From the CEO’s Desk
No Long-term Success without Real-time Selling
I’ve said it before and I’m gonna say it again. Now’s the time to over-support your customers and sell. Yep, I said it. SELL.
It’s the four-letter word no one wants to say out loud and the call to action everyone is avoiding making into a headline. But the undeniable truth is this: There’s no short or long-term success for any of us if we don’t sell through this pandemic.
Your customers need you now more than ever. And your prospects are likely on the hunt as well for answers to business challenges they’ve never faced before, and don’t ever want to face again. Reality is, if you’re not smiling and dialing, or teaming and zooming, you’re underestimating your company, your community, and your current and future customers.
Every single capable partner in the IT sector needs to saddle up and sell all the technologies and services businesses, both big and small, need to stay open and come out of this pandemic stronger and more agile. Sitting by and waiting for your mailbox money to arrive isn’t going to keep businesses moving forward and in the end will limit your success and dry up your pipeline. Now’s the time to do what we all do best… sell and support our customers and find those businesses in need.
The “Safer at Home” orders and work from home policies across our nation have made the business case clear for new, faster, better, smarter and more secure technology. Virtually any and all technology tied to digital transformation, or at minimum the distributed workforce, has moved from a want to a need overnight–forcing businesses to make bold moves and buy technology as a service and as a solution.
At PlanetOne, we have the people, the playbooks and the portfolio to help you and your customers continue to sell through this pandemic and into the new future. Over the past several weeks, we’ve doubled-down on our talent—hiring multiple new team members and onboarding new providers and partners who are eager to work with you and make a difference in your customer’s day-to-day. Together we can, together we are, and together we will continue to sell the solutions your customers need to weather this time and thrive.
Our phone lines are open, and our team is here to help you and your customers revisit the game plan, engage, support and successfully sell!
Ted Schuman, Founder/CEO
Partner Success Stories: ASG
Company Name:ASG Communications and Business Consultants
Headquarters: Clermont, Fla.
Year Founded: 2002
ASG’s management team has more than 60 years of telecom and data experience, representing the nation’s most robust and largest carriers for domestic and international solutions. ASG has a genuine interest in its clients’ business, challenges, aspirations and needs.
Specializations: Voice, data, cloud, hosted fax and text services, datacenter, audio and video conferencing, telecom expense management and mobility
ASG and Retarus Win Cloud-Hosted Faxing Deal with One of the Nation’s Top Three Insurers
Retarus, a trusted provider of Cloud Fax Services with global headquarters located in Munich, Germany, first met ASG, whose mission is to help customers mitigate risk and improve business productivity through the design and delivery of service-oriented solutions, at a Tech Tour event hosted by PlanetOne.
“We’ve enjoyed a very successful relationship with PlanetOne and their Tech Tours have been especially helpful in generating interest in Retarus,” said Robert DiMartino, Retarus’ Senior Enterprise Business Development Manager/US Channel and Strategic Partnerships. “Through these events, we’ve been able to connect with and establish relationships with a number of PlanetOne partners, including ASG, which in turn have led to some exciting business opportunities.”
Davin Roos, Managing Partner for ASG, added, “I’ve known Ted Schuman for close to 20 years, and we’ve been working with PlanetOne since 2002. One of the things we love about working with their team is their ability to connect us with providers, who offer technologies and solutions that will enable us to solve our clients’ most pressing business challenges. They really are a matchmaker for partners and providers, and we can’t thank them enough for introducing us to Retarus.”
Persistence Pays Off in Multi-Year Sales Cycle
Several years ago, ASG uncovered an opportunity for Retarus with one of the nation’s top three insurers. “The insurer had invested in hardware and licensing for a fax and service, but was experiencing some shortcomings with the solution, and I saw Retarus as an ideal solution for meeting their unique requirements,” explained Sean Drinkwater, Director of Cloud Services for ASG.
A roadblock to moving to a new solution for the insurer was the capital investment it had made in its existing solution. Furthermore, the company had no experience implementing cloud-based solutions. “This would be a first for them, so we had to be very thoughtful in terms of how we engaged,” added Drinkwater. “Retarus did much of the heavy lifting – building the bridge between what the customer needed and what they could provide them.”
Initially, it took several tries for Retarus and ASG to connect with the right group of people within the insurer’s vast roster of personnel. “We would call on who we thought were the right people and receive a typical response to try back in six months,” recalled DiMartino. “Finally, what was essentially a cold call turned into a warm lead. Along the way, there was some turnover, which is to be expected due to the size of the company, but eventually we were able to get the wheels turning in what turned out to be a three-year sales process.”
