Supreme Court Sets the Stage for Changes to VoIP Taxation

The U.S. Supreme Court has set the stage for VoIP service providers to challenge regulatory oversight by states.  It happened on October 21, 2019, when the Court decided not to hear the case  of Charter Advanced Services (MN), LLC, and Charter Advanced Services VIII (MN), LLC, v. Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC).

The case was an appeal of a District Court decision which found that Charter’s VoIP service is an information service that cannot be regulated/taxed by the states.    The situation stems from a decades-old FCC rule mandating that if VoIP is a telecommunications service, it gets taxed and regulated in the same way as “traditional” telecommunication services by both the federal and state authorities, but if it is an information service, it may not be subject to state regulation at all.

The dispute has been brewing for years because the FCC has steadfastly refused to say  whether VoIP is an information service or a telecommunications service, leaving it up to the courts to decide on an individual case basis (as a side note, in 2005 the FCC ruled that ‘computer-to-computer’ VoIP is an information service, and therefore not taxable, as a result of the efforts of Vectors keynote speaker Jeff Pulver).

By my count, 33 states currently impose taxes and other regulatory charges on VoIP services by relying on the “telecommunications” classification.  By choosing not to entertain Minnesota’s appeal of the lower court decision that VoIP is not a telecommunications service, the Supreme Court endorsed the idea that VoIP is an information service.  This is sure to have repercussions throughout the other 32 states.

On the other hand, this decision could be the impetus for Congress to step in and pass a law that subjects VoIP to more regulation – an outcome that might not be surprising in a political climate that looks favorably on oversight of cloud services.

SkySwitch Brings E911 Experts to Vectors 2019

With the passage of Kari’s Law, 2020 will bring changes to the E911 requirements for VoIP service providers.  The changes have special impact on providers that serve customers located in multi-tenant environments such as the retail, health care, and hospitality fields.  To help SkySwitch resellers learn more about the changing environment, SkySwitch is featuring an expert panel on E911 at Vectors 2019.   The panel will feature Fulton County Georgia’s Director of Emergency Services, Joe Barasoain, and the City of Baltimore’s Director of 911 Services, Captain Scott L. Brillman.

Joseph A. Barasoain became the Director of Emergency Services in September of 2014. His 26 years of experience spans three states and includes roles as police captain, chief of operations, emergency manager and law enforcement training instructor. Joe is a graduate of the University of Georgia Carl Vinson Institute Executive Leadership Program as well as the University of Richmond’s Professional Executive Leadership School. In addition, Joe holds a Master’s Degree in Management from St. Thomas University and is an APCO Registered Public Safety Leader.

Captain Scott L. Brillman is a public safety leader with expertise in emergency management and organizational change, serving in the Baltimore City Fire Department since 2003. Captain Brillman currently directs Baltimore’s 911 communication center, which under his tenure won the International 911 center “Team of the Year Award” from the International Association of Public Safety Communications Officials for the 911 center’s excellence in professionalism and performance in 2016. Captain Brillman proudly leads a workforce who handle more than 1.5 million emergency calls per year; the busiest in Maryland. He is currently tasked with transforming the organization into a “next generation ready” communications center, and with planning and implementing future innovations for the City’s 911 public safety system.

Vectors 2019 is SkySwitch’s annual user group conference developed to provide SkySwitch’s customers with valuable training and content. Attendees can take advantage of networking opportunities with SkySwitch partners, resellers and industry experts while sharpening their skills and learning about the latest tech advancements in the UCaaS industry.

Don’t miss your opportunity to get first-hand knowledge from experts in the field.  Register to attend Vectors 2019.

In UCaaS, Small is Big

A new report and podcast from Amy Lind, Research Manager with IDC’s Communications Services practice, has everyone talking about the “hidden” opportunity in UCaaS – SMBs.

Just today, Rich Tehrani from TMC observed how selling to SMBs creates more value for white label resellers:

As we’ve told you before, white-label in UCaaS and cloud phone systems can double the margins for resellers – perhaps from 20% to 40% and also increase the valuation of the reseller. The reason for the valuation bump has to do with the fact the reseller owns the relationship in this scenario so this revenue is more valuable to an acquirer.

