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Intelisys Creates New Position To Help Service Providers Team With Channel Partners

Master agent Intelisys Communications has created a new executive role to help its supplier partners find and pair with the right channel partners.

Master agent Intelisys Communications has created a new executive role with the aim of helping its service provider partners grow sales.

With the move, Intelisys is extending help to its telecommunications and cloud services suppliers that its channel partners -- VARs, systems integrators and managed service providers -- have enjoyed for years. With this week's announcement of a newly created vice president of supplier sales position, and the promotion of Mike McKenney to that role, Intelisys is aiming to help its supplier partners boost revenue.

McKenney, who most recently served as vice president of Partner Sales & Business Development, West Region, will be working with the existing Intelisys Supplier Management Team to help make connections between suppliers and sales partners. In doing so, Intelisys hopes to create revenue-driving programs for new and existing supplier partners.

[Related: Intelisys Steps Up Training To Help Partners Sell Cloud-Based UC Services]

Intelisys currently has more than 100 supplier partners, including Comcast Business, CenturyLink, Time Warner Cable/NaviSite and Windstream, but the master agent has never had a sales practice focused on suppliers. This move was born out of feedback from these partners, McKenney told CRN.

"We are hearing suppliers say they want to double down and do more with Intelisys," he said. "My objective is to leverage relationships with our existing partners and collaborate on some new programs that are measurable, and motivate accelerated activity and revenue."

These programs include provider profiling that will help align solution provider partners with supplier partners, he said. McKenney also plans to develop campaigns that can be used by supplier partners, as well as the internal sales team at Intelisys, he said.

"The more we learn about partners -- both sales and suppliers -- the more we learn about their businesses, hopes, products they feature and verticals they play in. We can [help] those partners to work smarter together," he said. "We are going to work together to share [intelligence]."

A master agent with a focus on suppliers is unique within the industry, said Scott Kinka, CTO for Evolve IP, an Intelisys supplier partner for the past five years.

As a rule, the master agency model is helpful for solution provider partners in that they help them connect and work with suppliers, such as telecommunications providers. But that help is often one-sided in favor of solution providers. Service providers that partner with master agents, on the other hand, have had the daunting task of digging through potentially thousands of potential channel partners to figure out which ones they should work with, Kinka said.

Master agents are large organizations that suppliers have to learn how to navigate on their own, but the creation of McKenney's new role is like giving suppliers a compass, Kinka said. "It's interesting to have someone at that executive level focusing on the other side, a dedicated person that asks, 'What do you want to get accomplished?’ and, 'Let's find the right partners for you.'"

Because suppliers usually have to do their own networking to form relationships with solution providers, they lose some productivity time. But having help making those connections will allow suppliers to spend more time producing and less time reaching out to solution providers, Kinka said.

"I'm looking back five years ago when we had this really tall mountain ahead of us, trying to figure out where all the bodies are buried," Kinka said. "Someone systemically working on this from the supplier side is great."

Advocacy for supplier business also will help these partners drive new revenue, Kinka said.

Intelisys has been working with suppliers through several programs for a few years now. McKenney said that in his previous role, he was running programs on the side as an ancillary strategy for supplier partners. Even without the new role, Intelisys has focused on suppliers more than many others in the industry, Kinka said.

"I think this may start a trend for other master agents and, perhaps, push the industry a little bit," he said. "The more successful we are, the more they are, and if they can provide better advocacy for us, they can do more business."


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