Jeff Clark has been named the new vice president for the Qwest Business Partner Program. Clark, who previously was vice president of small business sales, has traded jobs with former QBPP head Pat Lewis - a strategy employed by the ILEC’s Chairman and CEO Dick Notebaert to cross-train executives.
Lewis and Clark have worked together at Qwest and previously at GTE (now Verizon) and, says Clark, will maintain a close working relationship. “Pat and I are laying out plans on how to penetrate the small business segment quicker, with a greater depth of products and activity,” he says.
While this will not translate to a greater emphasis on small business, it will mean a refined strategy. In fact, says Clark, his role will be to pick up where Lewis left off and refine the programs and approaches QBPP has put in place. “Lewis] did do a lot of the heavy lifting and got this organization to a place where it is very well respected in the industry and has done quite well. I still think there are some real opportunities though, so my approach will be more of a refinement approach to take QBPP to the next level.”
Specifically, Clark intends to focus on tailoring products so that they are sold more easily by partners, streamlining processes and pushing systems closer to the partners.
“My strategy for the year is to increase sales and service by making it easier for partners to do business with Qwest,” he says, noting the past six years working in a variety of positions at Qwest makes him ideally suited to the task. In previous roles, he ran back-office operations for the carrier’s Business Markets Group, ran the sales compensation organization, fixed troubled call management centers and managed BMG’s integration with US West following the merger.
It is this well-rounded risumi that is winning over QBPP agents that otherwise might not be receptive to a change in management, he says, noting that in the 60 days since he has been on the job, he has visited 40 agents in Atlanta, Denver, Las Vegas (at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo), New York and San Francisco, and has plans to go to Chicago, Minneapolis, Portland and Seattle. “When I talk to the agents, these [operational improvements] are the things they are looking for,” he says.
Specifically, Clark is planning to implement electronic interfaces into the compensation system so agents can audit more quickly the activity they’ve sold against what they are being paid. And, within the next 12 months, he expects to unveil the long-awaited partner portal representing a common front-end to the disparate Qwest backoffice systems.
“My intent is to create a portal strategy specific to QBPP that allows our partner to go in and enter orders so they seamlessly go into our order-entry systems as opposed to being touched somewhere in the process by another human being. In the same respect, they could go in in a secured fashion and look at customer files and see the status of orders and see whether or not the customer has received his first bill and so on,” he says.
As for products, Clark says the major push will be in four areas - local, long-distance, LAN/WAN networking and, of course, VoIP products. “We are picking up momentum [with VoIP] now that the partners have seen this is a product that we are committed to, that it’s part of the future of this company and we are working through all of the growing pains any company has when they launch a new product. They are jumping in with both feet,” he says, claiming more than a thousand leads in the funnel for its OneFlex integrated access and hosted VoIP services.
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Qwest Communications International Inc. www.qwest.com