TBI Deals, WTG Sale, Intelisys UCaaS Top Latest Master-Agent Doings

Business Arm Wrestling

Several vendors signed their first master-agent agreements during the final months of 2018.

The masters are targeting a new breed of suppliers as they seek to offer the deepest technology portfolio to their subagents. Chicago rivals TBI and Avant formed partnerships with IT companies, with Avant bulking up on security. Advantage Communications teamed with an Asian carrier to double down on its international reach. WTG added another IoT solution.

Vendor partnerships are the bread and butter of master-agent news, but there was more to that in 2018’s fourth quarter. We also wrote about new hires, surveys and programs; plus, an acquisition announced at the end of the year raised industry eyebrows.

Scroll through the gallery below to view 11 updates regarding the some of the biggest players in the channel.

We put out a recap of important happenings in the master agent channel every three months. The third quarter recap is here.

If you’re looking for more in-depth reading, see Buffy Naylor’s guide to picking a master agent partner.


The Chicago-based company grew on multiple fronts last quarter.

The master added several channel managers to its team to fill out its support staff in multiple regions. New York City, other parts of the East Coast, Texas and Oklahoma are a few of the areas where new managers will work with agents.

The company's portfolio also is growing with the addition of several IT-focused vendors. And on the telecommunications front, TBI announced the launch of a program to help Verizon sell wireless services.

Read more about the new hires and suppliers.
Commission research
TBI Survey

The company let us in on its market research.

TBI and AT&T queried partners about their technology portfolios and customer demands. In a collaborative effort, the two companies interviewed more than 100 partners in a "blind study." A big takeaway from the study was one-third of the respondents offer SDN, SD-WAN and IoT solutions.

There's more data than that, so check it out.

Vince Bradley's outfit partnered with Sprint for a very specific purpose.

The service provider gave WTG access to one of its internet-of-things offerings. The two companies had already been working together for 20 years, but the agreement has expanded to include IoT. WTG subagents can sell the Sprint "IoT in a Box" solution, which uses Sprint's AI and robotics technology.

WTG also teamed up with SaaS marketing provider Vivial.

Read WTG's Sprint announcement.
WTG's Big News

In a surprise move, AppDirect announced its purchase of WTG. 

The cloud-commerce platform is merging WTG with NeoCloud, a North Carolina-based cloud service provider, into a new unit called AppSmart. WTG agreed to a transaction with AppDirect while turning down distributor and master-agent suitors. Vince Bradley said he wanted a "strategic" transaction, not a "financial" one.

Read more about what he meant.

The Utah-based company signed agreements with several diverse vendors last year.

Telarus teamed up with vMOX, which provides mobility cost optimization and life-cycle management solutions. On the unified-communications front, Telarus signed Sharpen Technologies, which provides a cloud contact-center platform.

Even more: A partnership with Thrive Networks gave the master agent a set of disaster recovery, cloud, security and networking services.

More than 4,500 agents sell Telarus' technology portfolio.

Get details on two of the partnerships as well as one of Telarus' recent hires.

We wrote about three new supplier partnerships the Chicago-based company announced in the fourth quarter.

Avant first teamed up with the Trustwave, which provides managed security services addressing threats, vulnerabilities and compliance. Avant also teamed up with threat management provider Alert Logic and cloud service provider Logicworks.

Each vendor entered into a master-agent relationship for the first time with Avant.

Read about the partnerships with Trustwave, Alert Logic and Logicworks

Intelisys hyped up its partners on unified communications as a service (UCaaS) at its annual summit.

Andrew Pryfogle, senior vice president of cloud transformation, told the audience at the Channel Connect conference that the UCaaS market is worth about $150 billion. The market is also less than 10 percent penetrated, as legacy vendors have only recently rebranded as cloud-first.

Pryfogle said partners should "hear cash registers" whenever they discuss the techonology.

Read more about what Intelisys executives said at Channel Connect.

The self-styled "advanced solutions distributor" went on a partnership spree in recent months.

MicroCorp announced in October that it had signed nine new vendor partners, upping its total to 90. That includes DataBank, Dialogue Conferencing, Granite, GTT, Matrix, Netrality, NexVortex, Versa by VergX, and Zanaris. The company also sent Sean Tario, its VP of cloud elements, to the Irish Data Center Forum in Dublin to consult Irish technology firms about U.S. expansion.

Read more about MicroCorp's  supplier partnerships and Tario.

The Arizona-based master agent highlighted key vendors and teased survey results at a year-end event.

PlanetOne hosted partners in Scottsdale, Arizona, for the final stop of its 2018 Tech Tour. The gathering featured a "Cage Match" among AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Broad Sky Networks, which shared their visions for 5G.

CEO Ted Schuman released results of his company's partner survey, which showed 88 percent of partners maintaining or increasing revenue. Some of the questions homed in on how partners feel about PlanetOne. More than 90 percent ranked PlanetOne’s overall performance and overall management as above average or excellent, Schuman said.

Read Edward Gately's recap of the event.

Advantage Communications Group increased its number of partnerships with foreign carriers.

The New York-based master signed an agreement with India-based Sify Technologies, which provides services for data center, cloud and system integration. Sify joined other Indian service providers that already were working with Advantage. The master agent's executives said having another one will improve agents' choices and pricing.

About 50 of Advantage's carrier relationships are with international companies.

We chatted with Jesse Bernstein-Ansaldi, Advantage's director of international sales.
Sandler Partners

The California-based company announced that its Commissions Integrity Program has now recovered $5 million.

The program, launched in 2013, proactively monitors partner commissions and sales incentives for deals ranging from small to large, and transactional to opex. Some master agents require their subagents to log the missing SPIFs and commissions.

Sandler's director of finance noted that the commissions team recovered more than $1.3 billion in year 2018 alone. 

Get details on the milestone and the program.

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