CRN Exclusive: Nitel Targets Pain Points Of Master Agents, Distributors With New Elite Partner Program

Telecom service provider Nitel is going after the big fish with its new partner program, Nitel Elite.

The Nitel Elite Partner Program will provide master agents and distributors with a dedicated team of representatives and business development resources, Taylor Castranova, Nitel's vice president of channel sales and account development, told CRN.

"We are giving Elite partners an entire team behind the scenes that are responsible for everything -- one point of contact for support, and for any questions or escalations that these partners and their sub [agents] need for a true concierge, white-glove service," Castranova (pictured) said.

[Related: Nitel's New Channel Chief On Consultative Selling, Getting Out The 'Nitel Story' To The Partner Community]

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The Elite Partner Program will be led by Nitel's director of business development, Chris Shubert. Eight master agents and distributors are a part of the program today, including: Avant, Converged Network Services Group, Intelisys, MicroCorp, PlanetOne Communications, Sandler Partners, Telarus, and Telecom Consulting Group.

Nitel is actively looking to recruit more masters and distributors to its Elite program, which Castranova believes will also help Nitel "dig deeper" into its relationships with existing master agents and distributor partners who are not part of the Elite program today, she said.

The team is currently made up of four Nitel executives including Shubert, all of which have experience with Nitel's service delivery organization. Nitel is also actively looking to expand this team, Castranova said. These representatives will serve as a single point of contact for Elite master agent and distributor partners.

Castranova said that the program addresses one of the biggest challenges for this particular group of partners -- slow response times from their supplier partners.

It's important for suppliers to communicate answers quickly and effectively to master agent and distributor partners who are representing and serving many telecom agents, MSP and VAR partners, she said.

"That responsiveness and closing the loop on communications is critical," Castranova said. "We also don't want them to have to go through multiple points of contact within Nitel to do that."

Master agents and distributors already have their own resources, like quoting tools and engineering teams, as well as account management. Nitel's newest program complements those resources, Castranova said.

"I think this program gives these partners the additional layer they expect to have within a supplier and streamlined access to us, which is a good compliment with what they already have and how they are structured," she said.

The program will also help Nitel gain new sub agent partners through its relationships with masters and distributor partners, Castranova said.

In addition to the program, Nitel's channel team under Castranova has been evaluating the company's current geographic alignment and associated resources to ensure the right coverage for partners, she said. Castranova has also been busy building out the channel team with the addition of more regional channel directors throughout the country.

Nitel has moved its support to be closer to the local leadership of the Nitel Elite companies, which will help the company get more involved with joint sales opportunities and master agent or distributor events, she added.