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Windstream, NuVox Fired Up Over Agent Opportunities

The takeover of CLEC NuVox by rural LEC Windstream Corp. may seem counterintuitive to some agents, but executives from both companies say the deal is nothing but good for the indirect channel, and for the competitive industry overall.

That was the word on Sunday during the weekend-long Evolve conference hosted by master agency Telarus which was named NuVox/Windstreams No. 1 agent of 2009.

Unlike most acquirers, Windstream is not taking over NuVox to dismantle what works, speakers said. Rather, Windstream is keeping the NuVox processes and competition focus intact. In fact, Windstream is pushing its employees to change their thinking, executives said. Thats because NuVoxs expertise and experience will help Windstream grow past its revenue-losing legacy residential base and into the profitable business-services market.

The Windstream people have shown me that they want us, said Dan Sterling, vice president of NuVoxs dealer channel.

All Im being told is, Grow top-line revenue as fast as possible, Sterling said. Were fired up.

Thanks to that approach, dealer support and channel management will only expand, said John Leach, senior vice president of business sales for Windstream. He moved to the Arkansas-based company from PAETEC late last year. The only change? NuVox customers will get bills and products under the Windstream logo.

But agents need to do their part to make the NuVox-Windstream combination successful, said Chris Shubert, district dealer manager for NuVox. Shubert was recognized last fall as one of the PHONE+ Top 15 Channel Managers.

Agents have got to start adding value instead of cutting prices, he said.

That means getting out of the T1 mindset.

NuVox has attracted a reputation of being one of the cheaper carriers, Shubert said. We want to move away from that. And this is where Windstream is strong we do MPLS, metro Ethernet, high-end services.

Agents need to take on a consultative role with their clients, then, and help them not just to save 20 percent, for example, but to make 20 percent more, Shubert said.

Yes, that will all challenge NuVox agents to learn new technologies and products, which may not be easy, but the payoff could be a mountain of cash, said Shubert.

To that point, look for some promotions and spiffs coming from Windstream in the next few months.

And when it comes to selling, NuVox agents such as the ones working through Telarus will be selling in Windstream territory, and probably much quicker than youd think, Leach said. That will be particularly important as the cable companies continue hammering us in those ILEC markets, he added.


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