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channel management

However, not everyone is convinced

that bigger is always better. Many in-

dividuals believe in the tried-and-true

notion of “quality over quantity.”

Consider longtime master agency

Telegration. For founder Denis Raue

and company, success is less about

being the biggest and more about

working with the best, and doing it bet-

ter than their competitors.

“We are a boutique master agent for

top performers,” says Tim Basa, who

recently was brought on by Raue to

serve as president of Telegration. “We

don’t have 4,000 sub-agents; that’s not

our model. We have a curated group

of high-performing sales partners that

interact with us every day.”

Sometimes it seems the whole

world is focused on exponential growth

whereas, “We want to be the best part-

ner for the best partners,” says Basa.

That’s not to suggest Telegration,

established all the way back in 1990,

has been content to rest on its laurels.

Basa assuming his role as president

marks his return to the master agency

after 12 years of serving in executive

roles at channel providers including

Nitel and BullsEye, and he certainly

can speak to the changes the industry

has undergone in that time.

“If you go back 12 years to 2005,

we didn’t even have an iPhone,” re-

calls Basa.

Back then, “telecom products” were

relatively few in number, were provid-

ed by a manageable number of voice

and data suppliers and generally were

purchased by telecom departments

within an organization. Today, the

number of products available to agents

has exploded, as has the rate of intro-

duction and adoption of new technolo-

gies. Likewise, says Basa, “In the last

decade, thousands of providers have

been added to the marketplace,” while

buying decisions today are largely

made by cross-functional groups.

In short, “the world is way more

complicated,” says Basa.

Now more than ever, it’s incumbent

upon master agents such as Telegra-

tion “to declutter the marketplace,”

he says, “to simplify the complexity to

achieve the best possible result for our

sales partners and end user clients.”

That requires a fair share of platforms

and capabilities. Top-selling agents, af-

ter all, want to spend their time selling,

not managing their accounts, trouble

tickets and commissions, says Basa.

“Let’s face it. If you’re busy selling

every day, you can’t be busy managing

all the other back office items, so our

platform really is a type of back office

as-a-service,” says Basa.

Since it also operates in the capac-

ity of a reseller, Telegration has made

the necessary investments in pro-

cesses and platforms, says Basa, from

billing and customer care to project

management and sales engineering to

auditing and automation. Basa sees

these capabilities as the pillars of be-

ing a top master agent, but believes

the real value is in the people on the

Telegration team.

“The best service quotes are not

necessarily fast, automated quotes from

a machine,” he says. “A good quote

comes from interacting with another

person, discussing a specialized busi-

ness application, and then using our

knowledge of the service providers and

technologies available to match that up

with our sales partner out in the field.”

Sales partners want to be able to

send an email and get back a response,

says Basa. They want to brainstorm

about a solution with a sales engineer,

create a Visio diagram and collaborate

with carrier partners and the Telegration

solution experts to create the best pos-

sible solution.

“We believe that resources are very

important, so we have made significant

investments in quoting, training and

project management tools. All of our

systems are very scalable and have

been built on,

” Basa

continues, “but we’ve heard resonating

feedback from our top-performing sales

producers: they like the people more

than the systems.”

“Can people be a platform?” he asks.

In a world of artificial intelligence and

mega-merger master agencies, messag-

es that emphasize “quality over quan-

tity” and the power of a personal touch

may not be the sexiest sell, and they are

unlikely to attract the most attention. But

it’s the type of thinking that Telegration

believes sets it up as the best option for

the best-selling agents.

“Today’s marketplace is more chal-

lenging than ever,” says Basa, “and we

believe the key to a great partner ex-

perience is a combination of expertise,

speed and clarity.”





n an era of channel consolidation, when mergers and ac-

quisitions happen fast, it’s easy for even a casual observer

to assume that it’s time “to go big or go home.”

Telegration puts its stamp on

the master agent model




July - August, 2017