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Intermedia Channel Program Now Includes A Co-Branded Selling Option For Partners

Intermedia is now offering a third selling option for partners that is identical to its private label option -- a co-branded model that is especially attractive for MSP partners, the company told CRN.

Cloud communications provider Intermedia is unveiling a brand-new selling option for partners: a co-branded model for MSPs.

The latest co-branded selling model revealed on Tuesday lets solution providers use the Intermedia brand name selling the service, setting their own margins, and handling billing and support. The lucrative reseller model, compared to the agent model, lets partners earn up to 5 times more revenue, Jonathan McCormick, chief operating officer for Intermedia, told CRN.

The co-branded model offers identical features that Intermedia's private label selling motion offers, but gives partners more choice, according to McCormick.

[Related: Intermedia Launches UCaaS Analytics Platform Envision At Xchange 2019]

As UCaaS has picked up momentum with more enterprises, MSPs have struggled because the dominant selling model for voice solutions has been the agent approach in which channel partners refer their customers to the supplier and earn a residual commission, going "against their DNAs" as MSPs, McCormick said.

"Most of the UCaaS vendors only sell in an agent model, which means as an MSP, someone that packages a solution for a customer, does their billing and owns their contract, as well as the customer relationship, their only option has been to sell as an agent, which means they are handing over their customer relationship to someone else, he said. "These partners have sold voice in a begrudging manner [because] It doesn't grow the value of the partner's business in the same way. It goes against who they are when they are self-identifying as an MSP."

Many MSPs don't want to hand over their most important asset -- their customers -- to a service provider, but Intermedia is one of the few providers that haven't forced their hand. The company has offered a private label option since 2007 and the addition of the co-branded solution will let MSPs highlight the Intermedia Unite brand, while still owning the relationship with the end customer because they can set their own prices and handle billing and support, the company said.

The co-branded model will help Intermedia partners land new, larger customers, McCormick said. It will also help MSPs that perhaps aren't comfortable being a full-fledge private reseller.

"It can help to have a more credible solution, oftentimes when you're selling to a larger company, if they know you are bringing in a larger provider that operates at scale," he said. "[MSPs] can keep the same business model they like."

Partners that take advantage of the co-branded solution can also continue to rely on Intermedia for its customizable marketing materials, sales support, Tier 2 and Tier 3 technical support, and taxation management, McCormick said.

While the majority of Intermedia partners are selling its solutions as resellers, as opposed to agents today, the Mountain View, California-based company would like to see more agent partners embrace the private label or co-branded selling approach, he said.

"You're going to make about five times more revenue as a reseller instead of just collecting, say, a 20 percent commission on the backend. You're going to grow your company much faster as an MSP," McCormick said.

Intermedia in March unveiled a new analytics offering that injecting more visibility into communications performance called Intermedia Unite Envision, an attractive offering to MSP partners, the company told CRN.

Intermedia’s global vice president of strategic partner sales, Eric Roach, left the company in March. In his place, Intermedia brought in former 8x8 executive Chris Atha as senior director of global field channel sales and distribution. Atha is helping Intermedia empower partners through the MSP model, the company said.

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