Nationwide master agency PlanetOne Communications has expanded its channel team further. Eric Cooke is joining as senior technology advisor, while Jake Schuman will fill the role of partner development manager. Both report to Jonathan Hartman, vice president of sales, and will soon be based in a newly-opened PlanetOne office in the Irvine, Calif. area in Orange County.
“As we continue to experience record-breaking growth in 2014, we are adding these two new positions to support our growing partner community,” said PlanetOne president Lauren Shapiro. “And, our expansion into Southern California with a new office is enormously exciting and indicative of our ongoing investment in supporting all of our channel partners where they live and work.”
In the newly created role of senior technology advisor, Cooke, a Certified Telecom Professional (CTP), will focus on up-selling new solutions and innovations to the PlanetOne embedded customer base, while supporting customer retention efforts in conjunction with sales partners.
He brings 16 years of telecom experience to PlanetOne, most recently from Windstream, where he spent six and a half years in channel-specific roles supporting multiple partners.
“I’m going to be working directly with agents to identify opportunities within existing customers for new technology services and products, such as cloud services and disaster recovery,” he said. “We’ll tackle expiring contracts, re-engage those customers and find the next generation of services that we can move them to. I feel that it’s going to be an important resource for agents, who are looking to maintain their current revenue and accounts while transitioning customers to the right mix of network services and modernized technology.”
His role at PlanetOne is meant to add value for partners who are looking to expand their business into fresh revenue streams while minimizing churn, according to Hartman.
“We are seeing our partners focused on broader, more comprehensive solutions for their customers, increasing the overall revenue associated with each sale,” said Hartman. “PlanetOne provides a platform for strategic interaction along with tools and education such as the Toolbox, equipping our partners to have the business discussions with executives needed to capture more than just traditional telecom services.”
Schuman meanwhile will be responsible for supporting partners in Southern California while remaining primarily focused on bringing on new VARs, MSPs and agents in the southwest region. Also a CTP, he comes to PlanetOne after holding positions at Cbeyond and Windstream, where he was solely dedicated to channel management.
“I’m really excited to give our partners a representative in the West Coast market, and I look forward to developing new strategic relationships for PlanetOne, which has an incredible reputation and a great group of employees who live and breathe the channel every day,” Schuman noted. “The opening of our Orange County office is a critical step in the ongoing, phenomenal growth of this company and our partners’ business as we continue to transition to larger accounts and into the convergence of telecom and IT.”
Hartman added, “The addition of Jake and Erik to the PlanetOne team will further compliment the resource base available to PlanetOne’s partners. Jake will be responsible for recruiting and developing partners, driving awareness of the vast service sets that are now being sold through the channel. Eric’s focus will be in assisting partners in upgrading their embedded base of clients from legacy services to cloud and other IT services. Both positions will increase and secure new revenue streams for our partners.”
The Orange County office is set to open by the fall. Until then, both Cooke and Schuman will be based out of the company’s Scottsdale headquarters.