Interview with Andy Potts, Senior Product Sales Specialist, AppSmart Energy Services

We recently sat down with AppSmart’s Andy Potts for a conversation regarding energy sector trends for the remainder of 2022 – and his explanation for the rise of energy costs into the new year. He shared that businesses that switch from a reactive to a proactive approach stand to better position themselves for managing their energy needs for the future. Keep reading to discover Andy’s insights. To learn more, join us on Tuesday, October 18 as Andy leads our webinar on how NXTSYS partners that have historically sold telecom and technology solutions can also sell energy solutions at a time when businesses desperately need guidance to get those expenses under control.

NXTSYS: Can you briefly describe your professional background and areas of expertise?

Potts: I've been in the energy space since 1997. I've spent the majority of my 25-year energy career working at a global energy consulting firm helping large industrial and commercial companies manage their energy usage and energy expenses. My specific area of expertise is in energy procurement and energy commodity price risk management.

NXTSYS: What trends have you noticed lately in the energy industry that people should be paying attention to?

Potts: With energy commodity prices surging to levels not seen in over a decade that are three to four times higher than they had been over the last few years, more businesses now are focusing on both procurement and long-term price risk management strategies for electricity and natural gas.

Higher energy costs are also forcing many businesses to start thinking about implementing energy efficiency projects and other out-of-the box strategies as they relate to making long-term investments in on-site solar, LED lighting, and battery storage systems.

NXTSYS: Do you have any market trend projections for the industry as we head into Q4 of 2022 and the beginning of 2023?

Potts: Higher energy prices aren't going away anytime soon. The U.S. has become a very tight market as it relates to supply and demand for energy commodities. Also, many businesses are adopting sustainability and ESG goals and objectives that will continue to make energy a hot topic over the next several years.

NXTSYS: As business technology needs continue to evolve through the aftermath of the pandemic, how is your company innovating to support the needs of U.S. businesses?

Potts: A few years ago, AppSmart recognized that energy was going to be a major issue for many businesses, which created the need for better ongoing management. We recognized that a lot of businesses don’t have a go-to person that specializes in energy that they could trust like they do with telecom and technology. So the question was – why couldn't their trusted advisor in the telecom and technology space also be the same person who could offer energy solutions?

Filling that trusted advisor role that lends the support and resources they need for different energy solutions was a no-brainer, and has been extremely successful. Plus with traditional energy and telecom utilities starting to merge, being able to offer and cross-sell energy solutions just made sense.

NXTSYS: In your view, what makes NXTSYS different from other technology services distributors (master agents)?

Potts: NXTSYS provides exceptional service to their sales agents for both pre-sale and post-sale activities. This, coupled with the sales engineering services offered by AppSmart, gives NXTSYS an unequaled competitive advantage.

NXTSYS: Tell us about the upcoming webinar on October 18, 2022. What will you be sharing? What do you hope people will walk away with?

Potts: This will be an opportunity for me to discuss AppSmart’s entire suite of energy service offerings along with the services and products that are gaining traction with businesses across the country. My hope is that someone who's been selling telecom and technology solutions realizes just how easy it is to also sell energy, and how incorporating energy into conversations with customers could open the door for some great value-add sales in a time when businesses desperately need help.

Plus, with the AppSmart Energy team and our energy provider base doing the bulk of the heavy lifting during the sales process, we don’t have to ask partners to become an expert in energy. That's why we're here.

NXTSYS: What do you wish more people knew about managing the energy needs and spending for large, global, industrial and commercial businesses?

Potts: I wish that more people understood that energy prices aren't static and that energy prices are constantly in flux. Energy is also valued differently depending on the region of the country you're in for a variety of different reasons. When energy prices are low, like they had been for the last few years, many businesses don’t pay much attention to energy expenses.

It took a slap in the face of surging prices for many businesses to start thinking about whether or not there was a better way to manage their energy needs – and to realize that being proactive instead of reactive would be a better strategy.

NXTSYS: I know that the Energy Division of AppSmart has a strong competitive advantage. What energy services are flying off the shelf right now for your sales partners?

Potts: Energy procurement has been a very attractive option for businesses located in deregulated energy markets. Being able to lock or fix their future energy costs at set rates, like old school long-distance, has been extremely popular. Also, we've seen a lot of interest in project work like businesses installing on-site solar since it makes sense economically in many parts of the country.

Leveraging an energy strategy project like solar with the need to tackle sustainability has been a win-win for many businesses. We also have a fantastic water optimization partner that we work with that has seen tremendous success and provided huge savings in an area that often gets overlooked.

Lastly, EV charging solutions are skyrocketing in sales right now as businesses of all types in all sorts of industries are having to answer the question of "what will their EV charging strategy be?" There hasn't been a better time to be in the energy business or to learn how to cross sell energy solutions.

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