ChannelVision Playbook Volume 8

Earlier in 2018, the Cincinnati-based solution provider unveiled a product bundling program to the channel and then more recently promoted Penny Thurnau to vice president of strategic alliances, a position in which, among other things, she will be looking to add partners and increase Powernet’s pres- ence within indirect channels. Most recently, Powernet announced a merger with Florida-based Maxis360. We sat down with Thurnau to discuss Power- net’s momentum in the channel. ChannelVision: How are the new bundle options helping to streamline the sales process for partners, while satisfying the emerging needs of business end users? Penny Thurnau: The whole idea was to give agents more control over how they sell and to support them while they do it. Customized bundling lets partners choose solutions from Powernet’s full- service lineup including voice, data, SD- WAN, managed firewall and more. The included products are ideal for solving common technology woes within multi- location businesses such as poor inter- net connectivity, lack of disaster recovery options, poor IT staffing or security vul- nerabilities. And all the packaged solu- tions are fully managed with dedicated engineering resources prepared to make implementation as simple as possible. CV: Can you talk about the new ‘Dial an Engineer’program and how it supports agents in the field when selling these bundles? PT: The initiative was created in an effort to give agents an additional level of support when they are out in the field making sales. If an agent ever feels unsure of the technical aspects of various solutions or is in a sales meeting and needs immediate help closing a deal or answering a technical question, they have the luxury of bring- ing an expert sales engineer into the sale to provide immediate assistance. It is on-demand support from a dedicated sales engineer to help secure sales and inform clients on Powernet services. CV: Powernet also recently announced a merger with Florida-based Maxis360, but a joint-venture between the two companies started in 2016. Can you talk about how this relationship evolved andwhat ultimately led to the decision to merge? PT: Actually it evolved due to our MDU product offering and the demand for a technology partner in Florida. Maxis was there, and they were easy to work with. That’s what we look for in a partnership. CV: How do the two companies’ product portfolios and expertise complement each other? PT: Powernet will focus on creating the communications structure, while Maxis360 ensures the organization has the technology to meet its objectives and be safe from any threats. Together, as one united company, we are able to offer our agents a one-stop-shop for all of their telephony/technology needs. Our goal is to make it as simple as possible for our agents and their cli- ents, while providing the best product and services being offered today. Additionally, combing the two compa- nies also has brought together some of Adding Power to the Channel I t’s been a busy year in Powernet’s channel program. the best sales and engineering teams in the industry today. During the past two years we have been able to grow and develop our employees to be experts on not only communications or security but rather well-rounded technology experts that will be assets to our agents for years to come.    CV: How do you see your channel partners benefiting the most from the merger in the near term? PT: With a growing pool of experi- enced engineers and rapidly increas- ing product offerings, the combined offering of Powernet and Maxis360 solutions will allow the company to better service its agents. Both organizations bring a high level of expertise in a variety of technology solutions including voice, data, Wi-Fi and IT managed services. This merger will allow us to fur- ther differentiate ourselves from competitors through our ability to provide a complete and innovative solution with the latest and most advanced technology available in an environment where technology is rapidly advancing on a daily basis. Ultimately, it comes down to more skilled and diverse engineering teams to help our agents make big- ger and better sales and earn big- ger commissions. CV: Any other new or developing initiatives partners should be looking toward? PT: Powernet will be launching an IT managed services offering at ChannelPartners, and a secu- rity offering is coming in the fourth quarter. We want to make it easy for agents to bring a complete solution to their customers – from telephony to IT management and security.   o Powernet’s Penny Thurnau 14 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK