VOIP Providers are still trying to figure out how to make money.

Agreed. But because they are constantly turning down business that could make them money. Everybody is out for the BIG sale. Its the biggest mistake new sales people make. They spemd loads of time trying to get the big deal, and then when they don'tget it, and have wasted months and months of time. The guys that succeed, are the ones that turn every converstation into a sale of some sort. And they just slow and steady keep chugging away 1 penny at a time, but after the months go by, they realize their pennies have added up to be way more than the sales guy going for the big sale that never happened.

I'd like to pose another view... Why is it hard to make money at VOIP? Because their are lots of challenges and competition! So I pose the question, Would someone rather have a few sales that were likely to stay around for life with reoccurring revenue, and be trouble-free with no headaches to worry about, with an inside man in the background making sure that everything was getting taken care. Or would they prefer to have 1000s of sales that lost money or brought very little margin in at all, all of rock bottom margin, with no loyalty willing to switch on a time to save 10 cents, which most likely will switch at some point just a matter of when, constantly vulnerable to client theft from competitors, and constantly full of headaches both technical in nature and bill collecting, with no control mechanism in place to guarantee Quality of Service?

I'd chose Option 1 any day of the week. If I get rid of my headaches, can close the deal quickly and move forward, I'm making money and I'll continue to make money. I don't care how small the partner is, if they can deliver Option 1 to me.

VOIP providers should realize one fact to be successful, they need to win the relationships with the people that own the networks, period.

Landing those relationships helps guarantee the foundation for growth in the future. THe small provider of today is the large provider of tommorrow. The owners of the networks can provide Quality of Service guarantees ON-NET, Customer retainment by bundling and leveraging relationship, Easy quick sales as an add-on, Inside knowledge to help keep customer, And when chosen as a reseller a person to handle all the problems for the VOIP provider. This all translates at the end of the day to colecting revenue painlessly and getting the bills paid.

The other issue VOIP providers need to consider is one very important topic in legislation today. Its a one way or the other, do or die, issue with no in between that will shape the the way VOIP will be delivered. Will an ISP or Connectivity provider be allowed to block or Prioritize the data that crosses its network, whether by Source, Destination, or type? Sounds like a firewall to me, but its how ISPs will deal with VOIP traffic over their network. AS much as it would be nice for the consumer and VOIP providers to not allow discrimination of VOIP data, I believe at the end of the day, its legislation that can not be inforced or proven adequately regardless of the legislation outcome, and therefore legislation will not control how connectivity provider will manage VOIP data on their networks. VOIP providers are taking a VERY large risk relying on the fact that they will always have free reign to send their data across others' networks at the connectivity provider's cost, and no cost to the VOIP provider.

The best way to extinguish this risk, is to partner with as many connectivity providers as possible. It doesn't matter how many they sell. All it takes is one customer on my network, taht someone on your network wants to call, to make the other VOIP user unsatisfied. The sooner VOIP providers get this, the sooner, they are safe in the space. If they have an opportunity to ahve a partnership with out a cost tobuy, they should snag it. Waiving setup fees, is chump change for that advantage.

My comment about Voice not being data and CLEC failures:
CLECs fail because they have a BOC business structure and processes without having the BOC monopoly. CLECs fail because they sell me-too products on price and the implementation is usually not smooth. (I don't care if it is the ILEC's fault - the customer perceives the problem as the CLEC).

I agree.

Deploying VOIP is not like putting in a DSL modem and heading home.
Extensions, LAN assesment, yadda da.
But then you sold PCPBXs so you know all this.

Sometimes Vendors forget that not everyone was born inside a shoe. Just because someone is a new VOIP prospect to them does not mean they are new to VOIP. I don't claim to be an expert. But our experience is vast, as far as our ability to reduce the VOIP providers technical problems. We've worked with VOIP lines with atleast 50 different vendors, and 20 different phone systems. IN 15 years of telecom/Network integration experience, we don't need to be treated like a rookie. Most WISPs are in similar positions, and not a bunch of newbies.

The people taking all the time away from VOIP providers, are the Marketing reseller partners, that are getting exposed to this for the first time, because they think its the next new hot item to sell. Charge them the $5000 initiation fees, to weed out the non-serious ones. But don't be stupid, and weed out the serious one that are already experienced, that don't need the hand holding. They are the most trouble-free to work with.

I think you missed the point about 20 subs or less being prohibitive.
For an ISP, having a referral agent doing 20 subs is huge.
For a national provider, 20 lines is a waste of time.
Many companies would rather work with 25 companies that sell 100s than 2500 companies that sell 10. Even ISPs tell me they would rather have 100 subs making a $1 each than 2 subs making $50 each.

Its not that I argue that concept. I jsut believe you can have both. I never said give up the big customers. There is much less risk by spreading yourself around many partners and not putting all your eggs in one basket. Did we not learn anything watching Governement contracters. They win a big governement contract grow leaps and bounds, loose the Government contract and go bankrupt in months. The big Governement contracts are great, they subsidize growth, but the idea is to at the same time build your private sector business at the same time in parallel, so when the governement contracts are lost, the businesscan still survivewithout them. The same thing applies to VOIP. Some Wholesalers tackle this problem by creating carrier sales divisions and a sperate small business divisions. So each group doesn't loose focus on its goals of what a valuable client is.

For the record, I am very sellective on which client I take on as Agents and Resellers, now. This is because taking on the wrong ones can waste a LOT of time. But I do not have a volume requirement to be a partner of ours. I take on reseller partners with as little as 3 sales. Instead, I look for partners that add value and that have good senergy with us. In theory someone that sounds like a good partner to have, that I don't think will waste a lot of my time. Volume commitments are for the birds. There are smarter ways to do things.


I want to correct two things I said in previous posts. The current reseller partner that I use that resells CommPartners, is a great guy and does a good job, no disrespect was meant to him. I'm sure he's making sales for CommPartners, and taking care of his other resellers. My point was not to tarnish reputations of resellers, that could fill a purpose to help companies offer VOIP, that were not large enough to partner direct. I just don't think Connectivity providers that own their network need a middle man.

Secondly, my long rant about CommPartners was not meant to tarnish CommPartner's reputation and place in the market. I personally had found CommPartners to be one of the best options out there to date offering wholesale VOIP services. They've accomplsihed more than most of their competitors in the wholesale space. Again, I just think they are missing the boat on what criteria they should use to determine who a valuable partner is.

Tom DeReggi
RapidDSL & Wireless, Inc

I'm not saying this is right or wrong, but this is how I have seen it over the last 5 years dealing with the industry.



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