The consulting agent industry has changed considerably, and so has the provider industry — there are enormous, exciting changes happening right now. Agents don’t survive long if they don’t know how to advise on new technologies like SD-WAN and cloud technologies and strategy. The industry has changed from a legacy telecommunications industry (think legacy AT&T, Verizon, etc.) with many players and competitors, to a merging industry with fewer large players vying for the same business around the country. If we look back a few years, there are many companies that just don’t exist anymore – and not just because of big mergers that gobbled up giants like Level 3 and XO. Consolidation means fewer yet larger providers, and what they eventually become, aside from selling internet and phone service, is essentially a logo and contract vehicle for emerging technologies. All big telecom providers like AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink are selling SD-WAN, cloud services and consolidated broadband — but they’re typically not the actual creations of those companies. So, what does the customer actually purchase? Sure, they may be buying Velocloud from AT&T, but what they’re really buying is the team behind the product and the comfort of a brand.
Shamrock Consulting Group provides expert solutions for telecom, datacom, colocation, fiber and public and private cloud. Shamrock does everything from writing and running complex RFP’s for larger opportunities, to simple shopping for smaller clients.
They analyze billing to come up with an accurate ROI for a project, get the best pricing and contract language possible, makes sure everything is installed in a timely manner, and manage the deal until the client is 100% satisfied. They have over 150 carriers in their growing portfolio, which ensures that their clients always get the best available services and options for the best available price. The organization does everything from researching fiber maps, to digging into the finances of each deal, to working in the best legal language possible. They work from beginning to end on solutions for a variety of different technologies, and their goal is to establish a long-term partnership with their clients based on trust while cutting their time and effort by an average of 80%.
Fascinating Journey of Shamrock Consulting Group
The journey for Shamrock has been one of a single owner, to the first sales and support people, to a formal company, and it’s been a fun and rewarding journey. President and CEO Paul Cooney, along with his business partner and VP
Ben Ferguson, developed their initial push to focus on customer acquisition and revenue, which Shamrock has always done very well. They had very little support and staff, no processes, and if you sold a deal, you had to do everything.
The initial struggle was just about getting revenue at the door. It was pretty simple – they were not manufacturing products or anything like that – they had to sell services and keep customers happy. The biggest turning point was after about a year and a half when Shamrock started hiring support people for non-sales-related roles. Paul is a big fan of hiring people to do specific jobs, so each team member can focus on their core role. As they grow, what Paul sees is simply more specialization of work. Every hire changes the dynamic of the company, and luckily for them, everyone who has come on board has provided an immensely positive impact on the team as a whole.
Paul Cooney, The Man behind Shamrock Consulting Group
Paul grew up in the small town of Pleasantville, NY and graduated from the University of Richmond. After moving to Boston, he found early success selling fixed wireless for Teligent, Inc. (a dot-com casualty) in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Seeking stability during the tumultuous burst of the dot-coms and ubiquitous telecom bankruptcies, he headed out West to Hermosa Beach, CA and worked for AT&T as an enterprise sales representative. Paul worked his way up to the top rep in the country before taking over the struggling Los Angeles sales team. According to Paul, the turnaround for the LA sales team was lengthy yet rewarding. “It took me 6 months to turn the team around,” Paul says, “But we eventually went from the worst team in the country to consistently one of the best.”
Shamrock Sees Industry Challenges as Opportunities to Excel
The biggest challenges are, in Paul’s opinion, typically a good thing for Shamrock. It’s a challenge for customers to keep up with ever-changing technology trends, but fortunately that’s something Shamrock does well. They have a fluid business model and can constantly bring on new partnerships to meet the needs of the changing technology trends. A few years ago, nobody was selling cloud services, and now they’re not only selling cloud, but are also providing cloud management applications to help with cost analytics and projections. Company mergers are a constant, new competitors will always pop up, and technologies will always evolve. That’s the way their industry moves, and Paul believes that competition and challenges across an industry helps to separate the top agents from the rest.
The Future is Bright for Shamrock
Continued growth, new product solutions and more formalized processes are all in the near future for Shamrock. They are hiring more superstars, which is always a mix of stress and excitement – the company really wants everyone to fit into the “family.” They are opening up two new offices soon, and that will bring its own set of natural challenges, but in a good way – they know that they need to expand, and they’re excited about the opportunity to take over new markets. In the past few years they have been implementing formal processes and systems, which have helped them to keep track of everything, from orders to contracts to commissions. The future for Shamrock is expansion by way of doing more of the same, with more people, in more places.