The Unbearable Absence of Rules

By Michael Fair, MarketRace

In my continuing review of my Top 10 Mistakes that Service Providers make with their channel programs:

No. 4 Channel Conflict. Wow, this is a particular pet peeve of mine and one that really demonstrates that a carrier simply does not get it if a program does not have rules to manage or, hopefully, eliminate channel conflict. Gone are the days, for most successful programs, where a “first to tag a deal” got to own the opportunity.

Qwest really pioneered much of the breakthrough channel integration processes back six or seven years ago and the process has, for the most part, been emulated by most of the larger carriers. We may not always agree with the process or outcome but at least partners are allowed to request to work and team with direct reps on larger enterprise and government deals at Verizon, AT&T, Qwest, etc.

The carriers have recognized that they simply cannot cover all of the end users and recognize that many partners are also moving up the value chain and adding substantial value to the customer experience through managed services, TEM applications and the like. This is good for everyone involved.

It is usually now the smaller service providers that need coaching on how to minimize channel conflict and allow for deals to be shared, double comping, etc. Excluding partners from deals that they are often better suited to sell and manage only hurts the service provider.

My next blog will cover my trip next week to Kenya. I am off to visit a company called KenCall which has quickly become the one of the largest, if not the largest, call centers in Africa. They are truly living the dream of The World Is Flat. Offshoring of call centers and customer servicer operations to countries like Kenya and India is a rapidly evolving opportunity for channel partners and I will shortly share my perspectives on this.

Michael Fair is a founding partner of MarketRace. He can be reached at +303 884 8174 or


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