article

MCI Revamps Channel Program, Targets Solutions Providers asPartners

Posted: 03/2005


MCI Revamps Channel Program, Targets Solutions Providers as
Partners


By Tara Seals

MCI Inc. has unveiled a retooled
channel partner program, featuring a regionalized structure, deeper, more
granular support for agents and valueadded resellers, and a focus on selling
strategic services.

The program, renamed The MCI Solution Provider Channel,
now has three participation levels: Solution, Preferred or Premier Provider,
tied to the amount of sales generated by the partner. More benefits and support, along with higher commissions, come
with each level: Sub-agent referrals and sales leads are offered to Preferred
and Premier Providers, for instance. The tiered marketing program includes sales incentives,
marketing materials for use with prospects and customers, access to the program
logo and ongoing updates for new products and programs.

Along with the threetiered structure, MCI has tweaked the
program to be more regional and to benefit more partners. For the last six
months, we have been revamping this program to be more accessible, says Todd
Gerdes, senior vice president of MCIs Solution Provider Channel. We can
all benefit from strengthening the relationships with the solution providers in
the field, so MCI is focused on three main areas of providing sales support,
better order processing and a more rewarding commission structure. Were already starting to see increased sales, so this is
working.

The carrier has hired almost 40 more dedicated channel
managers, to form localized support teams to work in the field with partners.
The teams include technical consultants for design assistance and dedicated
implementation coordinators, and will work closely with a regional pool of
agents and VARs. We are interested in looking at our existing partners and
reengaging those who werent getting the attention and the support they needed
before, says Bruce Walt, director of midmarket and channel marketing at MCI. We want to find new partners we may have overlooked too,
but the main focus is on getting our existing partners to succeed.

All solution providers now have access to MCIs beefed up
online portal, One View, where they can tap into Web-based, leader-led training
sessions, perform backoffice functions, get help and track sales.

MCI has also built in new incentives to sell upper-end
products. A new certification program offers partners specializations in areas
the carrier sees as critical to its success, says Walt. While all partners can sell the services, those who are
certified will earn incremental commissions on strategic products like managed
services, hosting, local, contact center solutions and security, he notes. Certification areas also include Private IP, IP VPNs and the
MCI Advantage portfolio.

As for the nomenclature change to solution provider,
Walt explains that the original MCI program was made up of telecom agents. In
recent years, VARs and integrators have joined the program, so the carrier
wanted a name that encompassed the breadth of partners within it. The carrier
has no preference, he says, between the resellers or agents.

Links
MCI Inc. www.mci.com


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