And Peter Radizeski tweeted:

Of course, this is not news to the 350 SkySwitch resellers that are killing it in the market every day.  But it’s nice to see the rest of the world catching on.

Listen to Amy’s podcast here:

 

 

Selling UCaaS Has Never Been Easier, or Harder

 

Telecom industry expert and analyst Jon Arnold published a thoughtful article about selling UCaaS in which he observes that while interest from SMBs in buying cloud voice services is hot as ever, meeting that interest with a value proposition that resonates is not equally within reach for all providers.  Many providers have the technology, but struggle to put together the right sales and messaging.  Put another way, Jon’s research echoes what I say every day:  winning UCaaS business is cake if you have the right formula.

Not surprisingly, except for a select few, the providers that are seeing the most success are those that are part of a well executed channel strategy.  These providers can take advantage of scale to deliver a winning combination of technology and market positioning.

Jon calls out SkySwitch, Voyant and Intermedia as three examples of good channel execution.  

 

Savvy cloud providers have taken this to heart and recognized that the best way to support channels is to shore up those weaknesses. From my research, Voyant, SkySwitch, and Intermedia are good examples of this.

While I am pleased to be included in a grouping with much larger companies like Voyant and Intermedia, I would point out that SkySwitch is the only channel exclusive provider among the group.   As a white label solution provider, we never sell direct and we never compete with our channel.  As a result, we can be super focused on building strategies that let our reseller partners win deals against the bigger guys every day.  And our numbers bear this out, with SkySwitch resellers growing significantly faster than the industry average 18% CAGR.  Indeed it is difficult to find an engaged SkySwitch reseller that is not growing at high double or even triple digit rates annually.

And so, to paraphrase Jon’s conclusion: if you are looking to find a winning formula to sell UCaaS, do it the easy way and talk to SkySwitch first.

 

Jeff Pulver Speaks on Why “Now Is the Golden Age of Voice” on Telecom Reseller

In this podcast exclusive with Jeff Pulver, listeners get a special preview of Pulver’s session at Vectors 2019: Now Is the Best Time to Be Selling UCaaS. Jeff Pulver chats with Doug Green of Telecom Reseller, and explains his concept of “Purple Minutes” and why voice will always remain the ultimate app.

 

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“We’re now living in a time where you can envision a service wherever you are, as long as you’re connected to the internet, and deliver it. And that, to me, is magical,” Pulver says.

Make sure to listen to the full podcast episode on Telecom Reseller. And, if you’d like to learn more about Jeff Pulver and his keynote session at SkySwitch’s Vectors 2019, check out this blog post.

Business handshake relationship

SkySwitch Announces Strategic Relationship With Adaptiv Networks

Today, SkySwitch made the announcement of a newly formed, strategic relationship with Adaptiv Networks, a leader in cloud connectivity technologies. The announcement was made on the first day of Channel Partners Evolution — one of the largest channel events in the nation with over 3,200 channel professionals in attendance.

 

“SkySwitch strives to bring best-in-class solutions to our resellers,” said Eric Hernaez, Founder and President of SkySwitch. “With the demand for software-defined network services on the rise, SkySwitch has made the strategic decision to align with a company that leads the market. Adaptiv Networks stands out with powerful, frictionless cloud connectivity services.”

 

Featured on TMC’s Comm & Tech Blog, Rich Tehrani has his own take on the new relationship and describes the nature of the SD-WAN + UCaaS relationship perfectly:

Let’s face it, SD-WAN and UCaaS go together like peanut butter and chocolate. Real-time communications, after all, do benefit greatly from SD-WAN which allows communications (and admittedly, other high-priority applications) to be optimally transmitted and received.

Read the full article here.

 

Business handshake relationship

 

In response to the news, Maurice Nagle, Featured Columnist at UC Network Management, wrote:

It’s easy to say best-in-class — being best-in-class, on the other hand, is an entirely different story.  Communications and networking are constantly evolving, and this future-forward partnership is introducing a best-in-class way to enter the digital age.

Read the full article here.


Erik Linask, Group Editorial Director at MSPToday, spoke not only to the importance of the technologies in this new relationship but of the shared values between SkySwitch and Adaptiv:

When speaking with both Hernaez and Breton, it because clear that in addition to complementary technologies that are increasingly sought after together, the two companies share similar values and market outlooks and balanced expectations, which is at least as important as the technology itself.

Read the full article here.

For a quick briefing on the new relationship between SkySwitch and Adaptiv Networks, Channelnomics, a leading resource for trends that drive businesses, covered the details, background, impact and what makes this new relationship buzz-worthy. You can read their breakdown here.

Founder and President of SkySwitch, Eric Hernaez, Talks to Telecom Reseller About Distinctive Branding

On August 26th, 2019, Eric Hernaez, Founder and President of SkySwitch, sat down with Doug Green of Telecom Reseller to talk about what’s new with SkySwitch. From that conversation, arose the importance of creating products and services that stand out, and how SkySwitch prioritizes the success of their partners by offering white labeled services with the support for personalized, distinctive branding. The great support for personalized branding is just one of the ways SkySwitch makes telecom industry success easy for VARs, interconnects, agents and MSPs.

“MSPs are being forced to answer the question, ‘how do we move to the cloud?’ And we answer that question for them,” Eric Hernaez said. Being able to go to market quickly with innovative technologies that you can brand yourself, and completely own the customers you land, make SkySwitch an easy answer for MSPs interested in moving to the cloud.

In addition, Eric Hernaez made an announcement about a featured keynote speaker to participate in SkySwitch’s Vectors 2019. Jeff Pulver, a telecom luminary, will be speaking on “Now Is the Best Time to Be Selling UCaaS”.

To listen to the full podcast, make sure to visit Telecom Reseller.

Jayson Jones, VP of Sales, Talks to Telecom Reseller About How SkySwitch Plans to Transform Cloud Communications at Vectors 2019

Every year, SkySwitch hosts a conference for a VIP guest list: the SkySwitch partner community. This year’s conference, Vectors 2019, is full of educational sessions, training, networking and more, all designed to help resellers Transform Cloud Communications.

On Friday, August 30th, Jayson Jones, VP of Sales at SkySwitch, sat down with Telecom Reseller and discussed how SkySwitch as an organization is transforming cloud communications, and how Vectors 2019 is meant to empower the SkySwitch partner community.

“We empower our resellers, and help them get more business, improve their EBITDA and generate a better revenue stream for their businesses. This is for them,” Jayson Jones said.

To listen to the full podcast, make sure to head over to this story on Telecom Reseller.

 

Jeff Pulver, VoIP Pioneer, Joins SkySwitch at Vectors 2019

The entire team at SkySwitch is really excited that Jeff Pulver, Executive Vice Chairman at Skrumble, VoIP Pioneer, Entrepreneur and Co-founder of Vonage, will be joining us at Vectors 2019 as one of our featured keynote speakers. 

Vectors was developed to provide resellers with valuable content and hands-on-training sessions, led by industry experts, to help transform their UCaaS business. This years’ Vectors 2019 will feature three different tracks for resellers to learn best practices from:

  1. Business
  2. Sales & Marketing 
  3. Technical

Setting the tone for the technical track is UCaaS visionary, Jeff Pulver. Along with bringing his extensive telecom industry knowledge to Vectors 2019, Pulver will be giving resellers exclusive tips on how to skyrocket your business. Vo

Now Is The Best Time To Be Selling UCaaS

Technology is constantly evolving, and the UCaaS industry is no exception. More than ever, we are seeing an influx of companies adopting UCaaS and deploying it in their business structure. The increasing state of flexibility and constant advancement of features makes it a primetime for resellers to sell a variety of UCaaS products and services.

Pulver’s session, Now Is The Best Time To Be Selling UCaaS,” will focus on his experience in bringing new ideas to the world of telecom as he discusses economic, financial and technological trends. These trends are again converging to enhance productivity with technology, creating new opportunities for businesses.

Jeff Pulver, Executive Vice Chairman, Skrumble​

“The Clash was right, ‘The Future is Unwritten.’ We are now living in a time where communication services, which were impossible to deliver even a decade ago, can now be both envisioned and sold,” said Pulver. “Today, only our imagination binds us to how and when we communicate. I am looking forward to sharing my voice with the Vectors 2019 community.”​

About Jeff Pulver

Due to Pulver’s forward-thinking view surrounding voice communications, regulation and technology, and the result of his past efforts communicating with global regulatory agencies (including The VON Coalition), Pulver has become a telecom industry luminary who helped change how the world communicates. SkySwitch is confident that you will leave Pulver’s high-level technical session inspired and equipped with insider knowledge to take your business to the next level. 

