Category: Channel

Why an Ecosystem is Crucial for the Survival of the Channel Partner

Any company today is consuming IT on a recurring revenue basis. All solutions are delivered on recurring revenue bases. That means partners that have relationships with end users have immense opportunity to sell them various technologies on an ongoing basis. You can sell your customers a network, and stay with them to sell a host of other things. The waterfront of opportunity is getting wider and wider. But in order to sell a variety of solutions, you have to know what you’re talking about.

That is where partners get hung up. So we’ve provided a solution.

A Play Store for Partners
The Solutions Alliance is essentially a play store of solutions made available to our partners. Just like how your smartphone comes with apps you can download, the Solutions Alliance provides offerings for partners that come together to help them grow including training and education from experts in a variety of areas such as IT maintenance, asset management, domestic and international IT project management and other critical services.

One of the ingredients in this secret sauce is the contracts we put in place for members to ensure proper service delivery and commission payment. We make sure that members of the Alliance play well together. If someone misbehaves, we make sure our partners get paid no matter what.

Partners get access to a range of service providers — some of whom offer hundreds of solutions. Some providers offer a few specific solutions and help partners educate themselves on these niche technologies. We contract with both broad and focused service providers so they are obligated to provide solutions and pay our partners.

Auto-catalytic Technology

It took 50 years for everyone to get electricity. It took 5 years for everyone to get smartphones.

Never in my career have I seen the channel poised to change so much. Technology is now auto-catalytic, meaning it is changing so quickly that it is feeding off itself and changing even faster. You can’t train your way to learning about every solution anymore because technologies are accelerating on themselves.

The channel is going to look more and more like a selling organization leveraging recurring revenue contracts delivered from the cloud by manufacturers and providers. Creating an ecosystem — or being part of one — is going to be vital. It already is.

If you do not diversify your business, and learn from others in your market, you will not have a business in 5 years. That fact is becoming more and more apparent.

To learn more about the Solutions Alliance, and how you can future-proof your business in this ever-changing channel, talk to MicroCorp today.

Effortless on the Benefits of Staying Niche

Effortless, a technology and network security provider and one of MicroCorp’s provider partners, has made a name for itself in the medical, legal, and construction markets. Over the years, it has found success by staying niche. I caught up with Ben Gayheart, founder of Effortless, to talk more about why and how the company stays focused on those industries, and what benefits partners can experience from narrowing in on a couple of markets instead of trying to sell to every industry.

Phil Keenan: How does Effortless approach specific verticals to stay experts (and maintain success) in those fields?

Ben Gayheart: Our verticals are medical, legal, and construction. In the medical field, compliance is a big deal, so we stay current on HIPAA regulations and third party applications. For legal, we stay relevant on legal packages that are used by lawyers– specifically on how they operate working remotely from courtrooms. And we’ve been in the construction space a long time, so we understand the applications. We can do information-assisted selling because of our expertise.

Keenan: What are the benefits to focusing on specific verticals?

Gayheart: The markets are large spaces, so there are a lot of clients out there. And we are able to get a focused understanding of business processes in these areas.

I love business, business processes, and making business more efficient. Technology is an enabler — it’s your most important tool. But I don’t focus on the latest and greatest technology. I look at what technology can benefit a business to allow them to be more profitable. Staying in these three markets helps us focus on bringing the right technologies to businesses to make them the most successful.

Keenan: How should partners find their niches to specialize in verticals or other specific areas?

Gayheart: Focus on what problems people in those industries need to solve. For example, in the medical industry, compliance is a big buzzword. Most doctors are actually in the business of risk management. They need to stay compliant, but they don’t have time to focus on what that takes because they’re busy with patient care and a host of other things. What we do is allow them to check that box off their to do list, and for many, that is a huge deal. We close medical sales because we understand compliance. They feel comfortable with us because we enable them to do what it is they do best.

