The news comes some six months after the cableco tapped former XO Communications channel chief Jim Delis to run its indirect sales program as vice president of national sales.
"The biggest issue as I joined the company has been developing a consistent way of doing business," said Delis. "When Greg [Iuzzolino director of sales — alternate channels] joined, we had a national compensation plan and contract, but no national back-office process and standardization."
The success of the program (200 percent growth from the first six months of 2009 to the first six months of 2010) and associated volumes have highlighted the need for standardization and pushed the initiative to the forefront, Delis said.
To aid this process, TWCBC is adding a new order management and tracking platform, which is integrated into the company’s CRM application, salesforce.com. A significant addition companywide has been the inclusion of service availability — on-net, off-net and near net. "In the past, getting that information required a truck roll," said Iuzzolino. The application was in beta testing in July and was expected to be rolled out to agents at the end of September.
In addition, the company is supporting the channel with more manpower. It has added three channel managers and expects to add three more in 2011, Delis said. TWCBC also is in the midst of tripling the size of back-office staff handling the pre-sales process with the addition of seven to eight people in ordering and provisioning planned to be hired by October, he said.
While TWCBC has had to learn how best to serve the agent community, it also has found that agents need to better understand cable's services. As a result, the cableco has enhanced its sales training initiatives. "We realized that there is a tremendous learning curve [in selling cable services], and not all partners have a cable background," Delis explained. The training, which was launched in spring, now includes Webinars and field training on both products and solutions sales. The four modules, each an hour long, cover Ethernet, bundled services, phone services and Internet services.
TWCBC also announced the addition of four new master agency partners – MicroCorp, Outreach Telecom & Energy, Simplified Networks and BCM Telecom – to its existing 14. Iuzzolino said TWCBC is in negotiations with another seven.
TWCBC has focused on a two-tier distribution strategy for its national program, but it also has more than 60 direct partners from its legacy, regional program. Delis said TWCBC will maintain these direct relationships and possibly add more where it makes sense.