Kirk Waddell, One Source executive vice president of technology PROFILE 58 CHANNEL V ISION | June, 2021 One Source’s story started 26 years ago, with the goal of providing best-in-class telecom services to its regional businesses and a focus on service and relationships. Fast for- ward to 2021, and it is now 300 em- ployees strong while servicing more than 1,000 clients across 40,000 loca- tions nationwide. One Source started like many other traditional agents. A small team hunting down any and every small, local business to build its client base. As it saw continued success, it also started to see the volume of day-to- day administrative tasks increase exponentially. “We started to scale behaving as a traditional agent,” said Kirk Waddell, executive vice president of technol- ogy. “As our customer base grew, so did the demand for service which comes with all of the administra- tive and operation support agents get pulled into just by proximity,” he explained. “We found the immense value in the administrative support that agents provide their customers, which became a focus for us.” From 2006 to 2010, One Source grew from 23 to 60 employees while developing its billing, business analy- sis, service delivery and developer teams. While the building out of these teams were necessary, the most criti- cal investment came via the develop- ment of a proprietary back-office plat - form, which automated the tedious administrative tasks that were previ- ously stunting company growth. By eliminating a myriad of back- office administrative chores, Waddell said it resulted in “a shift back to hunting mode versus be- ing drowned in customer support mode while seeing a huge uptick in client satisfaction.” The results from 2010 to 2014 speak for themselves, as One Source was able to grow to more than 500 cus- tomers with 100 employees and mo- mentum building each year. In 2015, One Source developed a best-in-class customer facing portal that provides full visibility into inven- tory, orders, invoices and help desk tickets. With a seamless integration between One Source’s internal sys- tems, the introduction of the customer portal reduced low-value customer touch points by 32 percent, again al- lowing that time to be re-focused on revenue driving activities. “The combination of the visual the portal presented along with the time it gave us back, allowed us to start punching in a weight class on the sales front we had not previously,” said Waddell. From 2016 to 2020, One Source tripled its business while growing its team to 300 across four offices nation - wide to provide its clients with 24/7 U.S.-based support. What is most impressive is that unlike most high- growth organizations, more than 90 percent of its team holds operations or customer service focused roles. During this time of growth, an epiphany evolved because of One Source’s normal cadence of interac- tions with its channel managers at the service providers. Waddell recalled, “Our channel managers kept saying, ‘You guys have figured out a way to continue to scale without getting bogged down in the day-to-day chal- lenges with servicing clients, I wish we could get our other partners doing the same.’” As a service-led organization, it was time to not only focus on its own clients but also friends in the agent community by offering them the ability to use its back-office as if their own. Waddell explained how One Source recognized that telecom agents often reach a “critical decision point.” De- ciding whether to invest in back-office administration or focus on selling. One Source had arrived at an agent-helping-agent model and was starting to enable other agents to chase the same ability to scale as it had expe- rienced during the last decade. “The agents we work with were kind of one foot in and one foot out of that traditional support aspect: they didn’t want to do it, but they have to do it,” Waddell said. “So, we were able to enable these agents with the model we had created by taking a lot of the day-to-day ad- ministrative support that agents get pulled into and basically take that off of them.” When asked what question they get most from new agents exploring partnering with One Source, “How do you compare to my master agency?” Waddell stated, “We want to clearly differentiate ourselves in that we are not a master agency. I’m not a master agent in the same lens as Telarus, Intelesys or any number of others. We use those master agencies the same as any other agency would.” o For more information on One Source and how they enable the com- munity, contact John O’Brien, senior channel manager at 828-244-8080; email at; or visit online at www.One- One Source’s Journey from Small Agency to Agent Enablement