ChannelVision Playbook Volume 8

produce their own collateral as well, highlighting the primary value proposi- tion for each supplier as summarized through the eyes of an agent. Some master agents (Telarus being a nota- ble one) will put together “battle cards” that selling agents can use when they are out in front of customers. This added benefit keeps agents from en- gaging suppliers in applications that are not a good fit for that supplier. Trouble Ticketing/Escalations – Master agents can take on trouble ticketing and escalations, often know- ing when to escalate and who the ap- propriate escalation is. This saves time on both sides: agents can sell multiple suppliers without the need to learn the organizational chart for each of them; suppliers can leverage the master agent personnel to prevent unneces- sary escalations. Training – One of the greatest challenges for any supplier is to ensure that agents are spreading the correct information to potential customers regarding its products and services. It is very difficult to get agents to participate consistently in training sessions and webinars due to the sheer lack of time available in the business day. Master agents provide a great benefit by often des- ignating personnel for the specific purpose of learning each supplier’s nuances. In turn, when agents lever- age master agents for quoting sup- port, the master agent can push the necessary information down to the selling partner. Quotas/Commissions – Master agents take on the supplier quotas on behalf of their partners, and in turn reduce the number of payments that each supplier has to generate each month. This in turn reduces the num- ber of commission disputes because master agents generally will research and only engage the supplier when necessary. This eases the burden on suppliers’ accounting and commis- sion teams. Here is the bottom line: the agent channel is vital to the growth of any modern-day telecom supplier. Agents al- low suppliers to extend their brands far beyond the brick-and-mortar walls of their office facilities, and they provide access to existing relationships that direct sales professionals might otherwise not have. As the industry continues to evolve, master agents, suppliers and selling agents must work together to educate the marketplace and reduce complexity in an extremely complex industry. If all three facets of the chan- nel embrace each other’s’ benefits and roles, all parties – especially the technology buyer – will win. o Bruce Wirt has 15 years in channel sales leadership and is currently the channel chief at Tele- system, which includes the LSI organization as well. Connect with him on LinkedIN to share your success stories. 21 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK