March 9, 2022
Branded communications provider First Orion is targeting three different types of partners with its first channel program.
Little Rock, Arkansas-based First Orion recently unveiled its Partner Prime Program, which caters to resellers, agents and technology partners.
First Orion offers technology solutions that let mobile phone users see the identity of formerly unknown numbers that call them. Businesses leverage the Inform and Engage solutions to brand their outbound calls, lest their customers refuse to answer an unknown number.
Executives tout “market-leading compensation” and a lengthy list of partner resources in the new program. Michael Coleman, First Orion’s senior vice president of enterprise sales and channel chief, said his team built the Prime program “from the ground up.”
First Orion’s Mike Coleman
“We’re going to start with foundational partners that are willing to invest in us as we invest in them and go to market together,” Coleman told Channel Futures.
Here’s our most recent list of important channel-program changes you should know.
Other perks include pre- and post-sale resources and co-branded marketing tools. First Orion’s direct team will also engage in co-selling efforts.
Partners will work with a dedicated channel sales manager from First Orion. In addition, Coleman said First Orion will allocate market developments (MDF) to partners.
The vendor is building a partner relationship management (PRM) tool and integrating it into its Salesforce instance.
Building the Program
The vendor tapped two leaders to lead partner efforts. Coleman, a veteran sales and channel leader in the cloud, wireless and voice markets joined First Orion in November. Michael Otting also joined last November as senior vice president of platform and wholesale sales.
First Orion’s Mike Otting
First Orion transacts through three different partner channels. First, it engages with traditional VARs and distributors in a resale motion. Those partners include TD Synnex, D&H Distributing and “mobility-centric” resellers.
Second, it integrates with platform vendors such as Talkdesk.
Third, First Orion sells through the commission-based referral channel, partnering with what it calls prime agents (technology solutions brokerages).
Coleman said his team has entered conversations with multiple prime agents.
“Obviously you start with the prime agents and get those agreements in place, and then all of the subagents then have access to it,” he said.
Coleman most recently worked for Avaya as its North American channel chief. He previously spent four years at Samsung, serving as its mobility channel chief. Coleman during his tenure at Samsung worked with many of the mobility-focused resellers that First Orion now targets.
He has also been managing director for HPE’s cloud practice and was SAP’s eastern region vice president.
Otting most recently worked as senior vice president of sales for Inside Response. His other previous employers include Net2Phone and Voxstars. He also served as vice president of client services for Birch Communications
“We created this program to not only accelerate our growth but also to create an extremely partner-centric program that truly offers benefits our competitors can’t match,” Otting said. “Our focus is to provide the best overall partner journey and customer experience using our platforms, scalability in the marketplace and ability to generate positive business outcomes.”
The branded calling technology works in two different ways.
For example, one company was struggling to keep pace with employee turnover. The company could not hire people quickly enough. That’s due in part to many potential hires rejecting the 800 number that appeared on their phone when the company tried to call. Branded calling helped speed up the hiring process.
On the other hand, branded calling might come into play when a business is contacting a customer. For example, if a company is shipping an appliance out to a customer, a branded phone call would ensure the delivery goes through to the customer.
Coleman said First Orion’s offerings have helped contact centers improve their agent retention. He said outbound calls will be met with less frustration if the recipients can see the identity of the caller.
“They’re not so likely to be upset because they know who’s calling. They can expect the call,” Coleman said.
People shutting down 800 numbers lines up with a rise in scam phone calls. First Orion reported that 88 million people fell victim to these calls, suffering an estimated $44.2 billion in losses.
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