Q&A: Windstream Vet Jumps from Direct to Indirect Sales Exec at Frontier

He talks about what partners can expect from him — and the company's goals for 2018.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

February 10, 2018

7 Min Read
Sales Team

**Editor’s Note: Click here to see which channel people were on the move in January.**

Frontier Communications is undergoing a transformation, expanding its commercial business and adding people, resources and process improvements designed to better assist agents in bringing on more partners and growing revenue.

One of the latest steps in this process is the appointment of Roy Labrador, a telecommunications executive with more than 25 years of experience in small, medium and enterprise sales, to national vice president of its channel partners program. He previously served as Frontier’s vice president of commercial sales-Southeast, overseeing the growth and expansion of the telecom’s presence in cloud, UC and industry-specific communication and data offerings.

Prior to joining Frontier, Labrador held positions with Windstream, EarthLink Business and ZeroChaos.


Frontier’s Roy Labrador

“Roy brings a wealth of industry experience to this critical role,” said Michelle Wolloff, Frontier’s senior vice president and general manager. “Investing in, expanding and improving our channel-partner program is a top priority for Frontier. Roy’s leadership and track record will ensure we continue to drive our commercial-sector growth.”

Last week, Bloomberg reported that Frontier is considering a sale of ex-Verizon landline assets in California, Florida and Texas that it acquired for $10.5 billion two years ago, citing “people with knowledge of the matter.” The assets are likely to be sold in parts rather than as a single package, one of the people said. Frontier declined comment.

Last month, Frontier announced the national release of Total360 Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Service powered by Datto. Total360 converts data directly from servers into virtual machine readable files that can be recovered from a web interface, hypervisor or virtual machine monitor.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Labrador talks about what partners can expect from him — and the company’s goals for 2018.

Channel Partners: How is this role different from your previous role with Frontier?

Roy Labrador: Prior to taking this new position, I was directly responsible for all sales from our direct teams in the Florida markets and the Southeast. Today I manage nationally all of our agents, all of our master agents — so anybody out there who is selling products and services of Frontier to the end users underneath our master agreements, they’re under my watch.

CP: So you switched from direct to indirect sales.

RL: It’s great to be back in the indirect channel. I have had multiple years of experience throughout my career where I’ve been responsible for indirect teams, agent programs, partner programs and dealer programs, and the biggest thing I believe in is the value proposition that our masters bring to the table and their ability to get to customers that our direct teams just sometimes aren’t because of longtime, embedded, trusted-advisory positions that a lot of our subagents hold with a lot of businesses in our footprint.

CP: What’s your take on Frontier’s channel strategy? Do you want to see changes made?

RL: Frontier has revamped our channel program here in the last 60 days to …

… better help drive sales results, and we’re doing that via the introduction of additional resources available to support the nation. We’re adding people [and] we’re adding channel managers around the country. We’ve also added an internal support team, which has allowed us to better serve them as our customers, because in essence, our agents are our customers, and having it in house now allows us to respond [more quickly] to quote requests, contract requests and just a better way to facilitate on-boarding of new customers.

CP: What prompted all these changes that are taking place?

RL: We realized how valuable master agents are to being the catalyst for the revenue targets we have in 2018, and some of the feedback we’ve received from our large platinum masters provided us with an opportunity to re-look at how we need to serve them better. It’s about speed to market, it’s about response times, and I think we’re in a much better position than where we were 60 days ago.

CP: Are Frontier’s channel strategy and partner program evolving along with changes in the industry, consolidation, M&A, etc.?

RL: We’re super excited about the opportunity within the channel space primarily because of our technology and the availability that we have across the country and in a lot of our markets that have a higher level of technology than a lot of our competitors. And in response to the need for speed that exists out there, we feel like we’re well-positioned to drive the type of revenues available to us based on our technology offerings in those markets.

CP: What type of feedback have you received from partners?

RL: The biggest thing I’ve heard over the past few weeks since I’ve been out in the markets meeting with our master agents … is that they really want Frontier whenever available – especially in the FiOS markets – because they know it’s a better product offering than the cable players can offer at this time, and the speeds being symmetrical in nature allow us to have a leg up on the competition. So they want to be able to offer Frontier’s technology, and lead with the FiOS and Ethernet, and allow us to do what we do best. That’s one of the things they’ve realized more now than maybe in years past, is that our ability to respond and install align well with their customers’ expectations.

CP: What are the biggest issues currently facing Frontier and what will be your role in addressing them along with partners?

RL: I don’t know that I would say issues. I would say there are opportunities in …

… educating more regional master agents that exist today that aren’t working with us hand in hand to drive revenue. Recently I’ve had the opportunity to speak to three or four in the Southeast alone that will be joining Frontier’s agent programs and understand fully now that we’ve taken our support team, our channel support program, and we brought that in house, so that’s allowed us to furnish them with better levels of support, better levels of response times, and it’s really going to allow us to grow this to the next level.

CP: Are there new products and services coming that will provide new opportunities for partners?

RL: The product road map is continuing to evolve and we’re excited about our new products. Our Total360 offering and our ability to bring additional products to the end user [are] going to allow us to be in more conversations. And the deployment of SD-WAN obviously is a big push in the industry … and we do have that on this year’s product road map. Facilitating education to our master agents is what my team will be responsible for in working with them to have them understand a little bit more about what our capabilities are, allowing us again to do what we do best, which is providing that high-speed connectivity to the end user via our technology in each of the markets that we have services available in today.

CP: What do you want to have accomplished a year from now?

RL: We see such a significant opportunity to grow revenue that the expectations for the program for 2018 are very high. We’ve changed dramatically the way in which we’ve been going about managing the channel in the last 12-18 months, that in 12 months from today I want to be able to look back and say we set out on this goal, it’s a significant expectation that we have internally to help Frontier have a bigger presence, gain customer share in the markets that we serve, and be able to grow the program again to another level next year. We put in a lot of resources this year, not only myself, but we’ve hired on channel managers and regional channel managers that will help to broadcast Frontier’s capabilities, become a little bit more intimate with our master agents and develop stronger relationships. We have to drive deeper relationships with our agencies that we support and give them the opportunity to have the freedom to share what we are doing well, what we should be doing differently, and take heed on a lot of that feedback to help the organization reach its revenue goals for 2018 and beyond.

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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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