  • Salesforce
  • Microsoft
  • Zoho
  • Netsuite
  • Sugar CRM
  • Highrise HQ 
  • insightly 
  • infusionsoft
  • Sage ACT

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Jump Start Your Sales or Do Some Marketing

If you are looking at your sales and wondering why they aren’t where you want them, consider reading this blog I wrote.

Then ask yourself: Do you have the elements necessary for sales success?

If not give me a call, the first 20 minutes are no-charge. Make an appointment to speak with me by clicking here.

I also wrote a book on selling cloud in paperback and on kindle, titled SELLECOM2. I offer self training kits on cloud selling. (See here).

If you are building out fiber to the home, business, premise or curb, the webinar I am doing next Wed. comes with a money back guarantee. If you don’t think it was worth it, email me right after the webinar and I will refund it. Register here.

Come see me live in Atlanta for FISPA expo on June 16-19. Use DISCOUNT CODE R2 to save $50 on registration at

I am speaking on 2 topics at the show (see the schedule on

1) Marketing is Not Free! Would you use Fiverr for a router config? There are costs associated with sales and marketing. We are going to go over them – and why a professional can make a big difference in copywriting, collateral and other components of S&M. (This will include some examples of bad marketing!)

2) What are You Measuring? An executive look at the metrics we use and if they are the correct metric – or should you be looking at something else. In sales, the means are more important than the end. In revenue, what is a more meaningful number? What is your employee’s time worth?

Sometimes You Can't Push Through

Sometimes you can't push through a problem, frustration, aggrevation or writer's block.

Sometimes you just need to take a 10 minute walk.

What I have done a few times, is go play ball (volleyball, golf, driving range, batting cage). Those endorphins feel great - and help improve my mood, motivation and thinking.

image from Nicholas Bates

Thursday, May 21, 2015

NetFortris at Genband

NetFortris presented at GenBand’s show yesterday on why they chose Genband C3G8 platform over Broadsoft. Mainly: it was cheaper and one provider. BSFT requires third-party. Genband licensing is about 40% less than BSFT.

Netfortris is interesting. That is the new name for Telekenex, which TelePacific tried to buy a couple of years ago. The stats that Thomas Swayze presenting are hard to believe.

700 multi-site clients. The average seat size is 67, selling many 10 seat deals up to 2,000 seats. The ARPU is $3250. These customers are still on M6. 100K endpoints turned up by 2008. Did the Sprint mobile integration in 2012. They started a platform review in 2013 and just turned up Genband.

They deployed Genband Experius on Cisco's blade server for "hardware freedom" - and the first one to do this.

Netfortris upgraded SmartOffice to version 2.5. Next Netfortris will be embedding SPiDR into the CCP platform. Then Kandy. Just so you know, it is very difficult to keep track of the brand names for each service at Genband - kandy, fring, SPiDR, Experius, C3G8. I needed a decoder ring to know what service they were talking about. Some of that was due to being unfamiliar with their portfolio; some of it is that everyone just assumes you know. What happens when you assume?

"Coolest part of QUANTIX/QFLEX is that you can overlay UC over SIP trunks," said Swayze. I had no idea what Quantix is. It is the SBC line.

from pr: NetFortris deployed the EXPERiUS™ Application Server, Intelligent Messaging , SPiDR WebRTC Gateway, GENView Provisioning & Portals, GENCom Mobility Clients and QUANTiX™ Session Border Controller (SBC).

Monday, May 18, 2015

AOL is a Lesson in Bundling

VZ is buying AOL for $4.4 Billion and getting a billion in revenue to go along with 2.2 million AOL subscribers. The service ranges from free to $27.99!!! But go look at what is included
and see if your packages don't stink in comparison. Maybe you are a purist about being an ISP -- or maybe you have considered adding anything new -- or some other reason.

Bundle includes; 15GB of storage and 50 4×6 prints per year with Photobucket; Password storage service; Legal aid; Discounted AARP membership; McAfee security suite; Computer support and repair; and dial-up.

ARPU on membership has gone up $20.83 for Q1 2015 from $19.41 for Q1 2014.

Excellent point about the dial-up business or web-hosting or some other left over service you offer: "Of course, AOL could have just given this business the finger and left it untended to wither and die. Instead, AOL has found a way to create more value for users without investing tons of money in trying to develop new services on its own."[VB]

AOL has tried other bundles -- see here and here - aimed at different targets. They keep trying. That is the key to success. Try-Fail-Learn-Try Again.

Get 20% in 7 Years

"Installing FTTP equipment costs about $600 per home passed and if the company also sells the customer its Prism video service, there is an additional cost of $500 to $600. The company’s business case is based on getting 20% of the video market within five to seven years," CenturyLink Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Stewart Ewing said.

"He noted that cable companies have had a marketing advantage because they already have “eyeballs” watching their video offerings, where they can run ads and where in some cases, the cablecos have denied CenturyLink the ability to run ads, Ewing said."

CenturyLink and Frontier do not have the volume / size to get competitive rates from content providers. AT&T neither, which prompted the deal for DirecTV (which should be going through soon). If you believe Charter, they think they have to get bigger to make TV more profitable for them. Cord cutting has prompted some MSOs to cater to the never-had-cable crowd of millennials and the cord-cutters. [I wonder if they just haven't considered that there isn't enough spending money left in the consumer paycheck.]

Will CenturyLink ever make a profit on its video service? Ewing said, “We believe we can make a return long term.”

On broadband: "Speeds most commonly selected are in the 20 Mbps to 80 Mbps range, said Ewing. Bonding and vectoring would be needed in some cases to achieve those speeds over copper, however, and customers “will have a better experience on fiber and much less likelihood of trouble." [source] Fiber is Better for Customer Experience is what he is saying -- and probably more profitable long term factoring in customer retention, support costs and customer satisfaction.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Failed Idea for Postcard Mailer?

