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VoIP Platform Provider Supports Service Provider Channel Marketing

Natural Convergence Inc., a supplier of hosted VoIP software, launched today its flashpoint 1.0 Channel Marketing Program to speed its service provider customers SMB go-to-market strategy.

To help run the new program, Andrew Skafel has been named director of channel marketing for the company.

flashpoint 1.0 goes beyond typical vendor support by productizing a thorough channel marketing program with the end goal of helping their customers sell faster. Natural Convergence CEO David Cork said the endeavor while unusual makes sense because Natural Convergence makes more money when its service provider customers sell more licenses.

Natural Convergence sells the silhouette VoIP software application. It requires no premises-based equipment to install, power, maintain or house. The only equipment needed is a router, an Ethernet switch and IP telephones.

In working with our customers we learned its not just about the right product, you need the right channel, said Cork. While most service providers tend to rollout product through a direct sales force first, with an SMB product, they are just delaying the inevitable move to an indirect model. Our product is designed for channel sales day one.

Natural Convergences flashpoint program has been gestating for more than a year with pieces of it put into practice with existing service provider customers. The formal program includes seven modules from which service providers can choose, depending on their strategy and needs.

The seven modules include service definition, recruitment, custom sales training, lead generation, sales support, performance metrics and recognition and incentives. Each module has a different pricing structure. Natural Convergence draws on third-party expertise for some of the modules, such as the lead generation module. It brings the partner to the table, marks up their service and after an initial window enables the service provider and the vendor to work together. Natural Convergence also is putting its own money behind some of the incentive programs that inspire repeatable behavior, Cork said. An example might be an incentive for sales to multisite customers.

Cork said the flashpoint processes have been tried and successful with several service provider customers, but he eschews the best practices label. Best practices is where I hope we will end up. What I have today is anecdotal evidence, but we are working on quantifiable statistics, he said.

Natural Convergence worked closely with its service provider customers on the development of the program. Cork said six of them have participated in one or more of the modules to date. We worked with Natural Convergence on their development of the flashpoint program, said Scott Matukas, president and COO of USA Datanet. There is a significant demand for channel programs by service providers and the flashpoint modules address the demand.

Key to the success of the flashpoint 1.0 is its Two-Call Close methodology, which supplies the service provider with the necessary tools to meet with a customer on the first call and present a proposal on the second call. Cork said the approach condenses the soft sales skills of probing and qualifying and skips past asking for the order by presenting a rollout plan.

Natural Convergence www.naturalconvergence.com


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