June 21, 2018
**Editor’s Note: Click here to see which channel people were on the move in May.**
TELARUS PARTNER XCHANGE — Telarus on Thursday rolled out a tool to help partners guide customers through vendor selection.
The master agent launched its UCaaS Matrix resource in 2016 but announced an upgrade at this year’s partner conference. The website, available on the Telarus back office, lets partners narrow down a long list of vendors based on attributes and competencies and make head-to-head comparisons. Telarus has also added matrices for SD-WAN, security, cloud and call center.
Telarus’s Patrick Oborn
Telarus Co-Founder Patrick Oborn said the upgraded tool will make partners look like geniuses in front of their customers.
“This is your trick in your back pocket,” Oborn said. “This is why working with Telarus is going to make you smarter than working with the other masters. Because we want you to win, and we’re going to invest in tools for you to do this.”
The Matrix is available only to agents with a login, but Telarus has made some vendor information publicly available. Oborn announced that the Matrix is already available on the Telarus Partner App.
“Not only do we want you to be the best. We want you to be the best on your phone. You are literally a mobile agent; you can go anywhere you want with that phone, and you will be able to give Gartner-level advice to any of your clients,” he said.
Telarus does a technology (usually software) reveal every year at its partner event. Last year the new tool was MoonRize, which expands order visibility for partners.
This year’s partner conference moved to Boca Raton, Florida after several years in Utah. It’s also the first conference after the merger of Telarus and competitor master agent CarrierSales. Telarus CEO Adam Edwards spoke yesterday about the synergies between the two companies.
HTG 360’s Chris Ichelson
HTG 360 CEO Chris Ichelson says both companies and their respective employees are unified under the same brand.
“The two companies have gone through a massive combining of two very separate companies,” Ichelson said. “They’ve done an awesome job at it. From a partner perspective, I do not hear of any restriction in the space.”
He reiterated Telarus CEO Adam Edwards’ sentiment that CarrierSales brought several new specializations to the combined company, including contact center and security. Ichelson says the overall result is Telarus obtaining more resources and more diverse perspectives. The company said last year that it would become the second largest master agent as a result of the transaction, vying for supremacy against Intelisys.
“If you have one big organization in a space, a lot of times the competitors need to combine resources and combine talent,” Ichelson said. “If not, the road to get there is…
…too long. And I think this was probably the best move they could have made.”
HTG 360’s Two Hires
I chatted with Ichelson, whose company recently expanded its channel team. HTG works as an exclusive security and compliance vendor with Telarus.
HTG 360 hired Fred Hamilton as its national channel manager. Hamilton, who previously worked with Comcast as a regional channel manager, will lead the overall channel direction of the company.
“We felt that having somebody sit as the national channel manger builds a conduit for the channel that can help them transition their business from an education standpoint, from a relationship standpoint and give them a conduit that they can bounce ideas off,” Ichelson said. “Then they can bring in the experts, which are our engineering staff and our executive staff at HTG.”
The company also promoted Matt Atkinson from channel intern to channel account manager.
“His goal and his job is facilitate the path between the agent, the end user and us internally in order to drive successful sales engagements or partner engagements throughout the end user community.”
Atkinson’s promotion is a major step for a channel industry that’s trying to bring young talent onboard. It’s a well-documented reality that our industry is retiring more personnel than hiring new faces. The niche nature of the indirect IT/telecom sales channel makes it very difficult to draw college graduates who have never heard of the industry.
Atkinson currently studying business and criminology but signed on as an intern after Ichelson explained the channel. Ichelson says the industry has its parallels to insurance – a field where Atkinson’s mother works.
Atkinson’s first experience in the channel was attending the Channel Partners Conference two months ago. He wrote about the event on LinkedIn.
Ichelson says his company’s internship program brings major value and is worth expanding.
“We learned from working with him as an intern is that the millennials are going to be what drives the channel going forward,” Ichelson said. And in order to get the millennials to drive the channel – which we need from any organization in the channel – is that we need to be able to have a path for them. Whether that’s a path to direct or a path to the channel, they need the help. They need the mentors.”
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