Dispelling the Voice Myth at XChange 2017
What a busy past few days it has been in Orlando, FL at The Channel Company’s XChange event! Earlier in the year, we shared our plans to attend about 40 events in total this year, with the purpose of going deeper with our partners. I am pleased to say that we’ve attended well over 20 events this year to date, and the knowledge we gain from interfacing with our attendees at each one has been invaluable.
(click to enlarge photo)
Our CRO Eric Martorano and VP of Cloud Voice Mark Sher shared the XChange stage to talk about the prevalent and persistent myth that selling and supporting cloud voice is complex. Selling VoIP should be both uncomplicated and profitable for the channel with the right partner. The keynote really resonated with attendees. In fact, they voted Eric and Mark’s keynote as the Best Presentation of the event.
(click to enlarge photo)
Mark sat down with CRN to further dispel these myths. He explained how Intermedia helps to eliminate these once obstacles with things like sales support and online sales training, an automated marketing platform where integrated campaigns can be branded in the partner’s own name, online quoting, free onboarding support and proactive network testing tools. As a result, CRN has also included Intermedia’s voice solutions in its list of 30 Hot Products To Check Out Right Now.
Event recap Q&A with Eric Martorano and Mark Sher
I sat down with Eric and Mark to discuss some of the common themes from the event that partners that were unable to attend would most want to know about.
What do find to be the top deterrents to selling voice?
Mark: The most commonly communicated deterrents are taxes, general understanding of phone systems and questions about internal resources. Everything about our voice offering is designed to eliminate these headaches and make it easy. From a support perspective, Intermedia handles everything down to taxation. We want to serve as a true teammate to help partners sell.
Intermedia provides all this partner support already. Why give away free phones?
Mark: Simply stated, we’re doing it to make selling voice that much easier. Through the end of September, Intermedia is giving away Yealink T46G and Polycom VVX410 phones to partners**. At some point, partners are going to be in front of a customer asking for a sale. We want to make it easier to get the “yes” from the customer. We think this promotion should help significantly.
(click to enlarge photo)
What would you say to partners that know Intermedia has a business email provider?
Eric: Historically, our roots were in Hosted Exchange. That’s in part why we’re going out to events like XChange to spread the word about everything else that Intermedia does. We provide 30+ applications, and while 2/3 of our 6,600 active partners have been playing with Exchange Email, we are seeing significant adoption of our other solutions as like cloud voice. In fact, more than 50% of our total new business revenue comes from voice today.
What would you say to someone still on the fence about selling voice?
Mark: We get it. In the past, the barriers to getting into selling voice were massive. The “voice guys” had to have their own network, their own specialized hardware and tool, etc. Those barriers have come down. It’s time to take another look at voice, and we’re going to make it easy.
Eric: We believe strongly in our ability to execute which is why we don’t require contracts. We’re comfortable earning your business with every phone call. If we don’t do a good job, partners are free to go and find someone else who will. And even with this approach, Intermedia’s solutions have less than 1% churn. In my opinion, that’s world class.
What can you share with readers relative to our overall partner program?
Eric: Intermedia announced new partner incentive programs at XChange. As partners invest more in us, we are looking for new ways to invest more in them. Commit more to the partnership, and we are going to commit more to you.
- Gold – $1,000 in MRR in a calendar year: get designated tele-sales and field sales, and more than 100 local customer prospects per quarter, plus biannual Intermedia updates and eligibility for up to $1,000 in MDF, as well as biannual Intermedia product roadmaps.
- Platinum – $5,000 in MRR in a calendar year: get up to $10,000 in MDF, over 1,000 customer prospects per quarter and white-glove automated marketing and support, along with priority call queuing and sales engineering.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Eric: Coming off great events like this one, partners are seeing our commitment to the channel and getting reengaged. We’ve gone from 70% to over 80% of our business coming from the channel in just six months. We’ve made significant investments in our sales organization to enable the success of our partners. For those that haven’t been selling our data and voice services, I just ask that they lend us their ear.
**Free phone promotional offer includes one free Yealink T46G or Polycom VVX 410 phone per purchased line of Intermedia’s Cloud PBX service. Cancellation within one year (except as described below) will result in paying the pro-rated value of the phone. For example, if the value of the phone is $150 and the cancellation comes after 11 months, the customer owes 1/12 of $150, or $12.50. For cancellations within Intermedia’s 30-day money back guarantee period, the customer will have the option of (a) paying Intermedia the pro-rated value of the phone or (b) returning the phone to Intermedia in good condition (subject to ordinary wear and tear) without being charged for the phone. Intermedia reserves the right to terminate or amend the terms of this promotion at any time. Intermedia shall interpret the terms of these promotions and resolve any dispute in accordance therewith, in each case in Intermedia’s sole discretion. Promotion expires September 30, 2017.