New Edge Networks Revamps Partner Program

Nearly a year after its acquisition by EarthLink Inc., New Edge Networks is revamping its partner program by creating a new post, director of channel programs, and beefing up its dedicated channel staff, which serves more than 350 active agents, VARs, systems integrators and referral partners. EarthLink bought the managed network services provider in April 2006.

New Edge Networks Bruce Barnes

The news comes on the heels of an announcement in January that Linda Beck was named president of the company. Beck, who was an executive vice president of EarthLink and general manager of EarthLink Business Solutions, had been interim president of New Edge Networks since August.

Thanks to support from EarthLink, New Edge Networks has reinvested in its partner program, adding resources from product management, marketing, IT, sales and sales support to initiate new programs, training and events, says Bruce Barnes, who has been named the companys director of channel programs.

Barnes has been with New Edge Networks for several years, most recently as a sales director with oversight into carrier sales. In his new role, Barnes will oversee both wholesale and agent programs.

In addition to Barnes, the agent program gains four additional dedicated personnel, including Chris Beyer, department manager; Nathan Derbyshire, administrator; Michelle McAllister, coordinator; and Stephanie Schoenborn, trainer. More hires are likely, says Barnes. I think its important for an agent to think of more than just one person (i.e., their channel manager) when they think of the company, says Barnes, explaining additions to the team.

The key component is enabling partners to sell more on their own instead of relying on our channel managers to work them through different situations, he says. New Edge Networks has a team of channel managers covering three regions East, West and Central. These individuals will remain in place but the company will be offering more training and support.

For example, the company recently gave partners access to its order management and troubleshooting system. Through a secure online portal, selling partners have the same access to their customers records as New Edge Networks customer care representatives.

New Edge Networks also is launching a series of cross-country seminars for educating partners on how to package and offer businesses complete IP solutions.

New Edge Networks has long been considered channel-friendly, so whats behind the changes? Barnes says one reason for the change is agent mindshare. If a carrier really isnt paying close attention to what the agents are doing and what they need, then frankly, that carrier falls outside the mindshare of the agents. Having this kind of dedication to the agents, I think they will think of New Edge Networks a lot more often, he says. He also notes that recent changes in other carrier programs post-merger present an opportunity for New Edge Networks to recruit new agents and capture more market share.

New Edge Networks nationwide backbone network has about 900 switches and Internet routers, and uses a blend of access technologies (xDSL, frame relay, ATM, cable, wireless and satellite) to provide business broadband. The company is integrating the EarthLink business products with the New Edge products to serve all businesses whether they are single-site or multisite, says spokesperson Sal Cinquegrani.

CrosStar Network Solutions, a master agent based in New York City, recently signed on as an agent for New Edge Networks after working with most major telecommunications carriers.

The key to our success is to affiliate ourselves with nimble and quick providers that clearly understand the sense of urgency that our customers have and also make it easy for us to work with them, says Eric Savitsky, managing partner of CrosStar Network Solutions.

The tools and access that New Edge Networks provides its channel partners empower us to manage our relationship with our clients and quickly help us cut through the typical smoke and mirrors, Savitsky says. If we are successful, they will be successful.

In conjunction with the channel program overhaul, New Edge Networks also created an agent council with three members from each of the companys three operating regions in the eastern, central and western United States to provide agents direct representation to executive management, input on program development and first looks at products. The council will meet monthly.

To give its revamped channel program a boost, New Edge Networks beefed up sales incentives for partners in the first quarter of 2007. For example, one incentive gives partners an additional $500 bounty for each full T1 sale. Other changes to the compensation program are pending and will be communicated on an agent-by-agent basis, Barnes says.

New Edge Networks
CrosStar Network Solutions

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