Monday, August 02, 2010

Reality Check

Ma Bell is giving away Naked DSL now. $20 for 6MB Naked DSL for a year. That should just about put the nail in the DSL reseller coffin unless you have a Super Power that Ma Bell lacks.

Ever see the Scottrade commercials with the broker losing customers to online trading?

You don't want to partner with Google because of a control issue and a fear issue. I get that. Meanwhile Windstream is calling around to your customers pitching "Partnered with Google" the same way VoIP Guys are pitching "Powered by Cisco".

When I mention getting an online backup partner, everyone tells me they can build it and deliver it themselves. But most don't. It's on a to-do list. Meanwhile, Mozy, Carbonite and Robin Robin's clients are calling your customers to sell them backup. That's money out of your pocket.

You should be looking to grab the total IT and Telecom spend of your client base.

SAAS is another growing segment. Beyond Hosted Email, we are talking about Office apps, CRM, conferencing, etc.

I know, your clients would NEVER buy that. Have you asked them? Because the market is multi-billion dollars. VMware bought Zimbra from Yahoo. You don't think there is play here? Really?

Two things going on:

One is it's outside your comfort zone to work with partners because you biggest partner has been screwing with you since 2001. The other part of the comfort zone is that like Brett unless we are going to talk about I/O's or gear or cost reduction strategies, you don't want to hear it. You are comfortable as a techie playing with the boxes.

The problem is that competition is ramping up against you. The only way to compete is to SELL.

You THINK that your clients won't buy it; or will dislike being marketed to; or whatever. But you won't know until you ask them. And you can't sell it to them unless you offer it to them.

You have clients who like you. You also have clients that don't want to know about the tech stuff -- at all! If you can take away that headache, you can profit from that. Like any health-care provider: manage the pain.

Why am I saying all this?

Ma Bell's new promo coupled with all the value add-ons that the ILECs are throwing in the bundle will make even the hardened anti-ILEC customer of yours think about leaving. The way to get them to stay is to offer more services and get sticky.

At the end of the day, if they never call you, they don't know that you are smart with friendly, helpful people, so how do you keep them? And if they do call in because DSL is down, there isn't anything you can do but yell at the DSG and the listserv.

Control is an illusion, like online privacy.

I just hope that you can look beyond just transit as a way to make money because that game is getting harder to make money at.

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