Jumping into the channel arena, telecommunications company Comcast commenced a new channel sales initiative, Solutions Provider Program.
The program is an all-inclusive indirect sales strategy that offers much needed operational, sales, and marketing support to “master agents” and “value added resellers.” This new channel feature will help partners sell Comcast’s services to the smaller and mid-size market entities.
The company introduced the program at the Spring 2011 Channel Partners Conference and Expo, which was held in Las Vegas, and highlighted some of its features, including tools specifically designed to met business needs, like the demand for increased bandwidth and cloud-based application hosting. Along with this, the program offers a network infrastructure that is capable of helping partners with storage, business productivity, disaster recovery, as well as a number of other partner needed applications.
According to Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC), chief strategy officer at Telecom Brokerage Incorporated (TBI) Mike Saxby noted, “We are already starting to see a significant amount of order volume." A national master agent representative, TBI is one of three companies Comcast signed up. In the master agent capacity, TBI is allowed to sell high-end Comcast services, such as business high-capacity Ethernet services, internet, and voice. To make these features more attractive and effective, they can be combined with other programs such as antivirus programs and Microsoft SharePoint. As of yet though, TBI is unauthorized to sell Comcast’s fiber product.
The decision to initiate its channel partner program came after researching the marketplace demand, which was gleamed from smaller information rollouts. Taking its time, Comcast interviewed applicants and did a thorough review process, finally choosing three master agents: TBI, Intelisys Communications, and Telarus.
Comcast’s vice president of indirect channel sales Craig Schlagbaum explained, “We chose these companies based upon an extensive review of their robust capabilities and determined they were best positioned to work and grow with us during this early phase of our program."
To ensure that both partner and end-user experiences were advantageous, Comcast put a limit on orders the master agents could fill during the initial launch. Observing the successful results the company quickly removed the limit. Without limits, the master agents have the opportunity to submit as many orders as they can fill.
Still a bit astounded, Saxby told TMC, “It isn’t too often that a $70 billion company enters the channel and launches a partner program. All of us will look back 10 years from now and be like, wow, it was really cool to be on the ground level.” He is sure Comcast jumping into the channel arena will easily be “the biggest and most significant development of 2011."