Very few companies have telecom trained professionals on staff. Many companies lean on their I.T. department. I.T. people understand technology but not necessarily the procurement process and might not be good negotiators. If a company doesn’t have an I.T. department, they use admin and other office staff. If those people aren’t well versed in technology and the procurement process, the results could be damaging.
Let me illustrate:
Let’s say you own a company and you’re looking for ways to cut costs and improve efficiency. You think you’re paying too much for your business phone and internet services; your employees have been complaining about the slowness of the internet and you’ve experienced service outages. You want to shop your services to see if there are better alternatives. You don’t have I.T. people on staff so you assign the task to your office manager and bookkeeper.
One of the first steps in the telecom procurement process (also known as a RFQ or Request for Quote) is vendor selection. If your office manager and bookkeeper know little about telecommunications, how would they determine which vendors to include in the process?
Unfortunately, if your people aren’t experienced, they’re going to choose vendors for the following reasons:
- Companies they’ve heard of. Almost every RFQ prepared by a less experienced administrator includes AT&T, Verizon and maybe CenturyLink – providers with above average pricing.
- The carrier that provides their home service.
- The company that provides their mobile phone service.
- The nicer telecom sales reps that have been calling your office.
Not the more appropriate reasons:
- Carrier’s reputation.
- Carrier’s technical abilities.
- Carrier’s customer satisfaction rankings.
Without the knowledge, they unwittingly excluded companies that might have been an excellent fit.
Even before vendor selection occurs, it’s important to determine what services to include in your company’s RFQ. Because your office manager and bookkeeper are uninformed, they use your current services as a blueprint. They don’t take into consideration factors like:
- Has your company out grown your current services?
- Is your company paying for services you don’t need?
- Have your current services become obsolete? For example, should your company be considering SIP vs. PRI or MPLS instead Private Line?
- Do better alternatives exist?
At this point in our scenario, your office staff hasn’t included all the carriers they should have and maybe they’re pricing the wrong services.
When they receive the carrier proposals, they base their decision on items like:
- Which carrier had the nicest account team
- Who gave the most entertaining presentation?
- They solely focus on price.
When are you best prepared to make a purchase? When you’re completely educated. When do you make the worst buying decisions? When you’re ignorant of important details, reliant on the information provided by a salesperson and operating on emotion. Just think back at all the car deals you’ve made in your life. When did you do well and when did you get burned?
Telecom consultants are trained, experienced and knowledgeable. They operate at a higher level than most carrier reps, they can cut through the sales hype and because they’re procuring their clients’ services, not their own, they’re not emotionally involved. The result of utilizing a telecom consultant is better solutions, contract terms and pricing.