Keenan: Since you’ve always been cloud-only, what are some of the recent changes you’ve seen in cloud that are meaningful for partners?

Gayheart: We come from the MSP space, and ended up in the cloud. We were doing cloud before it was called cloud. We’ve always understood the value of using cloud technologies for lowering administrative costs, increasing flexibility, and enabling business.

But right now, the focus is on cybersecurity and disaster recovery. We are working with partners who understand those components, and that technologies need to have cybersecurity wrapped around them these days.

To learn more about how to make a name for yourself in niche markets, contact MicroCorp today.

Don’t Got At It Alone: Six Reasons You Need a Master Agent

Selling telecom and cloud services in today’s business environment may, on the surface, seem straightforward. But with the many moving parts involved in selling these services — from commissions to provider relationships and beyond — working with a master agent makes selling and supporting these services much simpler.

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As the Channel Shifts, We Grow

Learn how MicroCorp can help channel partners in the wake of the CenturyLink acquisition of Level 3.In the wake of the CenturyLink/Level 3 acquisition, MicroCorp is uniquely positioned to succeed as no other master agent can.

The number of significant mergers and acquisitions that have dominated Channel news over the last year have some partners wondering what the future brings. Here at MicroCorp, we are working closely with the impacted providers, and leveraging our deep, tenured relationships and experience to chart a certain and protected course for our partners.

When CenturyLink completes its acquisition of Level 3 later this year, we will be one of the few top master agents from a billing base and sales perspective, and number one in terms of support and experience. They have recognized MicroCorp by awarding us the coveted Diamond level status and all the benefits and status associated with that. The combination of our strategic relationships with both companies will lead to a position in the newly combined company that is second to none.

As we anticipate certain elements of the Level 3 channel program to influence the new CenturyLink forward, it’s worthy to note MicroCorp’s significant growth with Level 3 over the last two years. At Channel Partners, Level 3 recognized MicroCorp’s achievements in 2016 as follows:

  • Achieved the largest single sale award of 2016
  • Won MVP each and every quarter in 2016
  • Won MVP for all 2016 and 2015
  • Earned and maintained Elite partner status for 10 years
  • Participant in Level 3’s advisory board as the voice of our partners

Relationships are everything.
Over the years we have developed and maintained multi-threaded relationships not only with the Channel Chiefs and executive staff, but with folks on the ground level of each provider. Our partners benefit from these time-tested relationships to provide the best possible experience for their customers that reflects in their own brand promise.

As a member of the advisory boards for both CenturyLink and Level 3, we are actively in touch with providers’ executives and service delivery teams, representing the needs of our partners, and getting early visibility of strategy and direction that will affect our partner base. We are often the sounding boards for new products and services, and the first to test new programs and processes. And we make sure our partners benefit from our unique position with these suppliers.

What do our partners get out of working with MicroCorp?

As our partners contemplate what the future landscape of the Channel looks like after the CenturyLink/Level 3 acquisition, consider MicroCorp’s position:

  • Partners can be sure to receive the best pass through commissions as MicroCorp receives the highest commissions in the industry based on our expected continued performance.
  • We will be a trusted advisor to the company, helping to make sure our partners’ needs are met and we are getting early visibility to future direction.
  • The Agent Alliance is the largest sales channel in the industry and is highly influential with the leading providers. It has long-term and extremely successful relationships with CenturyLink. MicroCorp is a founding member and chairing the Alliance for the next two years. Our partners can be sure that they are further protected by the Alliance, going over and above what MicroCorp brings.
  • Navigating a complex bid through these organizations has its nuances, and it’s an art form MicroCorp has perfected. We have done this repeatedly for years, and our operations support process for CenturyLink and Level 3 are the very things that built MicroCorp’s strong support foundation.

From a leadership, sales, education, and support standpoint, we are ready to help partners launch full steam ahead with their CenturyLink/Level 3 business. Call us today to find out how we can help you succeed.