Four years after acquiring its first agent program with the purchase of Xspedius Communications LLC in 2006, tw telecom inc. has decided that there’s something to indirect channel sales and in 2010 it relaunched its program, changed some of the rules of engagement and is investing in more support for agents.
Prior to Xspedius, then Time Warner Telecom Inc., had only a referral-based program, wherein agents worked with direct sales teams on deals. The company, which was renamed tw telecom in 2008, contemplated its channel strategy while integrating the systems, people and processes from its new merger, said Dale Kammerich, vice president of channel sales, who came to the company in 2006 just prior to the merger.
At the time, PHONE+ readers will recall, Xspedius agents were quite nervous that tw telecom would convert them to referral partners or shutter the program all together. What actually happened was something in between.
“Ultimately we did integrate both models under one umbrella, one program," Kammerich said. “We spent a good 18-24 months fully integrating the programs. When we got into ‘09, we operated under an integrated model with both of the legacy programs under one agreement type and one organization."
The combined program allowed agents to sell “commodity" products, such as voice services, integrated services and bandwidth, through a traditional channel manager but advanced data services, such as its Ethernet services, were sold in collaboration with the local direct sales reps under a channel integration model.
Kammerich said tw telecom signed partners to new agency agreements. In that process, he said, more than 75 percent of Xspedius agents re-upped with tw telecom.
In 2010, Kammerich said the company relauched its Authorized Representative Program. “We have taken the program that we had in place. We’ve looked at it and made some adjustments to it," he said.
Among the changes is that tw telecom is making its advanced data products available through the traditional channel sales model.
“We built in some flexibility in our program that didn’t exist before," Kammerich said, noting that agents can work with tw telecom both under the traditional channel or channel integration models depending on the opportunity. “We support either model. That is a change for us."