CenturyLink Ends Automatic Channel Integration

The CenturyLink Channel Alliance has modified its channel integration policy, eliminating automatic assignment of direct sales representatives to its channel partners’ customer accounts.

The change is effective this week, according to Blake Wetzel, vice president of sales for CCA, who spoke to Channel Partners Thursday during the carrier’s annual partner summit, AllianceExpo, which is being held at the Denver Convention Center Jan. 16-17.

Wetzel said channel integration is still a cornerstone of the CenturyLink program, but it’s not going to be done in all cases. “If they have a customer they bring to us that’s non-integrated, they will not have a rep assigned,” Wetzel said.

“We are not changing anything, but affording partners the opportunity to own the customers themselves,” he added.

Non-integrated sales will still have the support of CCA, engineering and the Hosting Solutions Consulting team just not the assistance of the direct sales person.

“We are trying to optimize our sales force. When you channel integrate everything, you are not totally optimizing the sales force and getting the reach you could,” Wetzel said.

Revenue from these non-integrated sales will continue to rollup to the local sales director. “If a partner wins a deal in California, the direct director in that state will get the benefit,” Wetzel said. “”We hope this will drive deep linking with the direct leadership to utilize partners as an extension of their sales teams in those markets.”

Karin Fields, vice president of sales for master agency MicroCorp Inc., said her subagents are “thrilled” with the change, noting that not all deals require teaming. While she understands the original policy was meant to ensure that the customer was serviced properly, she said that agents have a vested interest in a positive outcome.

Fields noted that for some agents, like VARs, who are not as comfortable quoting telecom on their own, the change may be more impactful. For master agents like MicroCorp this may mean more interest from VARs that need more support, she said.

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