Arizona-based master agency PlanetOne Communications has launched the PlanetOne Telecom Partner Toolbox.
Featuring a mix of professionally developed reports, slide shows, videos, blogs, infographics and more, the PlanetOne Telecom Partner Toolbox offers information and marketing tools that are designed to be easy to use throughout the sales cycle, from generating leads to growing and expanding relationships. Partners can download the materials and use them in their own presentations and marketing pieces as well.
“I could not be more excited to cut the ribbon on what has been the fruit of months of development,” said PlanetOne CEO Ted Schuman. “This new self-contained portal…has been designed to do something that’s never been done before—it offers an objective resource center, not tied to any vendor, that gives partners tools exclusively designed to be end-user facing. From learning more about our industry, spotting new opportunities, building a larger up-market revenue stream while serving customers better, and closing more business, the resources empower our sales partners to distinguish themselves in the market by enhancing their value with clientele.”
PlanetOne expects to add new content to the site daily and weekly, to provide channel partners with the latest intelligence on an ongoing basis.
“The idea of something like the Toolbox has been something we’ve talked about in the past, but PlanetOne is really putting a lot of investment behind this and making it into a reality,” said Dominic Antonini, president of Telecom Brokers. “The ability to add an objective layer of information onto what vendors themselves provide will really supplement the sales process in a tangible, totally unique way.”
Meanwhile, the move to the cloud and the shift to a borderless business spurred on by anywhere, anytime access to company resources is driving a confluence between IT and telecom that has never been seen in the past. The Toolbox supports sales partners with sales tips and marketing advice as they transition their businesses to meet this new reality and continue to find opportunity.
“The goal is to help our partners close more sales and make more money,” said PlanetOne president Lauren Shapiro. “The Telecom Partner Toolbox is a passion project for us, representing everything that we want to do for this channel: They can learn more, and also take these materials themselves and use them at the point of sale. It’s all about driving more business.”
The company officially launched the site during its year-end event and the latest stop on the 2013 Telecom Tour, held Nov. 5-6 at Talking Stick Resort & Casino in Scottsdale. With the theme of “Pure Imagination,” the event featured high-speed cart racing at the opening reception at Octane Raceway, and then a full next day of activities that included clips from Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (and Schuman dressed as Willy Wonka) and more than $10,000 in giveaways, including five Golden Tickets, worth $500 each. Golf, lunch and a closing reception at Talking Stick rounded out the day.
“The Toolbox is such a great idea,” said Davin Roos, president and CEO at ASG, an agency. “It really brings an extra tier of support to the sales process that has just never been available before. The fact that we can take these materials and brand them and use them as our own is a powerful addition for any dealer or agent.”
At launch, the Toolbox is sponsored by tw telecom, Windstream and XO Communications, all of which said that the value of the approach is undeniable. “Being a key sponsor is an honor because PlanetOne sees so much value in our relationship,” said XO Communications’ Shane McNamara, vice president of the partner channel. “This was a decision that didn’t even take a second to consider, because we knew PlanetOne feels this is such a game-changer. I was committed and onboard immediately.”
The fact that the Toolbox is vendor-neutral is another selling point. “It aligns with our overarching strategy — we seek to enable partners,” said tw telecom’s Dale Kammerich, president of indirect sales. “We have product-specific content, but we don’t have [agnostic] proposal content or infographics. This solidifies the trusted adviser role, and makes partners far more efficient.”
And for Windstream, the online destination aspect of the resource also speaks to operational realities for the agent community. “I think there has been a change in the way that the agent industry [works],” said Jason Dishon, vice president of the national partner program at the company. “A lot of agents are very portal-driven. If they get a chance to get on a portal instead of waiting for the channel manager to respond or trying to request information, [that’s something] very useful to the agent in the field. That’s something that as an industry we are all going to.”