Networking News

CableFinder Simplifies ‘Dark Art’ Of Connectivity Selling For Partners

Gina Narcisi

Service providers and partners are singing the praises of CableFinder, a tool that is simplifying the process of qualifying, quoting and contracting cable services. Partners say the tool is instrumental in cutting down the ‘very manual process’ of connectivity selling.

Arguably the biggest obstacle to selling connectivity has been right at the starting line: trying to determine which service providers are available in the customer’s—sometimes multiple—locations. Not to mention the next steps that involve getting a quote and closing the deal with a carrier. But one company is taking the process from weeks down to minutes.

“For agents and MSPs trying to deliver cable-based services, one of the big challenges we saw was that they had to pivot to three different systems to figure out whether it was Comcast’s, Cox’s or Spectrum’s territory every single time they worked with a customer,” CableFinder co-founder Jed Kenzy told CRN.

CableFinder is a tool that simplifies the process of qualifying, quoting and pricing and contracting cable services for solution providers. It starts by collapsing multiple carrier portals into one single pane, which can eliminate the research needed as well as any inaccuracies. From there, the tool can pull in any pricing or promotion information and speed up the contract process for partners, Kenzy said.

Launched in September 2019, the tool has so far yielded more than 1.3 million address searches, 20,000 quotes populated and 8,000 contracts generated. CableFinder has nearly 4,000 solution provider users—a growth rate of about 45 users per day, according to Kenzy.

[Related: Emerging Telecom Trends To Watch In 2021]

CableFinder’s first step offers a multisite look-up tool that can help partners find a cable provider for customers with multiple locations in minutes, without needing to contact or involve service providers or master agents. After that, the tool offers pricing information for fiber and coax services and DocuSign integration for automated contract generation and e-signature capabilities, according to the Castle Rock, Colo.-based privately held company.

“That’s the full automation that we have today with CableFinder—start with serviceability, promotion and pricing, quoting and contracting, all the way to signed signature,” Kenzy said. “We’ve been able to build in accuracy with APIs with the help of the carriers, and it’s really starting to disrupt the entire channel.”

CableFinder is integrated with several major U.S. service providers today: Comcast Business, Spectrum Business, Cox Business, Altice, WideOpenWest and Viasat. Since its launch less than two years ago, the tool has gained serious traction in the channel. In fact, six master agents have CableFinder in their portfolios, including Intelisys, Pax8, MicroCorp, Innovative Business Solutions, AppSmart and Avant.

Chicago-based Avant said that CableFinder has simplified the quoting and contracting process for its partners so much that it’s resulting in an easier sales experience and higher revenue.

Tim Basa, vice president of sales for AppSmart, said CableFinder is “eliminating hassle and confusion” with technology. “CableFinder streamlined the process of checking serviceability, quoting and creating contracts for all the cable companies. Partners that use our technology are more efficient, more productive and earning more commissions with less friction,” he said.

Intelisys, a ScanSource company, called CableFinder a “game-changing tool” because it can take checking serviceability to placing an order down from weeks to minutes. “CableFinder has decreased the turnaround time for our presales process exponentially, allowing for a fast, easy partner experience and a higher-volume output for us and our sales partners. This tool has revolutionized the cable experience in the channel,” said Jodi Williams, cable program director for Petaluma, Calif.-based Intelisys.

ClearConnect, a Castle Rock, Colo.-based solution provider and a heavy CableFinder user for the past eight months, previously resorted to paying for and using different serviceability tools and double-checking with suppliers to identify the right provider for customers. “On any given lead, we might go to as many three different serviceability tools,” ClearConnect President Ryan Cunningham said. “When you’re dealing with hundreds of leads a day into our team, that time adds up quickly.”

Despite a global pandemic, ClearConnect has seen more than 40 percent year-over-year growth and has been on-boarding new solutions advisers, who work directly with the company’s SMB customers. CableFinder has been instrumental in helping ClearConnect get new employees educated and up and running, Cunningham said. “This tool has really simplified our training of new solutions advisers and getting them to see success earlier because we’re training on multiple quoting and serviceability tools. I think we’ve lost business along the way by just not being as efficient as we are now,” he added.

Similar to solution providers, ease of doing business through the channel from the carrier perspective can be the difference between winning and losing customers, said Craig Schlagbaum, Comcast Business' channel chief. “Particularly for our existing partners, the easier it is [to work with] Comcast or any of the cable providers, the more likely [partners] are going to generate opportunities for us,” he said.

CableFinder is also helping carriers bring on new kinds of IT partners that have been hesitant to get into the telecom space. Schlagbaum and his team have been working to gain more participation from solution providers that see telecom contracting and pricing as “somewhat of a dark art,” he said.

“This is a foreign world for all these other partners that are in this IT partner ecosystem that may not have wanted to be in this space—it‘s just too hard, too much heavy lifting, or whatever resistance there was to the connectivity space—this tool eliminates that barrier to entry of participation,” Schlagbaum said.

Partners using CableFinder are generating incremental growth for Spectrum Business, said Chris Czekaj, vice president of strategic channels for the Stamford, Conn.-based provider. “Having this one-place-to-go repository has actually been a pretty trending transformational tool in the way we’re seeing business being done,” he said.

For partners working on multisite deals for connectivity and SD-WAN services, the tool is ground-breaking, Czekaj added. “It would usually take a couple of weeks really to aggregate all that information, where now you’re able to quote it within an hour or two and whoever is in front of that customer first wins the business.”

The demand for automation has been propelled by the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, Atlanta-based Cox Business is seeing a significant uptick—upward of 20 percent to 25 percent—in business now coming through automated platforms such as CableFinder, said John Muscarella, executive director of national indirect sales channels for Cox Business.

CableFinder was positioned “at the right place at the right time” to take advantage of the new trends in industry buying, Muscarella said. “We’re really doubling down with the CableFinder team and we’re expecting to see even more significant growth out of that space.”

The IT industry—not just telecom—is relying more on automation to deliver much-needed services, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the new working trends that it sparked, CableFinder’s Kenzy said.

“Tools like CableFinder are instrumental in being able to take something that is complicated—it took a very manual process to get an answer—and now it’s at your fingertips,” he said.



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