Nearly 100 agents were invited to be part of the 2007 Verizon Solutions Partner Program, according to Shelley Murphy, vice president of marketing operations and alternate channels for Verizon Telecom.
She said a handful of contracts have been returned and the original Nov. 22 due date has been extended to Nov. 29 when VSPP plans to hold its CEO Forum strategy meeting with its 2007 partners in Basking Ridge, N.J. About 40 percent of the invitees have RSVPd for the event, which Murphy said she considers akin to a letter of intent to sign the agreement since partners cannot attend without a signed contract.
The final number of invitees compares to 46 active legacy Verizon partners and between 100-125 active legacy MCI partners, she said, adding that the final number of agents selected was not based on a target but on criterion, such as geographic coverage, target market or skill base. In the 2007 program, the ratio of former MCI and legacy Verizon agents invited to participate is about two-thirds to one-third, she said.
Those that were not invited also have been notified via mail of their contract termination. Some of these might be candidates for subagency, Murphy said, and can contact their channel manager for information on master agents with 2007 agreements.
Since the invitations were sent out on Nov. 15, VSPP has held three conference calls with partners one with legacy Verizon partners, one with legacy MCI partners and one make-up call, which was held Tuesday. Murphy said some minor contract language already has been changed as a result of these meetings.
We are very excited about the program. We are very excited about what we think are the business opportunities for the agents that have been invited and we hope will choose to participate. I am pleased and impressed with the level of dialog of all of the agents over the course of the last week. It has been very thoughtful and productive, Murphy said.
The contract deadline date was extended from in part due to missing information about the Verizon Business compensation plan. That information was provided to agents less than 48 hours after the original invitations were mailed.
One of the significant changes to the VSPP program from earlier proposals is that the quota will now include Verizon Business accounts. Partners will have quotas for strategic and non-strategic products for Verizon Telecom, which represents consumer, SOHO and small business services; and for Verizon Business, which serves legacy MCI and Verizon enterprise accounts. Murphy said in some cases what is strategic for Verizon Telecom accounts might be non-strategic for Verizon Business accounts simply because of the requirements of the segment. One example might be dedicated Internet access, which is a growth product for SMBs but table stakes for enterprises, she explained.
Terms for renewals, however, were not changed from earlier proposals. They will be compensated lower than for new sales. Former MCI agents have been compensated equally on new sales and renewals. For former legacy Verizon agents, the renewal rate is double what they were getting, Murphy said. She added that renewals with new products added would be compensated under a hybrid model, combining the renewal and new sales compensation formulas. Both plans are 50 percent up front and 50 percent residual over the term of the contract.
The evergreen payment policy also has been a sticking point with former MCI agents the past few months while VSPP has been formulating the 2007 program. Murphy said accounts sold under the MCI program will remain on the evergreen plan until they are renewed, at which time they fall under the new VSPP. New products sold to these accounts also will put them under the new 2007 agreements, which do not include evergreen payments; however, basic moves, adds and changes to existing products used by these accounts will not trigger the move, she said.
Verizon Communications Inc. www.verizon.com
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