Are you planning any changes to the partner program?
Yes, we have recently transitioned into what I call the “national/local model." With the recent addition of eight local channel managers, and hiring of National Partner Manager Don Coufal, we now have the support model in place to centrally manage the largest national master agents while providing local support in each market for their subagents. This enables us to maximize mindshare with each local subagent while properly supporting the masters with marketing, training, events and systems. This is a key structural change, as previously we supported each master agent with only one channel manager. This model is widely recognized within the industry and we have already seen activity increase as a result of this change. There will be no substantial changes to our compensation or contracts.
Do you have specific goals?
We have very clear goals to rapidly grow the sales of our organization, while we build a world-class program and scalable infrastructure. Ultimately, our goal is to be the fastest growing element of Charter Business while Charter rides the dual waves of increased cloud computing adoption and VAR/SI transition into agency.
How much do you aim to grow partner revenue by the end of the year?
Charter Business’ 2012 goal is to grow in excess of 20 percent over the previous year. The Charter Business Partner program will be a key element for that growth. Over the past six weeks, the team has grown from four channel managers to 12. This growth will enable us to support partners locally because we now have a channel manager in each geographic area.
What are your key partner-enablement initiatives?
Currently, we are increasing the functionality of our portal to enable partners to get status of opportunities, order progress and commission details. We also have implemented a unique back-office support system for partners. We have a dedicated team in Louisville, Ky., that interacts with our partners in multiple ways. Partners can call opportunities in via a toll-free number, email opportunities in or enter initial opportunities via our portal. The goal is to allow the inside sales team to handle initial pricing and quoting and order-entry details while allowing our channel managers to focus on partner enablement and sales activities.
What products do you think will be successful for partners in 2012?