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Comcast Doubles Down on Channel

CHANNEL PARTNERS — Comcast Business Class (Booth #305) is doubling down on the channel, beefing up staff and systems as well as adding more agents, the company announced Tuesday at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.

Comcast channel chief Craig Schlagbaum, vice president of sales – indirect channels, told Channel Partners that the cableco is doubling the size of its channel management team to provide at least one channel manager and in some cases two across its 16 regions. The leadership team also now includes Cary Tengler as well as Scott Mull, Matt Wilson and Kevin Conmy.

Comcast also has added sales engineering support so that there is now one sales engineer for every two or three channel managers.

The cableco also added more Partner Support Coordinators. PSCs make sure orders are entered and accepted and monitor their status. Further, Comcast added a new position, a Partner Account Coordinator, which manages post-sale issues from order to installation. The PACs are focused on either SMB or enterprise products.

Schalagbaum said the new position will help Comcast more closely monitor customer satisfaction.

Since launching the program in spring 2011, Comcast has been supporting the channel with “less than optimal resources” while it demonstrated traction and success to the company’s executive leadership, Schlagbaum said. He claimed triple-digit growth rates since the launch. “In the first month we had less than 100 orders, now we have a multitude higher than that each month,” he said.

The launch of metro Ethernet in the fall also is driving some of the growth in sales and the need for more resources, he said, noting agents and their customers are responding to the cableco proposition of a diverse last mile, particulary to enable cloud delivery.

The investments extend to system improvements to the WebTop partner portal as well. The service availability tool was rolled out to master agents in fourth quarter 2011. In first quarter 2012 it was extended to subagents. In addition, real-time order status updates are coming in April. Previously, this was done manually, Schlagbaum explained, adding that while these may seem perfunctory, they are substantial since Comcast is new to the channel and had no tools in place.

Finally, Comcast said it is adding a fourth master agency, MicroCorp Inc., to its roster. The company launched with just three: Telecom Brokerage Inc., Intelisys Inc. and Telarus Inc. It also has signed a few more direct relationships in addition to the eight previously announced: Advoda and World Telecom Group.

Schlagbaum said there is more to come in 2012, including a new voice/data/HDTV offer for the hospitality industry and metro Ethernet over HFC due out in third quarter.


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