MegaPath Channel Program Gets Back on Track

Channel Partners

March 19, 2008

4 Min Read
MegaPath Channel Program Gets Back on Track

After losing some momentum with its partner program, broadband aggregator and managed services provider MegaPath Inc. has re-examined its partner program and come back to the market with a simpler program and some additional high-value products.

The back-to-basics approach coincides with the return of longtime channel head Dan Foster. Foster had left the companys channel leadership following MegaPaths merger with Netifice in early 2006. He spent the past two years building the companys SMB unit. While that unit grew 100 percent during the timeframe, the companys agent program did not keep pace. So, Foster was brought back in December 2007 to re-energize the program. Now, as senior vice president for channels and SMB markets, Foster has responsibility for both initiatives.

We have a very unique perspective of the channel reorganization of MegaPath since were one of the only master agents to be both a part of Netifice and MegaPath prior to the merger, said Adam Edwards, president of Telarus Inc. Both companies did things very differently so we were curious to see which channel strategy the new entity would take. As it turns out, the marriage was less than ideal from a channel perspective, and we lost our momentum with MegaPath, as did a lot of other agents. However, we were very excited to see the new emphasis MegaPath has placed on getting its channel back on track.

It will take time to repair agents confidence, but it can be done. As a member of the newly formed MegaPath Advisory Council, well do our part to provide the feedback and guidance that, if followed, will help bring them back to pre-merger sales levels and morale.

The new partner program has three tiers Referral, Advantage and Master. In addition, there is a simplified compensation structure based on flat commissions and bonuses. Previously, the company was paying commissions based on product types and partner tiers, which became complicated for partners to understand, Foster said. Finally, the contract now requires online certification for Advantage and Master partners; Referral partners also have access to the training, but its not required.

The Referral program, which targets computer consultants and VARs, has been under Fosters wing since early 2007, and grew 200 percent last year using local recruiting, he says. Referral partners earn one-time bounties on closed deals; greater incentives are tied to achieving certifications or selling deals in the companys golden footprint colocation areas on the East coast in Baltimore, Md.; Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

The Advantage tier is for direct agents while the Master tier is for master agents. Foster said both are contractually obligated to participate in the new certification program, which was set to launch at the end of March, in order to become authorized MegaPath partners. Advantage partners must require 50 percent of their staff members to successfully complete training and testing. Master agents must make a commercially reasonable effort to push subagents through certification.

In addition to simplifying the program and adding the training requirements, Foster has brought in IT resources to redo the companys partner portal, which also was launched at the end of first quarter, as well as APIs into systems operated by its top master agents like Telarus.

At the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, MegaPath announced it would extend availability of its MPLS service with security gateway option through the channel. The service has been sold through MegaPaths retail channels for about a year. This is our most successful product in the midmarket, said Foster. Its a fully private MPLS network with a security gateway that allows you to do antivirus. Its all network-based; there is no appliance. We have invested several million dollars integrating security devices into our network [to accomplish this].

MegaPath also is expanding its channel offerings with the addition of Duet, the companys high-speed Internet and voice service bundle. Duet provides SMBs with features found in enterprise voice and data solutions without the staffing requirements or investments in network and telephony equipment. The company charges a flat monthly fee per line and includes unlimited local and long-distance calling so customers can easily predict their phone and Internet costs. Duet is delivered over a private circuit, which never touches public Internet, and always prioritizes the phone service over data traffic so that customers receive the quality their business requires.

Duet comes in two flavors: Duet Nationwide and Duet PRI. Our basic Duet product allows you to use your existing analog phone system, plug it into a key system, into the punch-down block, no infrastructure change, Foster explained. If you have bought a PBX over time and you want a trunk replacement, [Duet PRI] is a classic PVCbased, QoS PRI trunk replacement. Duet SIP, a SIP trunking product, was set for release at the end of March.

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