Relationships Seal the Deal
Even though it was not a normal sale by any stretch of the imagination, Retarus credits the strong relationships they built with the client as playing a significant role in the win. “It was really hard to convince them that the cloud was the way to go, especially since they had no frame of reference for this technology,” said DiMartino. “One of our technical consultants, Christian Graninger, did a phenomenal job of demonstrating the true benefits of the solution from both a technical and business standpoint.”
Graninger added, “For this particular client, we had to not only educate them about the cloud – both the good and the bad, but also show them that we could customize the Retarus solution to meet their unique requirements. We sat for a long time with their internal teams, talking about the challenges they needed to solve, and were able to win them over with all of the capabilities and training we could provide to support their implementation.”
Since winning the business, Retarus has completed about 100% of what they set out to achieve for the insurer with regards to cloud-hosted faxing. “Some of the future plans we’ve discussed with the client include the possibility of adding managed capture and cloud-based texting/SMS functionality,” said DiMartino.
Commitment to Exceptional Service Makes Retarus Stand Out
As a Retarus partner, ASG’s Davin Roos has found its commitment to exceptional customer service to be a winning advantage when going after new business. “We’ve worked with a lot of providers over the years, and what they do at Retarus is the exception, not the rule,” he said.
Over the course of the sales engagement, Retarus’ CEO Martin Hager made a trip from Retarus’ global headquarters in Germany to the client’s headquarters. Additionally, Retarus’ executives and technical experts made numerous site visits to ensure that the project was going smoothly. “These in-person visits helped tremendously to reassure the client that they were making the right choice in placing their trust in Retarus,” added Roos. “For us, being able to count on Retarus to give our clients the attention they deserve is huge.”
For more information on the PlanetOne Partner Program, visit https://www.planetone.net/partner-program/.
Preferred Provider Spotlight: Nitel
Nitel is a provider of next-gen WAN and managed security services. Through our Nitel-Connect SD-WAN platform, we simplify the complex by offering predictable and flexible networks for customers accessing the cloud. With a highly interconnected network fabric and the ability to source network from over 1,100 vendors, customers receive network solutions that comprise the best of what the marketplace has to offer.
Nitel-Connect enables customers to bring together all network functions – from routing and optimization to security and connection to cloud partners – under a single platform. As a private nationwide backbone, the platform:
- Eliminates middle-mile inconsistencies of sending traffic over the public internet
- Delivers flexible last-mile options
- Provides direct connections to top cloud and voice services
- Allows for flexible security for businesses of all types
- Brings SD-WAN endpoint technology from multiple vendors
From a security standpoint, Nitel offers a variety of premise-based or cloud-based, next-generation firewall options for any size business. Additionally, Nitel has partnered with Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader Trustwave to deter, mitigate and remediate threats regardless of their source. We’re proud to offer a variety of services including:
- Managed Threat Detection: Around-the-clock support from 10 global security operations centers.
- Security Testing: Penetration testing performed by “ethical hackers.”
- Incident Response: Get out in front of the problem, should a breach occur, and save customers time, money and stress.
If you have a customer looking to improve their network performance or network security, contact us today. Not only do we deliver custom tailored network solutions that fit the specifications of every customer, we’ll make sure your customers are taken care of. Through every step of the experience, we’ll make you look great.
Employee Spotlight: Bernadette Richardson
At PlanetOne, we place tremendous value the contributions our employees make to ensure both our success and that of our providers and partners. In our newsletter each quarter, we shine a light on one of our amazing employees. This quarter, we are featuring Bernadette (Bern) Richardson, Senior Vice President of Marketing.
- How long have you been with PlanetOne? What did you do prior to joining PlanetOne?
I’ve been with PlanetOne for over four years but my affiliation with Ted goes back 27 years to 1993, when US Telebrokers was our biggest agent at HCC Telemanagement, where I was the Director of Marketing. I was in telecom for about a decade, and my last position was President of TMC in Santa Barbara, CA before I went back to school to get my MBA. Then, I was in the consulting world for another decade before Ted lured me to PlanetOne!
- Tell us about your day-to-day role at PlanetOne.
I head up our marketing efforts at PlanetOne which includes: creative, PR, social media, branding, web development/partner portal, the Preferred Provider program, sales incentives and recruitment, events and implementing our go to market strategies. My team and I interface closely with our sales and operations teams to create a cohesive partner experience – all designed around driving revenue and delivering results.
- What do you like most about your job? Working with PlanetOne?
The most exciting thing about my role is watching initiatives come to fruition, whether it’s successfully executing a recruitment campaign, collaborating with our preferred providers on partner enablement, or planning and pulling off our annual Tech Tour events. PlanetOne has a unique and dynamic group of partners, providers and team members and I truly enjoy the work hard/play hard mentality of our collective community.
- What are some of your favorite things to do when you aren’t working?
