The Channel Chiefs Speak: AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, 8×8, Comcast


… new resources into helping partners “stand on their own” in the midst of rumored channel conflict.

Craig Schlagbaum, Comcast

Comcast's Craig Schlagbaum

Comcast’s Craig Schlagbaum

The cable company is looking to lead its peers in software-defined networking (SDN). Schlagbaum previously told Channel Partners that Comcast’s combination of a network and an SDN platform gives it a competitive advantage.

And Comcast wants its partners to help to address this “gigantic opportunity.” Schlagbaum said the corporation’s upper leadership are paying more attention to indirect sales.

“They’re very bullish on the channel. Why? because they believe partners are a key route to market that many many customers are going to go to over a direct sales force,” he said.

Bill Hooper, Verizon

The XO Communications Channel Chief turned Verizon man, described the group he leads as Verizon’s “out-of-franchise channel.” That’s because the partner program operates within both Verizon Enterprise Solutions and Verizon Business Markets. Verizon announced a revamped partner program with Hooper at the helm April 2.

Verizon's Bill Hooper

Verizon’s Bill Hooper

Intelisys President Jay Bradley agreed with Hooper that Verizon has been posting solid growth numbers in recent months. And the reason for the growth, according to Hooper, is a return to fundamentals.

Hooper recalled his boss asking him — during an uncertain Verizon-XO integration — what was necessary to “invigorate” Verizon’s channel.

“I told him the simplest thing to do is to put channel managers out where subagents are and have the channel managers work with the subagents in those geographic territories and get to know them,” Hooper said. ” Do something with the product pricing, do something with the product set and it’ll happen.”

His feedback quickly took effect and Verizon increased to 15 channel managers for the out-of-franchise channel.

Many of these channel chiefs will be on hand this week at the Channel Partners Evolution conference in Philadelphia.

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