Cavalier Telephone, a full-service telecom company serving the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and Southeastern United States, announced the addition of Michael Gough as its new channel chief in March at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo. Gough, formerly vice president of dealer sales for business telephony system vendor Vertical Communications Inc., actually came on board in December 2009 to fill a new post in the company as its vice president of channel partner sales. While the carrier already had a channel, the vice president level leadership was brought in to design a new program for a more “sustainable partner plan” going forward. PHONE+ interviewed Gough about his new plan in early April.
|Cavalier Channel Chief Michael Gough|
PHONE+: What is your previous channel experience?
Michael Gough: My career began as an engineer, designing central office equipment and CPE. I found engineering design to be terribly boring for me and determined that sales was more my forte. I ran national sales for Comdial, Vertical Communications and Vodavi — all phone systems manufacturers that primarily sold through the indirect channel. Additionally and perhaps just as significant, I was the president of a large interconnect in northern Virginia where I sold Cavalier, Sprint, Verizon and PAETEC services.
PHONE+: How will that experience inform your new role as channel chief?
MG: My experience affords me understanding of all aspects of the business — from the engineering phase through to the end-user and customer. My reputation speaks for itself in that I have built strong relationships across the U.S. with the partners that are solid and trusted. A specific positive element of not coming from the agent community unquestionably is my fresh outside-the-box thinking regarding direction. This unsullied approach will be more and more evident as we roll out our 2010 program.
PHONE+: How has the Cavalier channel program changed?
MG: The fundamental change in our go-forward strategy is the human element of the program. We want partners not agents. Those partners will be rewarded very smartly for their performance. The more productive they are, the more favorable the rewards. Our new contract is completely polished and we will start the ball rolling by inviting selected partners to come aboard this month [April]. Master agents, which we call Platinum Partners, will be a significant part of our 2010 focus.
PHONE+: How much revenue does the channel bring to Cavalier?
MG: Our indirect channel is growing and currently represents approximately 25 percent of new sales bookings.
PHONE+: Do you expect that to change in 2010?
MG: My goal for 2010 is to increase that to 30 percent with 10 percent growth year over year thereafter.
PHONE+: How many agents are in the Cavalier program?
MG: Unfortunately, and as humorous as it may sound, too many. We have roughly 200 agents in our current program where the typical 80/20 rule applies. Our 2010 channel program will reward those committed to Cavalier with new spiffs and a lucrative residual for productive partners.