Telarus CEO On Channel Evolution, The Burgeoning Cisco Relationship And Opportunity Amid Macro Pressures
The telecom service broker’s CEO, Adam Edwards, talks with CRN about selling through hard times, the push for inclusive language in the industry, and emerging security opportunities for partners.
Are you seeing the mix of partners change as MSPs and VARs dip their toes in telecom?
We see all three of them playing. There’s still a core of telecom agents, but what’s interesting about them is they’re morphing into selling other products. There’s more depth of service. If you look at the core of the business, it was telecom, and now it’s morphed into all of these other services, whether UCaaS, CCaaS, cloud infrastructure, compute, store, security, mobility, and IoT... we’re just seeing all of those now and those technologies will continue to change, but it is the model that remains consistent. So, it’s interesting to see VARs and MSPs adopt it as they really felt it was beneath them for the longest time. We’ve knocked on their doors for years, and they really weren’t interested. But it’s interesting to see this shift now because most of them have a mandate to get more recurring revenue and they're looking for different avenues to do that, both with MSPs and VARs. In fact, we have one very large VAR [partner] that has mandated in the next five years 50 percent of their revenue will be recurring. That’s a big push — that’s moving the entire organization toward this model, because that’s the fastest way to get recurring revenue.
There's a push from the customers as well. In fact, Cisco said this recently: “We opened up this channel and we wanted to make sure we weren’t cannibalizing or creating share shift from our existing partners, what we found was our existing partners were already here.” We launched with Cisco about six months ago and what those partners had found was that their customers wanted to purchase this way. That’s what I think a lot of people fail to understand is we all have these great ideas, but at the end of the day, the customer makes the decision, and the customer decides how they want to buy — whether it’s click a button online or whether they're going to engage a consultant. So, the argument we were having 10 years ago with providers was, should they even have a channel because they would rather have customers sell or buy direct from them. Then, what they all realized and what you see now from the number of providers that are engaged in this channel, is that the customers answer the question for them, which is “I want to buy from someone I trust, not someone who I met two weeks ago.”