Karin Fields, vice president of sales for master agency MicroCorp Inc., agreed. "There has to be a partner investment if they are getting the resources," she explained.
Fields, who also had not seen the contracts, said she was not expecting any big surprises. "As long as we are being asked to play by the same rules. That's what's important to me," she said.
Along with the contract changes, Level 3 said it is boosting resources, including increased pre-sales design support, channel managers and support for demand generation.
Of particular note, is the creation of an additional channel manager role that will complement the efforts of local support teams, working with the regional channel managers to help partners with quotes or closing sales. National channel managers will still support large master agents and Elite partners.
Agents also will now use one portal, the Level 3 Partner Portal based on MasterStream and no longer have access to Global Crossing's uCommand system. The portal provides partners with product information, marketing resources, training and network maps, as well as on-net selling tools, quoting and contracts. Jerich said Level 3 has been investing in APIs to its systems from MasterStream to improve response times.
MicroCorp's Fields says the integration of the portal is a positive change. "We are glad. We rave about MasterStream. That's huge," she said.
In addition to integrating the agency programs, Level 3 is combining the referral programs from Global Crossing and Level 3. Jerich said the referral program will operative in a more reactive fashion, responding to needs for a commissioning program for leads provided to the direct sales force. The biggest change is that the commissions (1X upfront) will be normalized for all referral partners.