TBI Enters Channel Marketing Pact with ADTRAN

Telecom Brokerage Inc (TBI) has become the first master agency to sign a channel marketing partnership with ADTRAN Inc., to promote its multicarrier portfolio of connectivity solutions to the gearmaker’s 2,000-plus VARs and ADTRAN’s gear to TBI’s more than 1,000 subagents. Formal marketing activities will begin in January 2010.

TBI also has completed IP telephony certification as an ADTRAN ADvantage Plus Partner and can now resell the company’s NetVanta 7100 IP telephony solution as well as its ADTRAN Custom Extended Services (ACES) professional services. This will enable TBI to provide an IP PBX solution to its traditional telecom agents or for ADTRAN VARs that have not yet received their IP telephony certification.

By providing VARs with connectivity and agents with an IP PBX, TBI will be able to help both partners protect their accounts from outside influences, said Ken Mercer, TBI’s senior vice president. In addition, he said bundling services and gear can help the sales process when in many cases the customer’s savings on connectivity can subsidize the gear purchase.

Dennis Gatens, director of strategy for the enterprise networks division at ADTRAN, said the channel marketing partnership is the first of its kind for ADTRAN. Through the agreement, TBI and ADTRAN plan to engage in joint marketing activities, such as tradeshow exhibits, collateral and webinars, promoting the bundled offer to ADTRAN VARs and TBI’s subagents.

Gatens said the partnership brings a great deal of benefit to the channel. ADTRAN’s VARs, he said, can resell carrier services without becoming agents for the service providers directly. They can earn a residual revenue stream, improve account control and build upon a trusted partnership with their customers.

Mercer said TBI will recruit ADTRAN VARs as it’s under the same terms as its existing subagents. In turn, they will receive commissions on the services from more than 50 carriers TBI represents.

“We saw the master agent as an opportunity to bring value to our partner base,” Gatens said. “When we began to look at best-of-breed providers, TBI rose to the top.”

Gatens said the company has not yet decided whether to replicate the agreement with other master agencies.

TBI’s venture into the VAR arena is not unprecedented. The company had a similar arrangement with Microsoft Corp. for its Response Point software-based IP PBX. The stumbling block in that scenario, Mercer said, is that too few subagents became certified to sell the product. Under the ADTRAN agreement, subagents can refer the deal to TBI and still be compensated for the sale, he said.

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