What do you think of this idea?

So you have your mailer, but you wrap it in another mailer for the gatekeeper.

Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ingredients for Sales Success

Most business owners think salespeople are a waste of money. They don't work out. That is true often. Sales is probably the toughest position to fill. Put it this way: give any employee - tech, CSR, whoever - give him a sales quota and watch him sweat. Most employees don't really have metrics on them like a salesperson. Certainly, in bigger orgs, the CSR (customer service reps) have metrics on call times and calls answered per hour, but those aren't the same as: "Go change that guy's mind and sell him $500 worth of services" every week. Or we won't pay you.

  • Examine your business honestly. Are you even set up to sell?
  • Is your website current and mobile ready? Does it have good copy that interests people? Any analytics? Any calls to action?
  • Do you have a CRM system? is it being used or is it like the treadmill in your garage?
  • Is there an on-boarding procedure and training policy for salespeople AND customers?
  • How will you manage the salesperson? Who will he or she go to with questions? You can sell from an island.
  • Collateral is nice, especially if it answers the basics about features, benefits, etc.
  • Are there any testimonials?

Cast Studies are common today. Why? Because buyers don't like risk and your company hasn't done the trust building (used to be called branding) needed to establish trust. (And telecom is an industry full of companies that over-promise and under-deliver and under-whelm customers.)

  • Is there a leads list? Is there a list of former customers?
  • Do you have a newsletter? Do you do any email marketing to your customer base? Social media is for noise and reach, but email is where the magic happens. Is someone in charge of email marketing?
  • Does your company do any advertising, marketing, PR?

So, you don't email anyone because you don't want to bother them??? (It means that even you don't think you can put anything valuable in an email. Hmmm.) Your website isn't up-to-date. You have no case studies or testimonials or CRM or leads, but this new salesperson is supposed to go out there and do it all - in less than 90 days - and bring in revenue???? That is what we call UNREALISTIC!

Also, did you train her on the products? Describe how your services help companies? Explain the company value proposition? Maybe give the salesperson a couple of questions to ask? Or did the salesperson have to come up with all this on her own? If so, You set them up for failure.

And you aren't doing your brand any good either. Your brand is your reputation. If you send unprepared people out under your logo, they either build your brand or destroy it. Every touch of the market place - ads, calls, billing, installs - everything is part of marketing, part of building a reputation, ingredients of building trust. Trust is required to sell anything.

There are 3 sales going on all of the time simultaneously: Prospects have to trust the salesperson, the company and the product that they are buying.

Would you send a tech out for an install without making sure he knew how to configure the equipment, without the tech having the right gear and tools?

See you in Atlanta!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Funny Thought About Case Studies

"When someone asks, "Do you have any case studies and rules of thumb from my industry about how someone in precisely the same circumstances did x and got y," it's pretty clear that they seek reassurance and a promise of certainty." [from Seth Godin]

It is why selling cloud is tough. No risk, no change buyers.

Why Cloud for SMB?

Good read on Forbes about cloud comm for SMB, although I think the author may have a stake in Fusion. I like how they describe both RC and Fusion.

"It’s not only a cost cutter but a productivity booster for small and big companies alike. But its impact on small businesses is more meaningful. Cloud actually reduces, if not eliminates, the need for a company to own expensive hardware. And with most enterprises now using Cloud, they are gaining access to more applications." He forgot to say that SMB get access to enterprise-grade software that they couldn't afford before.

"with the “workforce becoming more distributed and mobile, the legacy of on-premises desktop PCs is dying", the RC CEO said. Besides mobile, flexible, scalable, remember to mention secure, reliable, local.

Birch Buys Again (and other news)

In it's 24th acquisition, Birch is buying the assets of OrbitCom. Orbitcom with its HQ in Sioux Falls, SD, "is a regional provider of voice, data and IT (colocation and hosting) solutions to small and medium businesses in several markets across 14 states." Just 5,000 customers across 14 states!

There was a bunch of M&A that I noted last week like Cisco-Tropos, SilverSky-BAE, QTS-Carpathia Hosting, SingTel-Trustwave.

RingCentral closed another OEM deal. This time with InContact, a cloud contact center provider that is a big partner of Siemens Enterprise (now called Unify). RC has OEM deals with AT&T, Rogers in Canada and BT in the UK.

Even if you don't sell VoIP or UC, integration and mobility will have an impact on your business. Desktop and laptop sales declines have an effect on break/fix revenue, right? Integration of software is what every business owner dreams of. 8x8 and RC and even VZ are integrating hosted phone systems with Google for Work, CRM (like Zoho, Salesforce, Dynamics), help desk (like Zendesk), and more. Think about a way to package cloud apps that work together to your customer base.

Saw this webinar invite:

CLIO is law practice management software that integrates with Broadsoft and I think QuickBooks. Add in a credit card processing app with managed IT and some bandwidth and you should be good to grow!

Now that Lync is Skype for Business, a day doesn't go by that someone isn't integrating with S4B. CallTower, Intelepeer, Arkadin and others are all announcing packages around S4B. I guess the adoption of Office365 is big.

"Arkadin Total Connect is a UC ecosystem based on Microsoft Skype for Business technology and integrated with Arkadin’s audio conferencing." [source CV]

Here is an interesting bundle: "Sonus Networks has announced the Better Together Alliance, a partnership with Plantronics, Nectar and Numonix to ensure full inter-operability of each companies’ Microsoft Skype for Business supported network devices, The goal is to reduce inter-operability risk and provide channel partners and customers with pre-tested solutions." [source: CV]