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The Channel Partners 101 Launches: An Award for the Agents

Commissions-based firms can take part in the newest partner awards program.

James Anderson

February 24, 2022

5 Min Read
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Channel Futures is launching the Channel Partners 101, the first and only list for the technology advisory channel.

The Channel Partners 101 will recognize the fastest-growing agents, consultants, brokers, telecom expense management providers, IT strategists and other commission-based firms that make up today’s connectivity channel. The Channel Partners 101 is a comprehensive initiative that includes a published list, a special awards ceremony to honor the organizations and individuals selected, an agent advisory board and new research.

Check out the application.

Channel Futures, which spearheads the CP 101, also produces the MSP 501, which has grown to be the largest and most influential leaderboard for managed IT service providers. The MSP 501 gala at this fall’s MSP Summit, Sept. 12-14, in Orlando, will honor the industry’s highest-performing managed services organizations.

The Partners of the CP 101

Since their inception decades ago, agents have evolved into an integral part of the telecom industry. However, you might consider this network of partners a needle in the haystack, because they are not the most visible brands. Many of these firms sprung up at the initiative of dissatisfied enterprise reps who wanted to do more for their customers. Tired of selling only one product set to their clients – and one that often came with less than satisfactory customer support – they left the corporate world to business their own way. Telecom agents have helped IT leaders navigate a complicated and miserable purchasing experience, leveraging knowledge, relationships and negotiation to save customers time and money.

These organizations have proven themselves as trustworthy guides for their customers. They’ve also proven themselves as a formidable sales force for the vendors and suppliers whose connectivity products and services they represent. Moreover, they evolved to be so much more than telecom brokers. They expanded from providing legacy connectivity and data to offering voice. Then they grew into the cloud, selling offerings like unified communications as a service and contact center as a service. Some have even evolved to sell advanced offerings like cybersecurity and robotic process automation.

Apply now for the CP 101, the first and only list for the technology advisory channel. Be ranked among the best in the business!

This list recognizes the top partners who employ a commission-based revenue model. Whichever label you attach to your business – agent, MSP, VAR or old school telco broker – if at least half of your revenue comes from commissions, this CP 101 listing and recognition is for you.

We will honor winners on the Channel Futures website. They’ll also get recognition at the 2023 Channel Partners Conference & Expo.

Why Now?

The Channel Partners Conference & Expo, which has its roots as an agent show, has always catered to agent partners. But now more than ever, Channel Futures is elevating the voice of these partners with the CP 101.

Agents are fiercely competitive. You don’t just want a pat on the back or a participation trophy. You want to see where you land compared to your peers. So we’re moving on from an anecdote-based award to one based on data. The CP 101 will paint a concrete picture of the entrepreneurs who are shaping the indirect business technology sales channel.

How We’ll Measure It

The Channel Futures team considered a wide range of metrics to rank this leaderboard. It also asked the Channel Futures partner advisory board to weigh in on how to move forward in a fair way for all.

The first question: For whom was this program designed? Was it for any channel partner organization that sold business technology? Channel Futures leaned away from that approach, as other programs in the industry recognize top-performing resellers. The VAR model is great, but it’s time for the agent model to shine. For that reason, the CP 101 includes a 50% commissions threshold. Applicants must earn at least half of their revenue from commissions. This will ensure that the program is is recognizing the world’s fastest growing technology sales agencies.

Note that the CP 101 is not recognizing the world’s largest sales agencies. If you attend any technology solutions brokerage (TSB) awards reception, you’ll find a list of the highest-volume performers. Channel Futures wanted to do something new. Moreover, consolidation is hitting the industry hard, as many business owners are agreeing to agent rollups. Bigger is better. For some channel partners, inorganic growth has helped them reach their goals and become more efficient. But for others, remaining a boutique shop is the best way to keep serving their customers. Ideally, both partner types should compete in the CP 101.

Thus, the CP 101 will focus on year-over-year revenue growth. Because the survey takes data from last year and many customer deals take a long time to officially close, Channel Futures will make calculations using a mix of billed and booked revenue.

Additional Awards

We will also acknowledge three nomination-based award winners. Applicants can nominate an Agent of the Year, which will go to an individual who demonstrated innovation, leadership and high character in 2021. In addition, we will recognize one agent for Lifetime Achievement in the channel.

It’s not just agents that can win a CP 101 award. Applicants have an opportunity to nominate the technology solutions brokerage (formerly known as master agents) that has provided a superior partner experience.

Data Privacy

Next comes the inevitable question: are you going to share my data with the world? No. The Channel Futures editorial team will keep financial data from applicants confidential. The team will use the data to rank the leaderboard. In addition, it will conduct studies based on some of the numbers to offer agents more insights about their industry. However, no one outside the team will see your responses.

In addition, many of these questions are optional to answer. Applicants should be able to complete the application in less than 30 minutes.

The Future

As you might imagine, the CP 101 will evolve over time based on feedback. Ranking methodologies may shift, and the awards categories may expand. Nevertheless, the agent channel’s first awards program is here to stay.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email James Anderson or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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