Despite the recession, revenue from the Qwest Business Partner Program grew in 2009, according to executives from Qwest Communications International Inc. who spoke Thursday at the company’s Q.Marketplace 2010 QBPP kickoff meeting this week in Denver.
In his first public address since being named vice president of sales for QBPP in mid-August, Blake Wetzel praised agents for their contributions to the company’s Business Markets Group in a tough year. “On a revenue basis, QBPP grew last year, which is phenomenal. We were a driving force in BMG’s success last year,” he said.
One reason for that success, Wetzel said, was customer retention. “We had one of the best retention rates of all of the organizations in BMG, which is a phenomenal statement about your relationship with your customers,” he said.
Neil Cox, Qwest’s executive vice president of product and IT, said Qwest Business Partners have done a better job retaining customers than has the direct sales force. “You can go so much further into the value proposition with your customers. The Qwest network is just a part of what you do for your customer base,” he said.
In addition, QBPP customers were spending more. Cox said that QBPP’s average monthly recurring charge was up 14 percent year over year from third quarter 2008 to third quarter 2009.
Wetzel said sales were flat for the indirect sales group as they were for all of BMG. “I think that’s a great statement based on what our customers and the economy are doing,” he said. “But I think it’s incredibly important that as the economy begins to turn, that we can take it and make it grow.”
Chris Ancell, executive vice president of BMG, told Q.Marketplace attendees that BMG has four big initiatives for 2010: improving MRC productivity, retention, “book to bill” and customer experience. He said QBPP will play a role in each of these. As an example, he said Qwest is looking at ways to leverage partners to expand its market coverage. It also is working on improving communications so efforts by teams and individuals are not duplicated.
Wetzel elaborated on goals for QBPP, which fall into three buckets – coverage, coordination and discipline.
QBPP will work on increasing coverage in key markets – both by geography and by customer or segment. The latter means the company will work with partners to create tactical plans to address customer needs either by account or segment size.
The partner organization also will be working to improve coordination, he said, so that more time is spent on revenue-generating activities, rather than bureaucracy.
Finally, Wetzel, said he is seeking discipline to achieve repeatable results. In this regard, he said QBPP will be examining its systems, processes and resources used to manage opportunities, implementations and retention.