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CenturyLink Partner Program Expands Into EMEA As Carrier Eyes More Enterprise Sales

CenturyLink is growing its partner program into the EMEA region, which will help the global service provider target large customers with the help of more MSP, consultants, and master and sub agent partners.

CenturyLink is relying on global channel partners to help grow its enterprise business.

The service provider is expanding its global channel partner program into the EMEA region, CenturyLink announced on Wednesday. The expansion will help CenturyLink recruit new MSP, consultants, and master and sub agent partners.

"We are actively recruiting new partners," Craig Patterson, vice president of channel sales, told CRN. "We see a huge market opportunity for our North American partners to grow their business globally, but also to bring the indirect model into regions in which it doesn't exist today."

Patterson, who heads North American channel sales on the West Coast for CenturyLink, was tasked with extending CenturyLink's international indirect sales reach by Lisa Miller, CenturyLink's president of wholesale and indirect channels and alliances, nearly two years ago. Patterson today is leading the provider's global channel program expansion charge, beginning with EMEA.

[Related: CenturyLink CEO: '5G Or Not, Fiber Wins']

The purpose of the expanded partner program won't stop at attracting new CenturyLink partners, Patterson said. Existing North American partners will also gain direct access to resources in EMEA to better service their international customers, he said. Both partners based in EMEA and North American partners doing business in EMEA will also have access to local sales support, dedicated engineering and marketing resources in Europe.

"We've noticed over the last several years that our partners in North America are starting to penetrate very large, globally-based companies, which is great, but there's challenges in Europe because there are 44 different countries with different languages and cultures," he said. "If you're a North American partner trying to sell a global opportunity, you need someone on the ground that has the expertise to overcome those barriers."

CenturyLink's EMEA channel program will be structured much like the company's channel program today, which can accommodate a variety of channel business models, Patterson said, including VARs, master and sub agents, system integrators, and solution providers.

EMEA partners will have access to CenturyLink's full portfolio of networking and cloud solutions, including SD-WAN, security, hybrid cloud and IT services, voice and unified communications, and managed services and IT consulting services, according to the Monroe, La.-based service provider.

CenturyLink currently has two channel managers located in its U.K. offices and plans to bring on additional sales support in France, Italy, and Germany.

CenturyLink in April launched its highly anticipated, consolidated channel agreement for its partners designed to incentivize the channel to sell strategic IT services, such as hybrid networking and cloud, CenturyLink's Miller told CRN at the time. That agreement laid the foundation for the carrier's international, indirect sales strategy, Patterson said. North American partners expanding into EMEA can sign an in-region addendum to sell CenturyLink services in the region.

CenturyLink is in the process of building a new agreement specifically for new EMEA-based CenturyLink partners, he said.

CenturyLink today is earning 74 percent of its revenue from business customers with the help of the indirect channel. Patterson said that the company plans to replicate its expanded channel program efforts beyond EMEA and into the Asia-Pacific region in the future.

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