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May 12, 2009
By Cara Sievers
After three years as CEO at Copper Conferencing, Brad Dupee left the company to join InterCall in February as regional vice president of channel sales, presiding over global channel sales, which currently includes North America and EMEA.
Replacing Dupee as CEO at Copper is Carolyn Bradfield, a 20-year conferencing industry veteran, who founded the company with Dupee in 2006. Bradfield also was one of the original founders of InterCall and later founded and developed two audio conferencing reseller companies, Quorum Conferencing and InterAct Conferencing.
“A changing of the guard is really what took place; we had a wonderful program,” said Dupee. “It is my belief that InterCall has the largest performing channel in the conferencing business. And to take all of those resources that have been aggregated and accumulated from partners and start to create better bonds with that base of partners is essentially what we’re trying to do.”
Under Dupee’s guidance, InterCall is initiating an enhanced channel strategy in an effort to further strengthen its position with partners and SMB customers. Essentially, InterCall is reassessing and realigning its focus on building personal relationships with its performing partners. Dupee and his team are matching partners to channel managers based on personalities, work styles and common personal interests.
“In my experience, historically, the relationships that had that element attached to it, outside of just professional performance and everybody executing their job, added, I believe, exponents to the overall measurement of any partnership, including sales success,” said Dupee, adding that his 10-plus years in the conferencing channel has allowed him to get to know many of the partners on a personal level, enabling him to make these assessments. Dupee added that geography was never a consideration when teaming partners and managers, and the relationship has always been more important. Of course, this is supported by the fact that InterCall is in the remote meeting business.
InterCall also is changing the ratio of partners to partner managers, making fewer account assignments per channel manager to allow them to be more proactive in their partner relationships.
“What we’re trying to really do is get a back-to-basics perspective,” said Dupee. “It’s about being a good partner. It’s about mindshare around each other.”
Dupee explained that InterCall does intend to grow the number of partners it has, but its more immediate focus is on improving the relationships with its current performing partners; and the team is currently in the process of defining the characteristics of a performing partner. “It’s not always entirely just existing revenue that we do with them today,” explained Dupee. “It’s a propensity to help us grow in the future. … We’re really focused on the partners who have provided us with the most important tool coming from them, which is mindshare. Now, if we have a particular partner who is absolutely engaged and believes that conferencing is a critical part of their portfolio, they’re one of the folks who get dedicated account management.”
Over the next year, InterCall’s team will complement its new approach with a focus on streamlining the channel program’s inner workings to help partners operate more efficiently, including improving back-office processes related to commissions and the timeline of commissioning.
Dupee said that in addition to InterCall’s focus on improving partner relationships, its channel program is attractive because of its one-stop-shop suite of multiple Web products with centralized account management. An additional benefit for partners, Dupee explained, is InterCall’s plans for technological innovation.
“We’re going to continue to drive in the direction where conferencing is headed, which is down the path of eventually unified communications, and InterCall intends to be a leader in that space as well,” said Dupee. “The timing’s great. [Conferencing] continues to be a product that sells in this marketplace as an alternative to very expensive things like travel. Historically, it even felt like a sale pitch to the customers. Today, it’s a reality.”
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