Equant Revisits Channel Partners with Agent Update

International data and IP services company Equant (Booth 532), which launched its agent program for North America at the Channel Partners show last September in Miami, is back at the show this spring to talk about the status and successes of the program.

As part of its agent program, the company offers the Equant Agent Extranet, which is being introduced free of charge to all of its signed agents. Once agents have been registered by their master agent, Equant sends them a digital certificate to get started.

The Extranet was developed as an extension of Equant’s Partner Extranet. Equant says that giving its sales channels the information and tools they need to be self-sufficient and successful is a great benefit. It lets the Equant agent to research solutions, build a proposal and even price some networks when they need answers.

Equant also is preparing to launch its Lunch and Learn program, a series of Webinars that target agents. The plan is to hold a monthly educational seminar where all registered

Equant agents can participate in a current topic of interest in the industry. Equant will use this forum to keep agents updated on the latest product developments at Equant and to share success stories. Equant is conducting face-to-face training with its agents throughout March and will follow up in April with its first Webinar.

All Equant agents also receive a customized agent sales kit, which includes a product tour CD, fact sheets on Equant services, instructions for logging on to the

Extranet site and more. Equant’s agents say that the company’s delivery of a professional sales kit to each registered agent is unique. Although the Internet has facilitated the flow of information, it is still very helpful for an agent to have marketing tools at his/her fingertips, Equant says. Equant began delivering the kits in late February and continued to deliver them in March as it completed the training.

Equant says it sees agents as an extension of its sales force. Therefore, they play an integral role in the company’s ability to reach more customers and prospects in North America. Equant counts on the agents to maintain their customer relationships and manage Equant business with their accounts in the full customer lifecycle. Although a customer will sign an Equant order form and be billed directly by Equant for services, the agent continues to play a role in managing the account and developing new business with them.

Partner and channel business represents nearly 45 percent of Equant revenue. Equant is looking to agents to help it develop the mid-size market. Equant says it has been successful in the large multinational market, but there are smaller,

growing companies with significant international needs. Equant says its agent commission structure "is highly competitive and commensurate with the level and sales performance of each agent group." It is based on monthly recurring revenue according to the customer contract.

In other Equant agent news, the company is working with Cisco as the only service provider to achieve status as a Global Commerce Specialist. Equant’s Agent Program enables other Cisco partners the opportunity to expand sales in the international managed

VPN space. Equant agents benefit as well from Equant’s relationship with Cisco as it develops IP telephony services with them.

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