to see which channel people were on the move from November through January.**
The Oregon-based company has hired a new channel chief with an IT background, is rolling out new agent agreements and soon will deploy the MasterStream platform for its partners. The revamps come as Integra moves up-market, still serving SMBs but focusing its efforts on enterprises, state and local government, and education accounts.
First, Tom Weaver comes to Integra from Microsoft, where he oversaw unified communications, VoIP and cloud sales and marketing. He also worked for Nortel Networks for more than 10 years, responsible for enterprise and channel sales. At both Nortel and Microsoft, Weaver spent time on the direct and indirect sides but, he said, “channel programs are something I’ve been passionate about for many years.” Still, he said in an exclusive interview with Channel Partners, there’s nothing to be feared in indirect and direct teaming.
“I firmly believe that the more you can integrate a direct and channel program…the more we can develop a joint strategy and be more effective in reaching each others’ goals.”
Integra’s similar philosophy, but its willingness to understand and work with partners’ unique needs and business models, helped bring Weaver to the company. In fact, he sits next to the company’s head of direct sales, a position that affords him the opportunity to hash out effective partnering techniques, he said.
“The more we can work on opportunities together, and in some cases divide and conquer, we’re able to represent ourselves better in the market,” he said.
However, Weaver made certain that the traditional attitude of direct sales getting final say would not apply, before he accepted his new role as vice president of the indirect channel.
“My interest in getting full commitment from [Integra’s CEO and sales vice president] was knowing that was not going to be the case. Obviously I heard the answers I was looking for.”
At press time, Integra’s sales leaders were refining the rules of engagement. Direct and indirect teaming will be decided with each deal; it will not be enforced automatically.
And as Integra makes some new starts, it has developed new partner agreements with new compensation structures. The company was not ready to discuss details at press time but said it will unveil the adjustments in the coming weeks.
The changes come as Integra adds more complex services and seeks to attract more IT-focused partners, while also helping its more traditional but forward-thinking agents bolster their business models.
“I do think there’s a subsegment of partners that we…have not historically done as much business with and that we want to target,” said Weaver.
But that does not mean Integra is leaving its agent base behind.
“I would argue that most of your traditional agents are looking at their business models right now,” Weaver said. “They’re making targeted investments. I want to be part of that with them. That gets to that trusted partner relationship that I’m interested in evolving into.”
As part of Integra’s desire to help partners improve their own operations, the company soon will launch the MasterStream quoting and service-location system. That’s a big addition and investment, and one that a couple of competitive providers recently have made for their partners. Integra said MasterStream will comprise the first of many strategic partner investments it plans to make this year.
Were entering 2013 with a renewed focus on our indirect channel and are pleased to have someone like
Tom to ensure Integra provides the resources, expertise and leadership our agents need to succeed,”
said Ken Smith, executive vice president of sales for Integra, to whom Weaver reports. Integras goal is to be an easy partner to do business with and to empower our agents to grow their business with