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February 17, 2021
T-Mobile partners are praising the carrier’s new channel leader and its initiative to build bridges between direct and indirect sales.
T-Mobile earlier this month announced the appointment of Pat Watkins, who now works as vice president of channel and IoT sales. She’ll work to drive collaboration all across the T-Mobile channel partner program. On one hand, that means building deeper and more responsive lines of dialogue with partners. T-Mobile has created a partner advisory council to that end, and Watkins has been listening closely to partner feedback.
T-Mobile’s Pat Watkins
On the other hand, T-Mobile has sought to eliminate conflict between direct and indirect sales. The company doubled both the quota and payout for direct sales people and partners, thus encouraging them to work with one another.
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“What I’m really looking to do is to make this a more collaborative effort between the partner channel and our direct team,” she told Channel Partners.
And partners have taken notice.
Converge IoT’s Mark Savage
“I see them really trying to break down those barriers,” said Mark Savage, CEO and co-founder of Converge IoT. He said Watkins has been listening closely to partner feedback since her appointment.
“I think she’ll be a great leader in the program,” he said.
Chris Werpy, PlanetOne‘s chief operating officer, said agents have benefited from PlanetOne’s relationship with T-Mobile over the years. He credited T-Mobile for its commitment to the channel.
PlanetOne’s Chris Werpy
“It is not every day that you see a strong consumer brand driving success across both its direct and indirect book of business. We applaud T-Mobile for its ‘uncarrier’ mindset and continued investments in the channel, as well as its innovation around mobility and IoT — two areas that offer tremendous growth opportunities for our partners,” Werpy said. “We look forward to elevating our relationship and closing more deals with the appointment of their new channel chief and the recent enhancements made to their channel partner program.”
Savage said T-Mobile is building an environment that enables distributors like Converge to connect partners to direct sales people and end customers in order to drive solutions.
“How we figure that out is sometimes easier said than done, but I see the opportunity to do that,” he said.
Savage and his wife Dionna founded Converge IoT in 2018. He said they launched the master distributor after seeing former Sprint and T-Mobile CEOs Marcelo Claure and John Legere state their goal of merging together. The Savages left corporate jobs in order to take advantage of the opportunism they saw at the consolidated T-Mobile.
Savage sees a similar enthusiasm from the channel partners that Converge IoT is bringing to T-Mobile’s partner community.
“I’m seeing more and more big-name players coming to the T-Mobile channel,” he said. “I think they’re starting to see T-Mobile’s 5G story. They’re seeing the network story.”
Savage has seen the T-Mobile partner program evolve significantly since 2018. The last six months in particular have demonstrated an initiative to bring in a wider range of partners. But bringing in those partners is just one aspect. Savage said T-Mobile is giving partners the flexibility to chart their own course and take advantage of their unique value. For example, a partner may specialize in the public sector, a specific customer size or a particular offering. The goal is to give each of those partners a seat at the table.
“Learning how to work with partners and the cadence of teaming together takes time. I’ve seen that evolution in two years. I see that improving constantly,” Savage said.
And ultimately Savage sees openness and collaboration shining through on the part of the vendor.
“I’m seeing confidence in the partners to bring their existing customers to T-Mobile, sit at the table with T-Mobile and know that they can bring their solutions and win deals,” he said. “When I see the partners excited to come work with T-Mobile, that makes me excited.”
Read more about:Agents
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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