ChannelVision Playbook Volume 8

trying to jam the carrier solution into the customer’s environment.” Longtime Intelisys partner Jack Zoblin from Cory Communications added, “After working directly for carriers for many years, I saw a big opportunity with small to mid-market businesses. I felt that I could make a positive impact by shopping on their behalf, allowing them to spend their time running their businesses instead of worrying about managing their tele- communications.” But the risks involved are monu- mental, and many channel managers and support professionals on the car- rier side can fail to empathize with agents during the toughest of times. They don’t always understand that agents are under a high level of stress during customer outages (for a variety of reasons – potential lost commis- sions being one of them), and in turn can be dismissive, often causing the stress levels to jump even higher. The risks associated with being an agent, combined with the speed at which new technology is arising, as well as the sheer number of suppliers in the market, has led to the proliferation of the national master agent channel. Hun- dreds of agents during the last 20 years have had supplier contracts terminated over items including but not limited to: failure to meet quotas, moving custom- ers due to chronic service problems, bankruptcy by the supplier and even simply termination for convenience. Keeping the concept of empathy at the forefront, often time suppliers fail to remember that agents are running a business. They have their own retention to consider, and if a supplier is not per- forming up to the expectations set by the customer, the agent must do what it takes to keep their lights on. “We on the carrier side get myo- pic in the goals that we set for our programs, and we project them onto our partners,” said Curt Allen, former president of national master agent X4, and current channel chief at Wind- stream. “I never liked having carriers tell me what success looked like when I operated my master agency. In my new role at Windstream Enterprise, the way we approach goal setting with our partners is by uncovering their definition of success first, and build- ing to that goal. Frankly, what we think the partner should do is irrelevant; it is all about what they believe is best for their businesses.” National master agents act as a buf- fer zone between suppliers and agents, giving agents the security of protected commissions while also providing an additional layer of support and even business coaching. As recently as five years ago, the role of the master agent was essentially as a price broker, giv- ing selling agents the ability to get multiple quotes across multiple sup- pliers for the same solution. In today’s complex telecom marketplace, it’s not ©2018 Vivial Media LLC. All rights reserved. Configurable Product Suite Systems Integration Support Ongoing Technical Product Support World-class Sales Training & Educational Webinars Pre-designed & Editable Sales & Marketing Materials The ONLY partner to offer online+social+mobile marketing in one platform. Vivial's marketing platform is the only of its kind to integrate mobile into its digital marketing solutions. We stand out from the crowd so you can too. Integrated Solutions Backed by Dedicated Support Experience the power of online+social+mobile. Stop by booth 930 at Channel Partners Evolution 19 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK