Top Gun 51 Profile: Chris Jones on the AT&T Agent Channel Approach ‘Changing Rapidly’

Top Gun 51 CP CF 2020 Main Colors

AT&T has been fine-tuning its agent channel approach, according to Chris Jones.

So says Chris Jones, associate vice president of channel sales for AT&T National Business and Channels. He spearheads AT&T’s recently formed master agent organization, which encompasses partners from the AT&T Alliance Channel and ACC Business. AT&T last year announced that it was separating traditional agents from master agents in order to support their unique business models. As a result, companies belonging to both the Alliance Channel and ACC Business started working with a single channel manager.

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AT&T’s Chris Jones

Jones recently landed on the prestigious Top Gun 51 list, which honors the industry’s most influential and respected channel chiefs. Distributors, master agents and analysts voted on the winners, weighing their channel advocacy and commitment to partners.

So we chatted with Jones about his experiences with AT&T and the agent channel.

Channel Partners: Could you share a little bit about your role within AT&T’s partner organization?

Chris Jones: I am responsible for managing the AT&T Alliance Channel and ACC Business Masters organization. This organization focuses on driving increased sales production and revenue growth nationally between masters and their subs for the Alliance Channel and ACC Business. This encompasses channel transformation, retention, marketing, operations, automation and sales effectiveness.

CP: What are some of your highlights from the last year?

CJ: I have been extremely pleased with everything we have been able to accomplish this year. We built a new national organization that combined Alliance Channel (teamed selling) and ACC Business (non-teamed selling) into one organization. We also added master-focused national channel managers and life cycle managers to focus on masters and their subs. And we have three regional sales teams focused on going deep and wide with subs. Finally, we introduced new solutions into the ACC Business portfolio to enhance the opportunity for masters and subs to sell in a non-teamed way.

CP: Tell us a little bit about your career. How did you come to work in the channel?

CJ: I have worked for AT&T, including a stint with Cingular Wireless, for over 25 years in a variety of sales, marketing, operations and strategy positions. My current role marks my second time working in the channel. The first was almost 12 years ago when I led the mobility practice with responsibility for the introduction of mobility to the AT&T Alliance Channel before moving to manage our channel marketing team. I then left the channel to manage the Southeast region small business team. In 2016 I returned to the channel to lead our East region team, focused on our legacy solution provider channel while working on our strategy to “go big” with masters and subs.

AT&T’s Chris Jones is part of Channel Partners/Channel Futures’ 2020 Top Gun 51. This program recognizes today’s channel executives who build and execute channel programs that drive partner, customer and supplier success. See the full list.

CP: Our industry looks very different than it did 10 years ago, both from a technological and go-to-market perspective. What must the modern channel program do to support its partners?

CJ: In my opinion, modern channel programs must listen to and evolve with the needs of masters and subs. The solutions we sell are changing, but at the core, I believe our purpose has stayed the same. Masters and subs have great relationships with customers and understand their technological needs. They are looking for …

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