When Is a Vendor Not a Vendor?

Justin McLainBy  Justin McLain, CEO,

Endeavor Telecom

The agent-carrier relationship is a core component in the foundation of our industry.  Agents rove the changing landscape of the market seeking potential enterprise customers whose businesses can be enhanced by the suite of services offered by the carriers they represent.  Despite the agent serving as the face of the carrier to the end customer throughout the development and implementation process, there is still a lingering reluctance from the carrier side to treat agents as anything beyond vendors.

I find myself battling this same mindset on occasion with the vendors” that Endeavor works with day in and day out. Our 9,000-plus installation contractors serve as the face of Endeavor to thousands of end customers whose sites we dispatch to daily.And yet there is a tendency for me to think of them as vendors — some separate entity far removed from the core team of internal staff that drives our organizational successes, even though these field engineers serve arguably the most critical role of delivering the services my team works so hard to sell, implement, manage and support. 

The role vendors play in Endeavors case as field installation resources and in the case of agents as the facilitator between end customer and carrier is certainly not an insignificant one in our industry, and fostering a relationship more like a partnership can only benefit both sides.  By engaging agents in the same manner as a team member, carriers can forge stronger bonds with the companies and individuals on the front lines working diligently to represent them and the solutions they have to offer potential customers who can reap the benefits of these solutions in helping optimize their own business. 

Similarly, agents can work to reinforce the partnership by reminding carriers of the crucial part they play in bridging the gap between customer needs and carrier service offerings by developing personal relationships with their carrier counterparts and communicating openly about the struggles and successes they face on a daily basis. In relating personal experiences and observations regarding the needs, challenges and concerns from the end-users perspective, agents effectively can influence how carriers go about tailoring their service offerings to meet the changing demands of customers as technological and economic trends evolve provided that strong collaborative relationship exists.

At the end of the day, strengthening the relationship with agent vendors leads to tangible rewards.  Agents are the ones who bring end customers and carriers together, a strong driving force both in increasing business for individual carriers and in perpetuating industrywide growth by exposing customers to the latest technological solutions available to them.  It is important that treat them as such, giving them the same time, support and gratitude as we would one of our own hard-working salaried employees.


Endeavor Telecoms

CEO, Justin McLain is responsible for overseeing company operations.  As the steward of Endeavors value, he is focused on the development of new service products and strategic relationships assuring the companys continued growth and success within the telecommunications industry and is actively involved in managing Endeavors relationships with its largest customers. McLain has been in executive management with Endeavor since its divestiture in 2002.  Prior to that, he worked for HealthSource and Shin-Etsu Polymer Corp. McLain earned a bachelors degree in business administration and a bachelors degree in biology from the College of Charleston. He is a member of the

2010-11 Channel Partners Advisory Board


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