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How Does the Technology Advisor (Agent) Channel Reach the Next Level?

Several partners weighed in on the barriers agents must overcome to stay relevant with customers in 2023 and beyond.

James Anderson

December 15, 2022

12 Slides

The technology advisor has evolved its value far beyond telecom brokering, but will its profile in the market keep rising?

The agent channel has enjoyed increased attention from the vendor, investor and media community in the last two years. Distributors are honoring more $1 million monthly recurring revenue (MRR) partners, and advisors themselves are boasting of more and more enterprise logos. Agents have told Channel Futures in 2022 that they’re spending less and less time explaining their commission- and cloud-based business model to customers and more time helping them with solutions. And they hope their influence will grow.

“IT executives in the future will be deemed negligent if they don’t use an advisor to make their decision,” Bluewave Technology Group CEO Seth Penland said. “That’s where we need to get to.”

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Bluewave’s Marko Spremo

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Premiere Worldwide’s Randy Jeter

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KeyStone Solutions’ Jay Morris

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Bluewave’s Seth Penland

Yet the industry is still making its way forward in the larger B2B tech purchasing space. A study by recently founded advisory firm Amplix found that the agent model has penetrated 15% of the available market. Another estimation, made by Bridgepointe‘s Scott Kinka, puts that number at 25%.

 

 

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Sumo Communications’ Bret Hickenlooper

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IQ Wired’s Darcee Nelan

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Rad-Info’s Peter Radizeski

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Top Speed Data Communications’ Allan Jaffe

At the same time, traditional sales-focused agents struggle with scaling. They’re competing with vendors inside and outside the industry for top talent. Commissions are shrinking in different technology categories, and not all of them have developed a secondary revenue stream. Some admit that they don’t know how to move to the next level without inorganic growth.

A group of eight leaders in the technology advisor channel sat down for a discussion at September’s Channel Partners Leadership Summit in Orlando. It was our Channel Futures Technology Advisor (Agent) Roundtable. They included:

  • Bret Hickenlooper, Sumo Communications

  • Ashley Rowland, Adaptiv Advisors

  • IQ Wired’s Darcee Nelan

  • Rad-Info’s Peter Radizeski

  • Bluewave’s Marko Spremo

  • Bluewave’s Seth Penland

  • KeyStone Solutions’ Jay Morris

  • Top Speed Data Communications’ Allan Jaffe

We also polled a handful of other top agents in the tech advisor channel.

The 12 images above recap an in-depth discussion about topics such as hiring, professional services and certification.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email James Anderson or connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

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Agents

About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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