How to Scale Your Connectivity Practice: An Advisor’s Guide

By Rebecca Muhlenkort / August 9, 2023

AD Connectivity Practice Blog 2

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    In the era of SaaS and cloud dominance, it's easy for technology advisors, agents, and consultants to overlook the significance of connectivity. However, in this blog post, we'll remind you why connectivity is still an essential part of any technology infrastructure and how scaling your connectivity business can lead to increased revenue and stickier customers.

    By scaling your telecom and connectivity business you can open doors to cross-selling other high-value technology services. By the end of this blog, you’ll have a clear roadmap to prioritize connectivity and unlock the full potential of your practice. Let’s go!

    Connectivity is STILL the backbone of modern business

    Today, the reliance on traditional telco and connectivity services remains undeniable for digital-first companies. From the reliable public Internet (fiber, cable, wireless) to the robust private circuits (MPLS, VPLS, P2P), these services are essential for businesses to stay competitive.

    Why scale your connectivity practice?

    • Connectivity is needed to support all workforce models—No matter how you slice it, connectivity services are still the foundation of a business's network infrastructure. It connects users, branch offices, headquarters, data centers, and cloud services. Whether it’s Work From Home (WFH), hybrid, or in-office, reliable and efficient connectivity is indispensable.

    • It connects your customer's complete technology stack—Businesses use the cloud to store and manage their information, applications, and services. And, reports indicate companies are becoming more cloud-reliant. Studies reveal 90 to 95 percent of apps will be cloud-native by 2025! Companies require reliable and scalable connectivity to transmit data and enable seamless access to their cloud-hosted applications and services. Selling connectivity alongside cloud solutions can help advisors earn more and ensure a comprehensive and optimized technology infrastructure for customers.

    “I think that's important these days to address, you know, multiple components of the customer's problem, not not just an individual workload like email, but expand into other workloads such as backup, D.R and other and other solutions. And so actually, it's expanded into the connectivity side of the business and selling the connectivity required to connect to the cloud.”
    Van Murry, Managing Partner and President of Aeolus
    • Support for hybrid IT infrastructures—Today, nearly 70 percent of enterprises leverage a hybrid IT environment, including a mix of cloud, or multiple cloud providers. Multi-cloud infrastructures also heavily depend on direct cloud connections for seamless operations. These connections centralize resources, ensuring swift access to the public cloud and enhancing visibility into operations and applications. Unified communication and collaboration services, vital for enterprise productivity, also rely on direct cloud connections.

    • Customers want a single provider for all technology—Customers crave simplicity and demand efficiency. A staggering 69 percent of organizations seek a one-stop-shop for their tech needs (Source: AppDirect market research, McKinsey & Company, Econsultancy, Techaisle). Not only that, analyst firm Canalys estimates businesses and governments (globally) will spend $4.7 trillion this year on technology and telco. And, close to three quarters will be sold or executed by the partner ecosystem. By showcasing your expertise by creating a comprehensive portfolio and a strong connectivity practice, positioning yourself as the preferred and exclusive technology partner. On top of that, the market for related connectivity services, such as Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) and SASE (Secure Access Service Edge), is witnessing explosive growth. This surge is driven by companies' increasing reliance on sophisticated networks to facilitate remote work and secure data, applications, and systems. By embracing connectivity to unlock sales potential and grow your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).

    5 tips to jumpstart connectivity sales

    While selling connectivity has traditionally been a manual-intensive process, there are steps you can take to streamline the process and close high-value connectivity deals more quickly.

    1. Don’t try to be the expert in everything—Stop the struggle of trying to be an expert in every aspect of your business, including connectivity. Don't waste time or resources, or hire more engineers either. Instead, unlock the power of strategic partnerships. Find trusted allies who possess the expertise you need and let them become an extension of your sales and engineering teams. Look for vendor-agnostic experts who can guide you and your customer through the complexity of choosing the right technology stack for your customers’ business. By harnessing the strength of partnerships, you can grow your revenue without increasing your SG&A expenses.

    2. Look for a diverse & broad catalog and provider specialists— When looking to expand your connectivity practice, identify a partner that has an extensive and diverse catalog of connectivity and telecom services. A broad catalog is needed to meet customers' diverse connectivity requirements. Not only that, looking for provider specialists can help you close more deals. Whether it’s AT&T, Verizon, Lumen, or others, different top-tier providers offer different specialities and capabilities. Lean on experts to engage specific providers. These specialists can help you through faster order processing, and ensure your customers are deriving the most value out of their services. 

    3. Accelerate your back-office—Creating connectivity quotes quickly and efficiently is essential to increasing the overall value of connectivity deals. Look for self-service or assisted-sales tools that simplify locating and adding products, searching by parameters like service type, location, and specific providers. These back-office connectivity tools empower you to tailor solutions that align with your customer's requirements. Solution and provider experts coupled with robust back-office tools streamline operations and enable you to share accurate quotes with customers. This way you can focus on selling and present your proposals clearly and confidently. Customers can make quicker decisions when presented with transparent, accurate quotes. Also, look for order management tool to simplify the process of ordering and tracking connectivity purchases to ensure customers get the most value from their solutions

    4. Alleviate headaches, consider network aggregation—Network aggregation emerges as an ideal solution when navigating the complex process of selling and servicing connectivity, particularly for multi-site networks. Instead of juggling contracts with multiple providers, network aggregation services own wholesale contracts with multiple providers and offer all-in-one services, including options for SD-WAN and managed security. These aggregators bring additional managed services to the table, helping you cross-sell complementary services across the network and beyond primary and secondary circuits. By working with a partner that has relationships with network aggregators, you’ll be able to deliver a higher quality customer experience overall. You’ll alleviate the common frustrations of dealing with multiple bills from different carriers. And, network aggregators expertly handle installation and trouble tickets, instilling trust and peace of mind in your role as a trusted advisor.

    5. Progress to selling SD-WAN—SD-WAN solutions are a natural evolution of WAN technologies and are often better suited to the cloud migration of applications, offering better performance and investment protection. Instead of using private circuits from carriers for connectivity, SD-WAN optimizes networks for cloud technologies, and provides flexibility to customers to leverage connections that meet their needs no matter public or private - best effort or dedicated.It also simplifies management, and enhances application performance, contributing to an improved customer experience. The SD-WAN market has continued to evolve. Opportunities continue to grow in number and size. If you haven't already, now is the time to seize the future growth.

    The SD-WAN market is expected to reach $43 billion by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 38.6% from 2020 to 2030.
    - The SD-WAN Market Research Report

    Connectivity still reigns supreme

    Despite the spotlight on SaaS and cloud, connectivity remains a critical component of any technology infrastructure. Scaling your connectivity practice positions you as a full-stack advisor, enabling you to maximize cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. With the right partner you can add value, cultivate relationships with customers, and boost your bottom line.

    Learn how AppDirect can help you navigate the complexities of selling connectivity and SD-WAN services. You’ll be on your way to scaling your connectivity business and increasing wallet share.

    Sign up as an AppDirect advisor or explore our connectivity solutions in the AppDirect catalog