The list is long but mainly involves athletic endeavors like distance running, powder skiing, sailing and SUP (stand up paddle boarding). I love going on skiing adventures with my friends and family and we’ve been fortunate enough to ski together on four different continents (so far)!
- Do you have a ‘bucket list’? What are some of the things you would want to do if time or money were no object?
Travel has been my passion since I was a young child and I’ve been lucky to knock many exotic places off my list like Machu Pichu in Peru and Tiger’s Nest (Takstang) Monastery in Bhutan. I like to travel to places that are on the UNESCO World Heritage List so my next destination (when travel is safe again) is the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador to hike, dive and immerse in nature.
- Do you have a favorite saying, mantra or quote?
I have many, but one of my favorite quotes is from the famous anthropologist Margaret Meade “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” It seems more relevant than ever in our COVID-19 world whether in the context of the frontline medical professionals fighting to save lives or the scientists racing to find viable vaccines, to the unsung heroes like grocery store clerks showing up to work despite formidable risks to their personal safety.
- Is there anything else you would like to add that our partners and providers should know about you?
I feel fortunate to work with colleagues that are so driven by a commitment to excellence, and to be in a role to be able to share, support and positively impact those efforts. Success is best shared!
PlanetOne Expands Partner Support and Sales Teams
We live in interesting times. Yet, despite all of the uncertainty, there are some very bright spots that have emerged during this pandemic. PlanetOne continues to grow and remains committed to helping our partners navigate through what is becoming the “new normal.”
With that in mind, we are pleased to share the news that we have added a number of new team members in the last quarter to help further improve partner engagement, alignment and experience. Among the new team members joining are:
- Cassidy Blank, Partner Support Specialist. Cassidy is pioneering our pricing desk and handling transactional quote, broadband and pricing requests.
- Traci Barnes, Partner Success Manager. Traci’s role will serve as an added layer of support for our LEC team (AT&T, CenturyLink and Verizon).
- Michael Clayton, Director of Sales, Southeast. Michael is supporting current sales partners and managing partner recruitment and enablement covering the Southeast US.
- Max Schuman, National Alliance Manager. Max is responsible for supporting current sales partners and partner recruitment and enablement covering the West.
- Kyle Wood, Partner Engagement Liaison. Kyle is working on the marketing team and focusing on our preferred providers by helping to implement the elements of our preferred provider program.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team should you need assistance during this time. We are here to help, and thank you for your continued partnership with PlanetOne.
From the Heart: Frontline staff at Phoenix Children’s Hospital
PlanetOne employees look forward to our From the Heart initiatives each quarter not only as a way to give back to our communities but as a way to bond and strengthen our incredible culture over shared philanthropic experiences. The COVID-19 pandemic caused us to pivot many things in our business and our From the Heart endeavor this quarter was no exception – subject to completely rethinking our approach.
As part of the temporary move to a Work From Home (WFH) schedule, weekly Thursday afternoon Virtual Happy Hours were implemented for our employees and partners as an entertaining way to keep our community strong and share a few laughs. Over the course of eight weeks, we reveled in and enjoyed different themes, trivia contests, live music, and mystery guests. One of the final events was a special fundraiser tribute for the front-line workers of Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Arizona. PlanetOne Founder Ted Schuman pledged to donate a meal on behalf of each person who attended our special Virtual Happy Hour fundraiser. This resulted in 40 meals being served to the hardworking frontline Health Information Management staff at Phoenix Children’s Hospital during a special luncheon catered by Gadzooks on Thursday, May 14th. The staff were thrilled and PlanetOne was delighted to brighten the day for those who work tirelessly to support the families of critically ill children.
The PlanetOne family is grateful for our many blessings and wish all in our collective community continued safe surroundings and good health as we navigate through these uncertain times.
For more information on Phoenix Children’s Hospital please visit https://www.phoenixchildrens.org/
For more information on PlanetOne’s From the Heart initiatives visit https://www.planetone.net/company/fromtheheart/
PlanetOne 2020 Tech Tour:
The PlanetOne Tech Tour consists of educational and networking events focused on emerging technologies, industry trends and valuable product information. In hosting these events, it is our mission is to enable agents with the knowledge and tools to succeed in the ever-changing world of telecom & IT services. Each Tech Tour stop features executive speakers from our 2020 Preferred Providers, creating valuable engagement with some of highest regarded executives in the industry.
In April and May, we hosted a very successful series of “Virtual Tech Tours” and are looking forward to resuming our PlanetOne Tech Tour 2020 again this Fall with two face-to-face events:
Please consider joining us and have the chance to win great prizes and receive gift packages just for attending. There is no cost to attend and meals are complimentary. These events are exclusively for PlanetOne agents, prospective channel partners and our Preferred Providers.
In The News