Time Warner Cable (TWC) is on a channel tear, doubling its channel budget in the last 18 months as part of an all-out IT solution provider recruitment binge.
The telecom provider is aiming to drive big share gains with robust investments in channel managers and a field sales team working hand in hand with solution providers to close big deals, TWC executives said in an exclusive interview with CRN.
TWC now has 33 channel managers supporting partners in its Agent Program and 18 channel managers supporting partners in its Reseller Program, a team which has doubled in size over last three years.
"The message to VARs is we're open for business and ready to welcome them into the program," said Brian Snortheim, director of marketing for indirect channels for TWC, which has a deep product portfolio that includes VoIP, Fiber, Ethernet and broadcast services, as well as a robust set of cloud services from TWC subsidiary Navisite, an enterprise-grade cloud provider.
The telecommunications provider is willing to go to market in whatever model partners prefer – the agent model, the VAR model or a mix of both. That's part of a strategy aimed at getting partners to recognize that breaking into the telecom cloud services market is not a scary proposition, said Greg Iuzzolino, senior director of sales for TWC's partner channel.
According to Snortheim, between 70 and 75 percent of TWC partners are in an agent sales model with TWC. That limits the margin and sales gains that can come with the traditional solution provider IT services model. Taking the lead on the account - billing customers directly- is what TWC refers to as the wholesale model.
"VARs that have made the leap of faith [from the agent model to wholesale selling] are seeing 20-30 percent year-over-year increases in revenue," Snortheim said. "We see a lot of opportunity for the remaining [70-75] percent of the VARs that are not involved. We think there is a huge business opportunity for them."
TWC has some 280-plus partners that are already selling the full TWC portfolio and billing customers on their own under the wholesale model program. Now the company is making bigger investments to get more VARs to adopt the wholesale model.
In fact, the company has just hired a new director of VAR development, Keith Hall, a seven-year TWC veteran who was previously president and CEO of a broadband services provider. Hall has a team of eight that is chartered with recruiting IT solution providers.
"We want to sign up a bunch more partners," said Ira Morris, TWC's senior director of the wholesale channel division. "The way I look at it, with 280 partners out of the 170,000 IT partners in the U.S., we have zero percent market share."