Vectors 2019 is a one-of-a-kind conference created by SkySwitch, a white label channel-only platform, for resellers. So don’t miss out! Jeff Pulver and SkySwitch can’t wait to Transform Cloud Communications with you this October in Orlando, FL! 

Follow us on social for more updates on Jeff Pulver and Vectors 2019

Making the Next Sale: Keenan Gives Tips to Telecom Sales Teams at Vectors 2019

When it comes to accelerating business growth, we all know that sales plays an integral role. And when it comes to selling in the B2B world, the process tends to be long and complex, with many decision-makers and touchpoints involved along the way. 

 

Unlike consumer product sales, a B2B sale is a whole different animal, and sales representatives need to be fully prepared to successfully win the deal. However, when Forrester talked to executives about the time they spent with salespeople, this is what they had to say:

  • 77% said the reps didn’t understand the issues they faced or how their company’s product could help.

     

  • 57% said that sales reps weren’t knowledgeable about their industry.

     

  • 75% said the reps didn’t come in prepared with knowledge about their business.

     

Numbers like this support the notion that sales training is an incredibly important investment. But, what is even more important, is the quality of the sales training you choose for your team. According to a survey by Sales Performance International, 84% of all sales training is lost after just 90 days. That means you need to be very particular about the sales training you choose, and how you keep the training interesting and meaningful.

The Problems With Traditional Sales Training 

So, now your company is faced with two problems:

  1. Your sales team needs ongoing sales training to continuously improve and win more deals for your company.

     

  2. There are tons of costly sales training sessions, seminars, and consultants out there, but you don’t know how effective the training will actually be. Or, if it can be directly applied to the UCaaS niche.

The SkySwitch Solution

SkySwitch understands that our customer’s success is also our success. That’s why we’ve put some serious thought into how to resolve these problems:

  1. Need sales training? 
    SkySwitch has joined forces with Keenan (Founder and CEO at A Sales Guy Inc.) and he will be a featured keynote speaker at Vectors 2019.

     

  2. Want to be sure you’re spending money on effective sales training? 
    SkySwitch’s Vectors 2019 doesn’t host your typical, run-of-the-mill training — this is personalized training created specifically for SkySwitch resellers. We’ve chosen Keenan, an internationally recognized sales guru, to teach Vectors 2019 attendees how to apply the gap selling method to the UCaaS industry and win more deals.  

How Is Keenan’s Sales Training Different?

Keenan has been recognized by Forbes as one of the top 30 social salespeople in the world, and for good reason. His gap selling method focuses on core fundamentals and emphasizes that the salesperson needs to fully understand and anticipate the customers’ needs, all before the customer even realizes their own needs.

This is a proactive approach that cuts down on the complaints that C-Level executives expressed in the Forrester study: that sales reps don’t understand the issues they face, and that sales reps aren’t knowledgeable about their own industry.

At Vectors 2019, you’ll learn from Keenan because:

  • His methodology is a tried and true proactive approach.
  • His sessions at Vectors 2019 will be tailored for the UCaaS industry.
  • In addition to his keynote speech, Keenan will be leading personalized breakout sessions.
  • On top of that, Keenan will be hosting a post-conference webinar for Vectors 2019 attendees to ensure that everyone has retained the sales education and are equipped with everything needed to win more deals.

“Backed by SkySwitch’s innovative technologies, SkySwitch resellers and MSPs have limitless potential,” Keenan said.

“And with the UCaaS industry forecasted to be worth $79.3 billion by 2024, there’s honestly no better time to be selling UCaaS – especially if you’re selling it the right way. That’s where gap selling comes in, and why I couldn’t be more excited to join SkySwitch at Vectors 2019. ”

Keenan, Founder and CEO at A Sales Guy, Inc.

If you’re ready to radically transform your UCaaS sales with actionable tips from Keenan, then you do not want to miss out on these sales tips at Vectors 2019. 

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