Panel Discusses Local Landscape

Executives of three big telecommunications companies on Monday afternoon are set to discuss a core component of the business with indirect sales partners: selling local service. The panel is slated to feature executives from BellSouth Corp., ITC^DeltaCom Inc. and XO Communications Inc.

ITC^DeltaCom Inc. is a relative newcomer to the agent world. The company, based in West Point, Ga., never had an agent program prior to the acquisition of BTI. BTIs Dealer program was established more than 12 years, ITC^DeltaCom says, and represented one third to 40 percent of revenue for BTI.

Today, having fully integrated BTIs Dealer program, the alternate sales channel represents 15 percent to 20 percent of total sales for ITC^DeltaCom, according to Jim LaBrec, a panelist who is ITC^DeltaComs vice president of sales, Dealer Services channel.

ITC^DeltaCom agents are assigned dealer managers in each market to provide local resources and support voice, data and Internet offers, including local phone service.

Although ITC^DeltaCom did not have an agent program prior to the acquisition of BTI, ITC^DeltaCom Chairman and CEO Larry Williams has supported the alternate sales channel at another company. Williams previously served as CEO and director of AAPT Ltd, a telecommunications carrier in Australia, which principally relied on agent sales in the residential market.

Tony Palazzolo, director of national partnerships with XO and a panelist, says indirect sales managers at XO are accountable for making agents successful in the local markets. XO, which operates in 75 cities, can provide local phone service to businesses with five lines or greater depending on the area and the monthly revenue commitment. The agent has better relations than we do nine times out of 10, says Palazzolo, who adds the quickest way to expand in new markets is through agents based in that region.

Vickie Rodgers, senior assisant vice president for BellSouths alternate changed organization with BellSouth Corp., will join LaBrec and Palazzolo on Monday

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