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What is a Partner Worth?

By Peter Radizeski, RAD-INFO

I have often had a vacillating relationship with carriers. Mainly because while they like to call us “partners, it is not usually the case.

We are inexpensive tools for their sales department. When you have sold millions of dollars of billing for a company, you would think there would be a level of respect. (And I don’t mean at the agent facing manager level; I mean higher up the organizational chart at the associate vice president level and above.)

In many cases, more than 25 percent of revenue comes from the channel. Why wouldn’t you make that easier? It’s easy money since you only pay commission on positive result. No lease, no furniture, no utilities, no salaries, no benefits, no pension, no HR hassles. Just commission on services sold. (Even then you make it tough to collect, which further undermines your casual use of the “partner” word.)

What is the acquisition cost for an agent? There is the training, but it is so rudimentary that the value is questionable. Why not engage the channel?

Really. The Agents want to earn commission; help them. Really.

At the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, four vice president’s were questioned about their channel views. Did they take anything away? It’s not the Golden Age anymore. In fact, many agents left for real estate or pharma over the last couple of years. It’s not fun any more. It is hard to get quotes and hard to get paid. If you made it easier – you would gain loyalty. Right now, agents usually sell for many carriers. Verizon Business wanted an exclusive, so did the former BellSouth, but to ask for that commitment – what are you committing?

Everyday I find evidence telco is broken. It explains why Cbeyond was able to do so well. Vonage didn’t get 2.2 million customers because telco was doing it right; you know what I am saying? Cable is going to take 40 percent of the telephony market – no doubt. Carriers need help to slow that loss. The channel can help (or maybe cable will hire some agents!) But that needs to be a top down decision – and it needs to be backed up … daily.

And telling me I can’t mention your company’s name in print is no way to have a relationship.

Peter Radizeski is president of RAD-INFO. He can be reached at

peter@rad-info.net

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