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June 7, 2021
Mercer joined Telesystem last September and previously was regional channel manager for the central region. As channel strategy manager, he’ll oversee the activities and initiatives for the company’s Elite Agent Program. It includes the top master agencies nationwide.
Bruce Wirt is Telesystem’s executive vice president and chief business development officer.
“This is a perfect match for Ken’s skill set, relationships and experience,” he said. “Ken has worked in key positions on all sides of the channel — provider, agent and selling partner. And [he] will bring that experience and put it to work to grow mind share with our key partners.”
Mercer was MetTel’s director of strategic sales. Before that, he was an executive vice president at TBI. He’s an industry veteran of more than 25 years, with most of those years operating in the indirect agent channel.
Telesystem’s agent program has seen significant growth in the last five years. That includes the addition of several new team members. Telesystem assigns a static national channel manager to master agents to support and grow all aspects of the partnership. In addition, it positions regional channel managers geographically to support partner growth and aid sales activity. Mercer will oversee events, trade show planning, advisory board planning, and market development funds distributed to master agents.
In a Q&A with Channel Futures, Mercer talks about what he has planned in the month ahead.
Channel Futures: Why did you want to take this role with Telesystem?
Telesystem’s Ken Mercer
Ken Mercer: I wanted to take this role so I can continue, on a much larger scale, educating our partners on the size, history, stability and differentiating factors that Telesystem has to offer.
CF: What’s your take on Telesystem’s channel strategy and partner program? Are you planning any changes?
KM: Over the last five years, Telesystem has been intentional about growing a national channel support structure for master agents, and a regionalized support structure for the selling partners. Over that time, we’ve carefully added people and systems to accelerate the growth of our channel. With my in-depth knowledge of the master agent side of the business, I’m hopeful that I can add activities and messaging that will better absorb into the partner ecosystem.
CF: What’s at the top of your to-do list?
KM: My to-do list is understanding the financial marketing commitments we have with our elite agents (that’s our name for the national master agents), attending as many events as I can, and building relationships with team members that will be crucial for our success. I want to start a cadence with higher-level executives from partners as well to make sure everyone knows the Telesystem story. From there, I can go into next year and effectively shift our channel marketing budget into activities and partners that produce the most fruit.
CF: How will your previous experience come into play in this new role?
KM: My past experience working for a wonderful master agent, and knowing what I needed from a vendor, gives me a better idea of what our partners are looking for. I know what it’s like managing hundreds of vendors. I know what it’s like trying to find out what makes each one special, or where their shortcomings might be. My goal is to build confidence with our partners. Recommending Telesystem should be a powerful option, not a risk to their very valuable relationships.
CF: What do you hope to have accomplished a year from now?
KM: A really powerful and simple goal would be to have every one of our partners using Telesystem on a short list of approved vendors. I hope that with my work and the work of our team, Telesystem is thought of as the No. 1 choice for managed solutions in the continental United States. We pay timely and competitive commissions. We project manage our installations and provide white glove support. And we have emerging technology that keeps customers happy and growing with us. I want to be thought of as the go-to provider for multisite, multiproduct applications where customers want a completely managed experience.
Read more about:Agents
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