CarrierSales: Partners Should Brace for More Master-Agent Consolidation

When asked if CarrierSales is interested in a merger, CEO/owner Richard Murray said, "I'm not out looking."

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

September 19, 2017

4 Min Read
CarrierSales' Richard Murray at carrierxchange

CARRIERSALES CARRIERXCHANGE — Ready or not, more consolidation between master agents is coming, leaving many partners nervous about how it could affect their businesses.

That’s according to Richard Murray, CEO/owner of master agent and distributor CarrierSales, who addressed partners and vendors during his company’s carrierXchange conference high in the mountains outside Salt Lake City, Utah. The event has drawn 370 partners and vendors from 34 states and two countries, and more than 60 telecommunications and technology providers in a vendor expo.

When asked if CarrierSales is interested in a merger, Murray said, “I’m not out looking.”

“We’ve done some acquiring, and one was CMS in San Francisco as maybe one of the larger of the deals we’ve done,” he said. “And I don’t know that they’ll all look like the Intelisys-ScanSource deal, but there’s a reason that Sandler Partners merged with X4. They’re looking to be the next ScanSource-type deal. But then if you look at the providers [such] as Level 3 and CenturyLink come together, it’s going to change the programs a lot. If you’re not a top 10, you kind of don’t exist as a master and that’s moving to maybe a top five or top three with some of these providers.”

During a vendor breakout session, Murray shared the results of a survey of top partners, which showed many partners are nervous about upcoming consolidation. Among the survey comments, one partner said consolidation will be negative in the near term, but benefits will be apparent in the long term.

Murray said he would never say “no, absolutely not” to a merger “because there are deals that would make sense out there for us,” but it would have to be a “one plus one equals three for our partners.”

“In the world of consolidation, and that includes masters, as other masters have merged, we want to stand out from just our intense focus on the relationship, in knowing who sellers are and knowing their business, and caring about it.”

Murray also unveiled plans to launch a new mobile app for CarrierSales partners that will allow them to initiate quotes, track their outstanding quotes, see orders that are in flight and also obtain commission reporting.

“It’s built; we have the mobile app ready to go,” he said. “It’s on the Microsoft platform, so we have the plug-in that allows it to take all of the data that we have and put it in the hands of the partner. You’ll see that in the beginning of 2018. They don’t have those capabilities in the palm of their hand[s] right now. We started building the technology last October, so it was an internal fight first to get all of those systems built, and now we’ll be ready to put it into partners’ hands shortly.”

Telarus, another master agent, has a similar app for its partners, Murray noted.

“For me, it’s a little bit of a something that’s just the next evolution, but it won’t define who we are,” he said. “It’s something nice to have, but we can’t let it …

… redefine that we’re a people company. It’s about the relationships. So the technology will live to serve that.”

Last year, CarrierSales was the No. 1 contact-center partner in the United States, “and we’ve doubled that number,” Murray said.

“Our numbers are up across the board with all of our core providers — and not up by just a little bit,” he said. “It’s been pretty impactful for the business. With Cox, we hit our annual goal by the end of August, so we still have a quarter left to go there. And some more quiet milestones would be what we’re carving out in the security arena. Not a lot of masters are doing what we’re doing in security and we’re kind of staying a little bit quiet about that because we don’t want them all rushing to what we’re doing. But that’s my No. 1 funnel right now, [a big] opportunity is in security.”

Brett Theisen, inContact‘s senior vice president of channel sales, said CarrierSales really understands the contact center space and also brings in a number of partners that understand contact centers, “so for us this is a very good show because we’re able to get in front of those partners, and we’re able to introduce our CXone, which is our new unified platform to that group.”

“We’ve been able to garner some leads from the event and also educate some of the partners on our newer technology,” he said. “CarrierSales has roughly about 150 partners and we don’t do business with all of them, so it’s been very good for us in that we can get in front of some of the partners and educate them on contact center, what type of opportunities to look for, and then they’ll bring us into opportunities.”

Matt Morris, in charge of business development for Sumo Communications, said it’s rare to be able to connect with suppliers like CenturyLink, “and it’s a great opportunity to talk to them about existing opportunities that we’re working on and some new stuff.”

“This is the first year that we were CarrierSales’ top agent, and that’s very exciting for Sumo because we have grown and grown over the years with CarrierSales,” he said.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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