Dan Foster: Smaller, Nimbler MegaPath Stealing Market Share From CompetitorsDan Foster: Smaller, Nimbler MegaPath Stealing Market Share From Competitors
MegaPath's Dan Foster said his company's new sales bookings have increased between 50 to 100 percent on a new monthly basis.
August 7, 2017
Last week, the provider of voice, data, security and cloud services announced it is expanding Foster’s role as president of business markets to include COO, charged with day-to-day management and leadership of the company, and full profit-and-loss responsibilities. He rejoined Megapath last summer after leaving the company in February 2015 when it sold its managed services division.
Last month, MegaPath announced it has surpassed 1 million lit buildings where it is providing dedicated internet access.
Foster’s role will expand to include oversight of customer care, service delivery, business processes and technology, and product development.
In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Foster talks about what his new role will mean to MegaPath’s partner community, and what his goals are for the company moving forward.
Channel Partners: How has your role with MegaPath changed through the years leading up to this?
MegaPath’s Dan Foster
Dan Foster: It’s essentially been rooted in go-to-market strategies and all of the components that it takes to be successful winning in the market. And then from there, it’s been, once you start owning product, you start finding yourself in operations, and once you’re in operations, you start finding yourself really owning the entirety of the customer experience. And so I view it from external inward looking, saying I own the customer experience, meaning what products do we put on the shelf, what does the customer do with that product when they pick it up, and then really importantly … how do you get that product to market, what distribution channels do you have, and then how to enable those to be successful, and how do you get all the distributors in the market picking up your products and selling them?
CP: Is this a big year, or the biggest year yet, for MegaPath? If so, how?
DF: The year ahead is probably the biggest one for us because it puts us into one of the highest growth markets with a compelling set of products and services. So we look at profitable growth, we look at new logos and we really try to say, how do we create the three key tenants: happy customers and partners, happy employees and then stewardship toward our shareholders, our board and the rest. And when we deliver on the first with great solutions, with employees that really are passionate, then all of the rest of that value creation occurs. It’s going to be a big year for us just because we think our products kick butt in the industry and I think a lot of the partners are showing that because we’re bringing on a lot of new partners this year where they’re just coming to us without a lot of recruiting efforts.
CP: What are the biggest issues currently facing MegaPath and what will be your role in addressing them?
DF: When you’ve got great product-market fit, it’s really about distribution. It’s ensuring that all the people know that MegaPath has a great product that really fits their needs. And so because we’re in this space of connecting businesses, securing those connections and then …
… delivering compelling applications, i.e. VoIP, UCaaS, over those, there’s so much growth in that market that it’s really about getting our product placement out there in the hands of distributors, and in this case the master agents and the sales partners of those master agents as an example. It’s not really an issue, but really a challenge.
CP: How has MegaPath’s position changed in the competitive landscape? Is your company increasingly taking business away from your competitors?
DF: Our competitive positioning in the marketplace has changed in that we sold off a legacy MPLS network, we sold off legacy DSL and network components, and really positioned ourselves to be an aggregator of networks and managed services on top of that. You’ll see us announcing some new networking capabilities around SD-WAN, which is one of the hottest areas. We’re early in and then we can continue to differentiate through new products in that space, and giving sales partners almost a selection as opposed to one type. And then finally we’re delivering more to that midmarket now. Part of our business was into the small business and we’ve moved up market to target those midmarket customers that we find the sales partners really like to work on.
Over the last year our new sales bookings have gone up by anywhere between 50 to 100 percent on a new monthly basis, so we’re pretty proud of that and obviously we’re taking share away from some of our competitors. Because we’ve got a smaller, nimbler company, we’re able to focus on partner and customer experience. We’ve taken installs on our VoIP product platform down to on average four days. That used to be double-digit numbers. In fact, last month alone, 90 percent of all installs were done within that time frame. Second, on the support side, we in-sourced all of our support, so we put it in our Herndon, Virginia, and Seattle centers, and upscaled the agents supporting our partners and customers.
And finally, we believe that through compelling products and really being a fast innovator with proven technology, we can get to market quickly with what the customers want to buy; in this case SD-WAN with a managed service and a security unified-threat capability.
CP: Are you going to be working with and interacting with partners as much as you have been in your previous roles?
DF: Absolutely. I want to keep my finger on the pulse of the evolving needs of partners so as I look out to 2018 and our planning cycle, we ask ourselves what do our customers and partners need, where is their business going and how are we best fit to deliver that. It’s probably just more hours in the day, but you have to keep your finger on the pulse of the needs and demands of that important of a channel.
CP: What’s your take on MegaPath’s channel strategy and channel program? Have they been evolving to meet changing market and partner needs?
DF: Our partner strategy is make sure it’s a compelling experience, and then we want to focus on fewer, more productive partners who really understand the value that we bring to the marketplace through products and services, and great customer experience; and then enabling them to deliver compelling growth to their own business, and then I think good things come.
CP: What do you plan to accomplish during your first year in your new role?
DF: The broadest goal we have is increased profitable growth, so we want to see the business grow faster, but then below that … the goals that are critical are partner and customer satisfaction, so … it’s enabling great products and services into compelling distribution channels to deliver that profitable growth. And then it’s enabling great customer experience through innovative support and capabilities to ensure that that customer satisfaction is very high.
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