Channel versus Direct

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

Channel versus Direct

When I speak to carriers about the Channel, it's usually through gritted teeth. Most carriers have a love-hate relationship with the Channel. 

Carriers: Agents aren't exclusive. They aren't pitching us first and foremost.

Me: DUH! They aren't employees. They are brokers working with Customers to find the best solution. And by the way, most carriers don't explain their value proposition very well (if at all).

Carriers: Those recurring commission are ridiculous!

Me: Really? We get no salary or benefits. We pay our own rent, broadband, cell phone and travel. We only get paid when we get a contract signed and a service not just installed but paid for by the customer. And then we have to make sure that the carrier (or any of its numerous employees) don't do something to stop that commission stream.

Me: And as the carrier, your gaggle of lawyers and accountants decided what the commissions were going to be. If the numbers aren't working out, it's likely because those same folks aren't as good at their job as Agents are at their job. (Or carriers wouldn't have enormous pension liability and would have healthy profits and less debt.)

Carrier: It's easy being an Agent.

Me: What? We don't have a database of leads that carrier reps have. (For ILEC's that database is called BOCRIS). We have to wait 6 months or longer to get paid on a deal - a deal that we had to hunt and land ourselves.

Carrier: Yourselves? Look at all the support you get!

Me: You mean the over-worked Channel Manager who gets rotated almost as regularly as your account reps? Personally, I only need help quoting and answering specific details about the service.

Me: I do my own paperwork - and I don't want the customer to be contacted at all by the carrier. I want it all through me.

Carrier: Channel support is costly.

Me: Really? And your sales team isn't? Office space, utilities, broadband, cell phones, travel, benefits, salary, training, and W-2 liabilities. Your sales team needs at least as much support as the Channel. Maybe more. No performance reviews or Human Resources needed with Agents.

I'm sure there is more, but these are the basic ones.  If it was just simple math it would be one thing, but it is a control issue as well. And now it is a Wall Street problem.

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