In follow up to its launch of a Solution Provider Program for VARs this week, Level 3 Communications Inc. Channel Chief Michael Jerich, vice president of the Level 3 Indirect Channel, answered questions from Channel Partners’ agent readers about the new program, which gives VARs a third option for working with the carrier aside from the traditional referral and agency programs..
Does a VAR sign an agency agreement? What are the terms? Are there revenue commitments?
We have VARs sign an agreement as well and an addendum which reflects their compensation method, be it a residual, one time referral payment or MDF. VARs are also held to sales and revenue commitments and will have to undergo the performance reviews to ensure they are meeting the commits.
Are VARs paid residual or upfront or a combination? Are there different tiers?
It depends on whether the VAR works with us through the Referral, Channel Partner (Agent) or Solution Provider Program. There are no tiers for the Referral or Solution Provider Programs. However, they will be compensated either through a residual, one-time referral payment or through MDF, which is used towards marketing and demand gen activities. If they sign up as an agent within our Channel Partner Program, compensation would be residual-based.
Is this considered direct or indirect? Is this considered channel integrated? Who gets credit for the sale?
We consider it channel integrated. The VARs that are in the Solution Provider Program are managed by the indirect team and, if appropriate, will engage the direct sales channels.
Do VARs register deals? Does direct or the partner own them?
At this time, we do not require deal registration, but we see this as a co-ownership account via channel integration.
Can a master agent bring a VAR into this program?
Master agents can bring VARs into their programs and treat them as subagents. However, they will be managed by the regional channel managers in their area. If there are sales opportunities where direct are present, our teaming policy will then apply.
Can a master agent use the local team for VAR training and on-boarding?
No. The VAR Team will be dedicated to those partners in the program. However, Level 3 is happy to share information that a master agent can use to train VARs.
Is there a partner lifecycle management plan to migrate VARs in this program into agents?
We realize that not all partners are equal and need specific programs to make them successful. We will evaluate each partner on an individual need basis to make sure that we build the right team around them to ensure mutual success. We do have an upfront process in place to help VARs move into the right program.