The indirect sales channel increasingly is becoming an engine of growth for a number of U.S.-based telecommunications providers.
During the Channel Partners Conference & Expo Wednesday morning in Las Vegas, executives from Comcast, Vonage, Granite Telecommunications, Rackspace and Verizon highlighted opportunities for the channel and their plans for growth.
Enter Granite, a communication service provider with around $1.1 billion in annual revenue. The Massachusetts-based company aims to grow revenues to $2 billion within three years, noted Charlie Pagliazzo, Granite's vice president of channels.
Over the past 12 months, Pagliazzo said, Granite has observed a more than 30-percent increase in commissions that it's paying agent partners across the country. He said Granite's partners are achieving success by understanding what they can leverage through the company's product offerings.
Vonage is another channel-oriented service provider that has been growing---both organically and through a number of acquisitions.
Clark Peterson, president of enterprise with Vonage, noted the company has completed five acquisitions over the last 2 1/2 years to create a leader in the cloud. As Channel Partners reported in November, in just the previous year, Vonage completed mergers with Telesphere, SimpleSignal and iCore.
While Vonage has roots as one of the first consumer-oriented VoIP providers, the company has transformed over the years with a focus on the business market. For the fourth quarter of 2015, Vonage Business revenues surged 149 percent to $71 million over the prior-year period.
With Vonage having worked last year on integration of the acquisitions, Peterson said the company is in a position to accelerate and views the channel "as a critical part of that."
Craig Schlagbaum, vice president of Indirect Channels for Comcast Business, encouraged channel partners who aren't selling cable services to consider the opportunity.
It was about five years ago that Comcast launched its channel program.
For years, the cable industry has been taking share from traditional telcos in the business market. In the fourth quarter of 2015, Comcast's business services revenues grew 18.9 percent to $1.26 billion.
A significant amount of Comcast's sales today now come from the channel, Schlagbaum said.
The opportunity for agents to market the services of legacy telcos has hardly vanished.
Adam Famularo, vice president of global channels with Verizon Enterprise Solutions, said the channel business is worth hundreds of millions of dollars in North America alone.
He said a number of agents are "making a ton of money just in our telco-based services."
Famularo encouraged attendees to consult with a number of Verizon partners in the room who he said have built multi-million dollar businesses.
Finally, Rackspace's Iain Urquhart--vice president of channel and technical sales-- reminded the channel that cloud services are offering immense opportunities for agents with new streams of revenue.