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IoT Veteran Takes Lead of T-Mobile Channel Partner Program

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Internet of Things (IoT)

T-Mobile just announced a new channel leader, who will further the company’s goal of driving a more collaborative and responsive partner program.

Pat Watkins, an accomplished veteran from the Sprint side, now works as vice president of channel and IoT sales for T-Mobile. T-Mobile wrapped its acquisition of Sprint last April.

Watkins, Pat_T-Mobile

T-Mobile’s Pat Watkins

Watkins said she and James Kirby, senior vice president of the T-Mobile for Business program, agreed about two months ago that the time was right for her to start leading T-Mobile’s channel partner community.

Watkins works under Kirby, who oversees both direct and indirect sales for the T-Mobile for Business program.

Kirby said last October that his team had drastically changed the commission structure to reduce friction between direct and indirect sales. T-Mobile doubled the quota and payout for both sides, giving them an incentive to involve the other side in deals. Watkins said she appreciates this approach.

“It provides a huge amount of synergies that I get to take advantage of,” she told Channel Partners. “What I’m really looking to do is to make this a more collaborative effort between the partner channel and our direct team.”

Key Objectives

Collaboration fits well with one of Watkins’ goals, which is to remove internal barriers and conflict. She also wants to simplify the partner program and ensure fair and competitive compensation.

“At the end of the day, it’s removing the friction in the selling process so there can be far more collaboration,” she said.

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Moreover, Watkins wants to drive a more communicative and responsive approach to the partner community. T-Mobile has launched a partner advisory committee to generate feedback that it can act upon quickly. For example, the carrier responded to requests for more solution engineering resources.

“We’re going to spend a lot more time with [partners], hearing from them. What’s working? What’s not working? And once we have that communication, we’re going to act fairly quickly on that,” Watkins said.

Background

Watkins worked at Sprint for 14 years, where she cut her teeth on the internet of things. She helped launch Sprint’s connected-vehicle business and later became Sprint’s head of IoT sales.

Watkins said she worked extensively with channel partners in her IoT leadership role. She claims her experience in IoT will help her team and partners navigate the “5G economy.” The speed and low latency of 5G will introduce countless new endpoints and create complexity.

“It’s going to be much more complicated than previous collaborations,” Watkins said. “That experience that I bring from IoT – be it the device, be it the solution, be it the network and partners you need to support it – those are all the things that I’ve been doing for a lot of years.”

Earnings

The carrier reported strong numbers for its 2020 fourth quarter. T-Mobile brought in $20.3 billion in revenue and $68.4 billion for the full year. The company raked in a year-long EBITDA of $24.6 billion. Executive vice president and chief marketing officer Matt Staneff credited the business unit for big wins in the education and public sectors.

Sievert, Mike_T-Mobile

T-Mobile’s Mike Sievert

T-Mobile also added 1.7 million net-new customers during the quarter, giving it 5.6 million net-new customers for the full year. In addition, more than 4 million Sprint customers have migrated onto the T-Mobile network.

Executives also praised their 5G rollout, touting what they call the “fastest, biggest and most available 5G network in America.”

“We’ve competed mostly on price in the past if we’re honest,” president and CEO Mike Sievert said on an earnings call. “And now we have a premium product that’s increasingly the catalyst for our wins.”

No doubt network strength will be at the heart of the conversations T-Mobile partners have with potential clients.


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