PlanetOne Kicks Off Telecom Tour 2013 with Denver Event

Like skiers rejoicing in a fresh round of powder for Colorado’s famous ski slopes, channel partners for Scottsdale-based master agency PlanetOne are celebrating the return of the PlanetOne Telecom Tour.

The PlanetOne leadership team kicked off the 2013 Telecom Tour on January 15 at the Inverness Hotel & Conference Center in Denver, featuring a mix of agents, carrier execs, media and guests, all gathered for a combination of networking and education opportunities.

Agent partners, who are invited to attend Telecom Tour events at no charge, attended an in-depth panel session and Q&As with a cross-section of top channel executives. Speakers included Michael Rouleau, senior vice president of business development and strategy at tw telecom; Blake Wetzel, vice president of alternate channels business markets group at CenturyLink; Jason Ness, vice president of sales and engineering at Telnes Broadband; and Jeffrey Pearl, senior vice president of sales at MegaPath.

“Not only are PlanetOne shows fun, they are extremely informative,” said Lucas Salvage, vice president of business development at On Call Telecom. “Very rarely do agents get an opportunity to sit and collaborate with their peers while hearing the latest information and technology trends from C-level executives at top tier providers. I would highly recommend attending any of the PlanetOne road shows.”

The opportunity to open a dialogue between suppliers and agents is a unique aspect of PlanetOne Telecom Tour events, noted attendee Tim Painton, president of Guardian Broadband. “PlanetOne always brings a great selection of providers to the table, and the opportunity to network with higher-level executives within these suppliers is absolutely a critical benefit,” he said. “The relationships that we can build from these high-energy, worthwhile and valuable events are real differentiators for our business.”

Vendors meanwhile used the event to showcase new technologies. “I consider PlanetOne and its partners as our extended sales force, and my goal through these events is not only to provide training on the products, but also how to sell it,” said MegaPath’s Pearl, who demonstrated the company’s HD hosted voice and video at the event.

He explained, “We want partners to be comfortable using hosted voice and video themselves, and then be able to demo it. High-definition voice and video sells itself, but you have to take the fear out of it for sales because these are new products for the industry. This event gives me a marquee showcase to do that.”

The blend of education and relationship-building also offered insight for what’s ahead, agents said. “This is a great opportunity to get a big-picture overview to help set business priorities,” said Patrick Etheridge, president at Telecom Efficient. “We got a view into carrier visions for 2013, and it’s a very positive thing to know what direction they’re going in, but also got a retrospective on 2012. That included any issues from 2012 and what they’re doing to resolve them and lessons learned—all extremely valuable, exclusive intelligence as we build our business.”

For instance, CenturyLink’s focus on cloud computing as the future central direction of the industry made an impression on him. “The idea of migrating away from traditional telecom services is a message that really resonated,” Etheridge said. “That will be important for my business going forward.”

The half-day session was hosted by PlanetOne CEO Ted Schuman, and featured refreshment breaks, a complimentary lunch and drawings for prizes. A private happy hour at The Inverness followed by dinner and a tour of Denver hot spots with several vendors rounded out the program.

“On top of the massive business value that these events provide, we also always have a lot of fun,” added Painton. “Inherently, that sense of appreciation for its partners is a hallmark of the PlanetOne organization.”

“Denver was a huge success, and I’ve received such great feedback from our sales partners,” said Lauren Shapiro, president at PlanetOne. “They loved the venue, presentations and one-on-one time with our 14 Preferred Vendors. This is what we devote ourselves to, and it’s gratifying to know that we delivered yet once again.”

PlanetOne will next bring its top sales partners to sunny Scottsdale, Ariz. for more channel executive networking and a bird’s eye view of all the action at the Phoenix Open PGA tour stop.

“We’ve only got one week to catch our breath before we host our top performers in our suite at the Phoenix Open on the 16th hole,” Shapiro said. “Be sure to watch for us on the Golf Channel – you’ll surely recognize the channel chiefs and many of the PlantOne team amongst the screaming fans.”

The next 2013 PlanetOne Telecom Tour event will take place in Los Angeles, April 30.

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