July 23, 2009
By Cara Sievers
In February, Brad Dupee left the helm at Copper Conferencing to become regional vice president of channel sales at fellow conferencing provider InterCall. Dupee has been tasked with enhancing InterCall’s channel strategy and realigning the company’s focus and resources to support its top performing partners. PHONE+’s spoke with Dupee about his first six months in his new position and his plans for growing InterCall’s channel operations. What follows is a transcript of the interview.
CS: What is the relationship like between InterCall and Copper Conferencing, and how will your experience at Copper help you succeed in your new post as InterCall’s channel chief?
Intercall Channel Chief Brad Dupee
BD: The two firms share a strong relationship because they’ve been marketplace partners for more than three years.
Running a successful reseller like Copper Conferencing has been an absolute benefit to my quest for learning and has made a special contribution to my role as a channel sales leader in conferencing. They say that walking in another’s shoes is a priceless and valuable experience — and having been in the role of an InterCall channel partner, I cannot say enough about how it has shaped my perspective in leading our channel sales effort as the supplier. It is an unparalleled advantage in the conferencing channel and one that I intend to maximize.
CS: What have been your main goals in your first six months with InterCall and have you achieved them?
BD: Much of my early focus has been internal at InterCall … specifically on re-education to help further strengthen the channel foundation. This effort pays ongoing dividends for our partner base and the support they receive from InterCall.
InterCall and my channel leadership predecessors have done a magnificent job of becoming the leader in providing conferencing services to customers through channel partners. As a logical next step, we must, quite simply, continue to mature. In the channel world this includes reinforcing our support of our existing channel partner relationships, cooperatively rethinking how conferencing should be sold uniquely through any one partner, generating real mindshare around the sale of conferencing through those partners and continuing the process of accelerating our growth — together. The fruits of this simple philosophy are already evident.
CS: How do you intend to identify InterCall’s top performing partners and then shift the channel focus toward supporting those partners?
BD: While we continue to grow in the number of partners through whom we sell our services, we have entered a new phase of channel maturity. Identifying those partners with the potential to over-perform is arguably the simplest part of the process. We’re now engaged in modeling sales plans and then executing with our partners. This is where the rubber meets the road.
CS: Is increasing the number of partners in InterCall’s channel program the answer to improving the channel, and do you intend to do so?
BD: We will always seek to add high-quality channel partners at InterCall. That will never change. It’s not about counting how many partners we add, as much as the potential opportunity that exists by working with any single new partner.
CS: How is the conferencing sale holding up for partners in today’s economy?
BD: In conferencing, we pitch the benefits of reducing travel and maintaining productivity. These benefits were always there, but not necessarily a customer priority. Today’s economy has bolstered this core value proposition for our services and made the discussion more tangible. Think of it this way: What CFO is not seeking to reduce large expenses like business travel? Basic conferencing services (audio and Web conferencing services used as a productivity tool) provide a 90 percent-plus reduction in hard costs over standard business travel for the very same meeting — it’s simple math.
CS: How is InterCall’s channel different from what it was a year ago?
BD: Consistent growth in the InterCall channel organization has come in revenue and the number of partners, as well as learning and maturity providing for constant change. Physically, InterCall has increased channel sales support across the organization, be it marketing, expert services support, billing, product management or executive. Add to this our account assignment process that considers personality and interest alignment between our partner contacts and our channel managers, and this program is taking on a new life.
CS: What is the biggest challenge for InterCall channel operations and partners right now?
BD: Challenges are constant, and we take pride in our ability to proactively address and resolve them. We are constantly trying to gain more of our partners’ mindshare. Conferencing services are just a few of the vast number of telecom services available for sale by our agents and resellers. As mentioned previously, there are macro forces, such as the state of the economy, that bolster this effort.
CS: What’s on the horizon for InterCall from a services standpoint, and is there a potential profit for the channel in your plans?
BD: InterCall has partnered with the principal technology leaders in the unified communications and collaboration space. Each of these relationships — be it Cisco WebEx, Microsoft, MeetingSense, On24 or other InterCall strategic partners — makes value-added applications available to our channel partners and provides competitive plans to make money. It starts with being able to leverage InterCall as a one-stop-shop for these conferencing services, as well as the ability to deliver almost any customer requirement for conferencing and collaboration solutions.
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