It's a sometimes funny CBS sitcom, but to Agents in the Telecom Indirect Channel, Rules of Engagement are the sometimes written policy from carriers about Channel Conflict.
What is Channel Conflict?
Channel Conflict is when an agent and a direct account exec are battling for the same account. It helps if there is a written policy in place. It is even more helpful if the direct team abides by that written policy. In a perfect world perhaps. Telecom isn't perfect. (In fact, Telecom is Broken.)
What is Segmentation?
Segmentation is how telecom companies describe the grouping of businesses. Or put another way, Segmentation is how a carrier groups or defines each business account. There are groups of accounts that an Agent can not sell to. (Usually called House Account). But there is not a list of accounts that direct account execs can't sell to that I am aware of. It never works two ways.
One of the worst carriers to deal with on Segmentation is - surprise! - Verizon. There's two companies: VZT and VZB. Which do you have a contract with? What product are you trying to sell? Etc. Luckily (sarcasm), VZB just released the new 2010 Rules of Engagement: Account Segmentation.
This is the current Verizon segmentation policy vis a vis the restrictions and limitations on most accounts.
Customers are divided into three groups*:
- Mass Markets (1-20 employees): ok to sell VZB products only
- Mid-Tier (20-1,000 employees): ok to sell all products - but 2 groups:
- Managed - Assigned direct rep but authorized for indirect to sell into.
- Unmanaged - Unassigned accounts that can be sold into.
- VZB (1,000+ employees): restricted
*Actual segmentation is based on Verizon's evaluation and resources used. Some accounts are not segmented correctly based on actual employee count. Every quote needs to be segmented by Verizon.
Only two CLEC's I know of have a pro-agent segmentation policy. Level(3) and XO.
FYI: If you are an agent that can't sell VZB to a restricted account, what do you normally do? Sell services from another carrier when you can. Or don't get paid. And lucky for the agent the direct team gets notice of the opportunity when the agent puts in for a quote - and it gets rejected as a house account. Guess who is calling the client that day? Nice, huh?