Channel Partners: Roundtable Session Addresses Master Agent’s Changing Role

As a cornerstone of telecommunications sales, master agents play an integral role as intermediaries between carriers and subagents. However, many in the telecom arena might have noticed the role of master agents evolving beyond their traditional business models. Michael Fair, founder of consultant MarketRace, will lead todays session titled The Evolving Role of Master Agents to discuss how master agents are growing and changing and how they are helping subagents and vendors alike.

Youre seeing kind of a breakout of the master agents that are differentiating themselves, mostly from a technology perspective, and investing in the tools and technologies to allow subagents to get quicker access to information and even electronically bond through to the carriers and things like that, said Fair about this changing landscape. So, youre definitely seeing a breakaway from the pack of the leading master agents that have continued to invest in that kind of technology.

CEO Brad Miehl of one such agency, MicroCorp Inc., will be joining the panel. Being a master agent is not about carrier agreements anymore it is about enabling, said Miehl. At MicroCorp, we have spent a lot of time and resources enabling our agents, VARs, carriers and end users so that they can be more productive.

The role of master agent is being redefined by agent expectations for value and by an industry evolving into converged products, explained panelist Adam Edwards, president of Telarus Inc. Agents expect more than just a contract and safety through aggregation of sales.

The panelists said attendees could expect to hear a different perspective of what a master agency can be and how the evolution of the master agency might contribute to their bottom lines. Fair said he plans to discuss how the barriers to entry to becoming a master agent are getting higher; and he also plans to have the panel address how one should go about choosing a master agent for oneself.

Emmet Tydings, president of AB&T Telecom, said master agents have to focus on growth and continually out-perform their competition and he thinks this will ultimately increase the rate of consolidation.

Representing the carrier perspective on the panel will be Tom Gorey, national director, business partners at XO Communications.

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