In an industry that changes as fast as internet technology, time is a blessing and a curse. No one knows that better than Scott Seltzer, founder and CEO of ConnectMe, LLC. As a hosted voice over IP (VoIP) and unified communications service provider, business has boomed in the last decade as reliable internet and better routers have become more affordable – and more commonplace – among ConnectMe’s target audience. But as the market continues to grow, Scott finds himself lying awake at night worrying about staying ahead.
Internet Technology – A Fast Moving Industry
To give ConnectMe the infrastructure it needs to constantly improve and develop its offering, Scott has made a series of operational improvements and strategic hires this year, including bringing on a partner identification manager and partner engagement manager. With their help he hopes to more effectively target the sales channel that offers the biggest opportunity: managed service providers. After joining us at Duke University for the Birthing of Giants Fellowship Program last April, Scott set a lofty one-year goal for his business: Become the name on every major player within the telecommunications and internet technology channels.
After four months, Scott is on track to achieve his goal. Now, he’d like to accelerate his 30-plus percent growth rate. I caught up with Scott to hear more about how he honed in on this natural sales channel, what he’s doing to beat out his competitors, and where he sees his company in a few years.
Having Faith In Things To Come
ConntectMe began life in 2001 and began focusing its efforts on VoIP in 2010. Scott’s experience in telecommunications goes back as far as the 1990s. Before the advent of fast broadband, though, innovations like VoIP were not a viable option for the majority of companies. That’s all changed, and Scott’s faith in the business model is now paying off handsomely.
“There’s just better equipment out there. We have better equipment on our end, too,” he says. “So as time has gone on, we’ve been able to maintain better quality service and maintain reliability. It’s become more affordable and more reliable, and businesses are just starting to get the word.”
Sleeping With One Eye Open
Despite his company’s rapid growth, Scott is careful not to slow down and let the market overtake it, or give competitors a chance to get ahead.
“I always concern myself with whether our products and services are going to keep up with the marketplace, and whether others in the market try and leapfrog what we’re doing,” he says. “So I really have to stay up at night thinking about those things, because we’re in a rapidly changing industry.”
To win his “battle with time,” Scott is taking a two-pronged approach: constantly innovating to keep ConnectMe’s features relevant, and gathering as much of the market share as possible before any other company can take a slice of the pie.
“As our name gets out there a little more, other competitors that may be better funded than us may respond,” he says. “We have to be prepared for that.”
Solving Problems To Win Loyalty
As part of his mission to dominate the internet technology market, Scott spent time looking at the major sources of ConnectMe’s business and understanding how they all ticked. When it came to managed service providers in particular, Scott realized that customers within that channel cared deeply about simplifying billing to attain critical (and recurring) revenue.
Armed with that knowledge, he was able to offer a model that really resonated with these customers, and has since focused his marketing and outreach efforts on developing this pipeline. This lead generation effort has been so successful that Scott says he’s running 80 appointments per month, with close rates well within his desired range. Better yet, he’s earned these customers loyalty and repeat business.
“We found that the retention rate for customers that came from that channel was better,” he says. “The project was first put in place earlier this year and has now started to bear fruit. We’re where we wanted to be right now.”
Check out my extended interview with Scott Seltzer on Forbes.com.
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