Lightyear Network Solutions Inc., a reseller and VoIP service provider, announced the appointment of veteran industry sales manager Kevin B. Parker as its new vice president of sales with responsibility over direct, agent and MLM channels. Parker has more than 15 years of telecom sales experience at carriers, including CellularOne, GTE Wireless and Nextel Partners. During this time, he has managed organization-wide telecom sales channels — direct, indirect, local and national consumer level. PHONE+ interviewed Parker about his new role and his plans for the program.
PHONE+: What is your previous channel experience?
Kevin Parker: Back in the late ‘90s, I first started working with agents as market manager in Kentucky in rural wireless markets. Following this I had a great opportunity to develop an indirect channel of distribution for Nextel Partners. The model we used for the development of and strategy for this channel was ultimately used by other markets throughout the company based on the success experienced in the mid-south area of the U.S. I have also had the unique opportunity to work with agents in the insurance industry through some consulting work I did prior to landing at Lightyear. In all situations, I have really enjoyed working with channel partners and I recognize the tremendous opportunities presented by this channel.
P+: What about your experience at Nextel will inform the way you run the business channel at Lightyear?
KP: I learned a lot at Nextel. Selling in a B2B environment requires some extraordinary skills that are oftentimes difficult to find. Partners need to understand that selling in this environment requires the nurturing of professional relationships through persistent networking, a thorough knowledge of the cutting-edge technology associated with the industry, a selling frame of mind that is focused on the value of the product and not just the price, tremendous follow-up skills and a thorough understanding of the client’s business from its operations to finances. That said, I have initiated a strategy to get our team in front of the Lightyear agents to ensure we are educating them about what we do and offer strategies for how our partners can be successful selling our services. We are also focused on the development of the channel to ensure we have a formidable selling force to meet our organic sales growth initiatives.