Accepting Channel Mediocrity





Brian Snortheim, director of alternate channel marketing, Time Warner Cable – Business Class

None of us aspires to be mediocre. We want to be the best at what we do.

In doing some planning for 2009, I recently reviewed some research that was focused on the telecom channel’s performance and examined the relationship between suppliers and vendors. I found some of the results to be a bit startling as mediocrity reigned.

Consider these statistics:

  • 47 percent of partners rate product support from vendors only “OK” or worse.
  • 71 percent of partners rate effectiveness and impact of vendor marketing campaigns “somewhat effective” or worse.

Surely, the extent of sales collaboration varies greatly across channel players and their supplier partners. With that also comes a significant variance of channel satisfaction with the quantity and quality of the support that agents appear to be getting from their suppliers.

But the question I keep raising is, why? That is, why does the telecom channel accept that average as just fine?

Market competition should drive agents to look at alternate options for telecom products and services if they are receiving such mediocre support and performance. So are agents thinking about security instead of opportunity? In today’s competitive marketplace, with such a wide array of choices, agents surely are looking at new options to save their business customers money or optimize their IT operations.

My observation is this – and I hope it doesn’t reflect the actions of most agents – perhaps it’s just easier for agents to sell the same products they’ve been pushing for years. And if that’s the case, no wonder we’re seeing feedback that is all-too-often mediocre.

Today’s competitive environment inspires businesses to push the envelope, to be innovative, to settle for nothing but the best. That’s how they win.

To be a winner in the channel demands the same level of commitment. If you become an expert at identifying and implementing the best communications solutions for your customers, you will add value to their business – and add vibrancy to your relationship with them. Stay one step ahead of your competition by being aware of new, alternate and more robust solutions.

By doing so, you’ll be able to bid mediocrity a fond farewell.

Brian Snortheim is director of alternate channel marketing for Time Warner Cable – Business Class. He also is a member of the 2008-09 PHONE+ Channel Partners Advisory Board..

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