Christopher Shubert, a long-time channel manager for NuVox and then Windstream, has taken on a new role in the indirect channel.
Earlier this month, Shubert left Windstream to become director of channel sales at Telnes Broadband, a privately held provider of Internet and managed services that sells through master agents. Shubert is creating the company’s partner training and overseeing daily sales support. The responsibilities build on Shubert’s tenure at Windstream (“A fantastic home for me for 10 years,” he said); he worked for the carrier for almost 11 years, first at NuVox, then at the combined Windstream-NuVox. Along the way, he watched agents grapple with technological shifts and helped train them to handle the changes. He’ll take that experience a step further at Telnes.
“My job is to design programs that are entertaining and fun,” said Shubert. That’s because the subject matter he’s addressing MPLS and cloud technologies often is complex and confusing to partners who remain in the price mindset. “Too many agents are still focused on, ‘I need a price for a T1 circuit’ … they’re leaving additional revenue opportunities on the table,” Shubert said. “They want to sell cloud and MPLS, but they aren’t sure exactly what those things are.”
So, for starters, Shubert is launching a webinar series to run over the next three months. The programs, which will function as interactive, “coffee talk” sessions, will introduce agents to Telnes and teach them how to sell next-generation technologies. For example, Shubert said, a many agents don’t know what questions to ask about disaster recovery, redundancy and networks or priority IP routing.
“We want to give that kind of knowledge to our agent partners,” he said.
When it comes to Telnes and new products for partners to sell, keep an eye out. The company plans to launch a managed IP PBX product line featuring ShoreTel equipment in the second quarter. Telnes also will highlight cloud applications such as managed security. Altogether, the changes are part of the company’s “big push” for 2012, Shubert said. Telnes further is working on what Shubert called “a great monthly payout” for agents.
Shubert works with Telnes channel chief Jason Ness. Telnes only sells through channel partners; it does not employ direct salespeople.
“The last couple of years have not been kind to our industry and sometimes agents have felt abandoned,” Shubert said. “We want to get back to having an idea that there’s a true carrier partner out there for their success.”
Shubert won several industry awards for his work as a Windstream channel manager he has been recognized both by Channel Partners and master agency Telarus several times.