Master Agent TBI 'Going Big' With Its Partners On SD-WAN

Master agent Telecom Brokerage Inc. (TBI) believes that of all solutions on the market today, SD-WAN is among the biggest revenue-driving opportunities for channel partners.

The Chicago-based master agent is the self-proclaimed authority in SD-WAN, having been the first to sell Verizon's flavor of SD-WAN in the channel, according to Jeff Newton, vice president of enterprise sales and engineering for TBI.

TBI is poised to help its agent partner base understand the "nitty gritty" of SD-WAN, Newton said. As such, TBI will be showcasing several SD-WAN providers during TBI's Big Event this week in Chicago, including Expereo , MetTel, Aryaka and CloudGenix.

[Related: TBI Channel Exec On Growth Goals, Recruiting New Partners, And The Critical Role Of The Telecom Agent]

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The purpose of the event is to shine a light on certain vendors to show partners new opportunities that they may be overlooking today. SD-WAN, Newton said, is at the top of that list.

The Purple Guys, a managed services provider, have been searching for a good alternative to MPLS for its small and midsized clients for a while, and SD-WAN answers the call, said Scott Clark, director of operations for the Kansas City-based TBI partner.

The MSP is in the process of deploying its first major SD-WAN solution for a multi-site company. Through its partnership with TBI, The Purple Guys chose communications service provider MetTel's SD-WAN solution for this customer's environment.

The Purple Guys have several customers with rural or remote branch office locations throughout the Midwest, including the Southern Missouri area, making bandwidth procurement an expensive challenge. These clients often have little options in terms of service providers, or they must pay a premium to get a provider to their location, Clark said. SD-WAN lets MSPs create a mesh network using any available bandwidth providing cost savings to end customers, and making the technology a "no-brainer" option for partners.

"We always knew MPLS was an issue and we always wished there was a better way," Clark said. "When we first heard about SD-WAN, we found exactly what we knew our customers would love and it checked a lot of boxes for us."

As a solution provider that is new to selling SD-WAN, Clark believes that TBI is a great partner because of its vendor-agnostic approach to SD-WAN.

For its part, TBI said that it wouldn't be doing sales pitches with its SD-WAN providers at TBI's Big Event. Rather, agent partners will hear the providers play off one another.

TBI also has a "very big focus" on SD-WAN education for partners through TBI University, Newton said.

TBI's approach to SD-WAN education includes helping partners first understand concepts, like Layer 3 and Layer 7 SD-WAN, the difference between a customer needing network failover or application-aware routing, Newton said. After partners have the "101" level of understanding down, TBI can get much more granular by helping partners understand subtle differences between the providers. Lastly, TBI can help partners engage their customers in SD-WAN conversations and start selling the solutions.

"We give partners the tools they need to be able to get down into the nitty gritty, and really dissect who would be good for their customers," Newton said.

Clark said that TBI not only visited The Purple Guys and walked him through SD-WAN topics, but several account managers from his company have also gone through TBI's SD-WAN-focused educational resources.

"[The education] is really put in language that we can understand. It's an easy tool that account managers can use to look up answers for clients quickly. It's really a one-stop-shop for us," he said. "It's really in the customer's best interest that we have [a master agent] involved that knows this space because that's not our strong suit."