CenturyLink plans to open a new outbound sales center in Monroe, Louisiana, staffed by 150 employees to serve small business customers nationally.
The new center will focus on expanding CenturyLink’s small-business customer base, as well as offering enhanced products and services to existing small-business customers. CenturyLink expects to begin training the new employees in March, and the new center will be up and running this quarter.
CenturyLink has two other centers in Arizona and Florida.
Vernon Irvin, president of CenturyLink’s government, education, medium- and small-business groups, tells Channel Partners small businesses don’t have the resources to really manage their own “internal digital transformation or transformation services around broadband, cloud, security and IT solutions.”
“Small businesses that we speak with clearly state that they know it’s incredibly important for them to maintain momentum … not only the local presence, but as a potentially North America and global presence where they’re able to look and feel like a midsize and large company,” he said. “So they’re looking for companies like CenturyLink to be their their virtual CIO or CTO.”
While the center will focus on direct-to-market, many of the packages and products CenturyLink is rolling out “that allows us to be the virtual CIO/CTO” are available to the company’s partners, Irvin said.
“We think that the partner channel is a very big part of our go-to-market, particularly in this segment of the market, and we’ll continue to be working together,” he said.
In November, CenturyLink confirmed that it was laying off more than 150 employees after closing the Level 3 acquisition in November. About 165 employees were impacted by the layoffs, including 37 in Louisiana, where the company is based.
“When you think about the merger of the two companies, Level 3 has a tremendous amount of fiber and lit-building assets … and CenturyLink has a pretty good sales motion and go-to-market capability in the SMB range,” Irvin said. “We think the combination of those two gives us the ability to be able to deliver a set of high-speed network services and fiber solutions. What we know is small businesses are looking for not just higher speeds, but somebody to provide cloud, desktop, VoIP, security and cloud email, and they want it to be simple.”
Last year, CenturyLink launched several new offerings, such as business Wi-Fi, VoIP for small business customers and CenturyLink Managed Enterprise with Cisco Meraki.
“Small businesses are an integral and growing part of the U.S. economy, and much of their success is contingent on technology and network solutions that can grow with them,” said Jeff Storey, CenturyLink’s president and COO. “CenturyLink is excited to leverage northeastern Louisiana’s talented workforce to provide our small-business customers with the support and resources they need to meet their company goals.”