"Show me a better financial plan. Show me a better business. I really think that this is the best game in town," one partner said.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

October 17, 2023

10 Slides

A hospitality sales rep. An assistant manager for a legal courier. A Green Bay Packers quarterback. These are just a few of the careers Bridgepointe IT strategists led before starting a technology agency.

IT strategists (agents) at technology advisor firm Bridgepointe Technologies come from a diverse assortment of career backgrounds. Bridgepointe co-founder and chief revenue officer Brian Miller said 10 of the company’s top 20 strategists adopted an entirely new portfolio to sell when they started with Bridgepointe.

That trend seems to deviate from the average back story of an agent. Many agents, also known as technology advisors, started their businesses after working in sales at telecom carriers. They used in-depth knowledge of the telecom world and its processes to help customers source technologies. But while many of the strategists at Bridgepointe came from carriers (Evars and Miller came from Telseon), that’s by no means a requirement for Bridgepointe.

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Bridgepointe’s Scott Evars

“Some of our most successful strategists came from outside the business. We have gold traders; we have software salespeople,” Bridgepointe co-founder and CEO Scott Evars told Channel Futures. “… [over the years] we found great salespeople. And our commitment to them was to help them monetize their relationships.”

Bridgepointe’s model plays a role in that diversity. Bridgepointe IT strategists (agents) typically partner exclusively with Bridgepointe for supplier contracts and back-office support. But more importantly, as many strategists told Channel Futures, they leverage Bridgepointe’s brand and its reference sheet of Fortune 500 customers. And full-time Bridgepointe sales people join customer calls with strategists to augment any technical gaps in their knowledge.

“We’ve done more four-legged, six legged, eight-legged sales calls than have most companies that are in this business,” Miller said said in a keynote speech last week.

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Bridgepointe Technologies’ Brian Miller

Vendors, tech service distributors and technology advisors are all on the hunt for new talent. Moreover, industry leaders are seeking to replace a generation of agent leaders that sold their businesses. Vendor channel leaders hope that new agents will in turn create new customer logos, which in turn allows vendor channel leaders to justify their investments to their C-suite.

A new generation of partners is forming, and not just in Bridgepointe ecosystem. Some of them have branched off from large VARs, where they had led a carrier services practice. Others were working at an established technology advisor firm. Others come from outside of the channel partner world, like from the customer side of IT.

But starting a technology advisor practice is hard. Technology advisors stack juicy streams of recurring monthly commissions on top of each other, but that stack starts at zero and takes time to build. While leaving a corporate environment can spell freedom for a talented sales person, they must now reckon with building resources and infrastructure they hadn’t worried about in their past life.

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Bridgepointe’s Peter Reiss

“When you were working for the carrier, you didn’t need to go create the marketing, the slides and create a brand from scratch — all those things,” said Bridgepointe equity partner Peter Reiss, who was a regional general manager at Level 3 before joining CNSG. “You weren’t weighed down with that. You were weighed down with really two things: building relationships and helping those relationships solve problems.”

A panel of Bridgepointe IT strategists – many who entered the channel from an unrelated industry – shared why they joined Bridgepointe and what helped them succeed in their business. Channel Futures also interviewed two other top-performing Bridgepointe IT strategists about their experiences.

Channel Futures uses the terms “IT strategist,” “technology advisor,” “agent” and “partner” synonymously in this article.

Go through the eight images above to see highlights from the panel and insights about starting an agency.

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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