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channel managers with telarus master agent We all have that friend. The one with a blind spot as big as the sun. That friend who keeps doing dumb things because she doesn’t know any better. That friend who refuses to do things to help himself. That friend who continues to cheer for the Dodgers when they have so many better options (sorry Patrick Oborn J).

We all have blind spots. Google defines a blind spot as “an area where a person’s view is obstructed.” Personally, I like this definition from a little better – “an area or subject about which one is uninformed, prejudiced, or unappreciative.”

A few weeks ago, I asked several fantastic channel managers about where we might be uniformed, prejudiced, or unappreciative. My question was this:

“What do you wish agents knew that you have been afraid to tell them?”

Without any sugarcoating, these are the answers they gave me. Thank you to our friends at EarthLink, Comcast, Broadview, CenturyLink, and Windstream for your feedback.

  1. We don’t know your priorities unless you tell us. We can’t do 3,547 things at the same time. If you tell us you need pricing, contracts, marketing materials, SPIF details, a PowerPoint presentation, an hour to talk with a special client, etc., please let us know what you need NOW.
  2. Set appropriate customer expectations so that we can both be successful. We love partners who set the right expectations! If something takes two weeks, don’t tell the customer you will push every day until we get an answer. Feel free to let us know you are under the gun and we will work with you. Don’t make us the bad guy. If everything is an escalation, nothing can get accomplished.
  3. Give us authentic praise and genuine criticism. This is exactly what it sounds like. Let’s have an objective conversation. Send a message or call us when our teams have done well. If we have failed in some way, give us the courtesy of being straightforward. Explain in detail what we need to do to.
  4. Don’t whine when you’re busy. Aren’t we all? That’s the price of admission. We want to help, but we’d much rather focus on what you need.
  5. If you are selling a complex deal on price – STOP!  Price is a small factor when you are addressing the customer’s real needs – You don’t always need to be the lowest to win. Stop quoting a like-for-like solution where you can save the customer X%.  Take the time to understand the customer’s vision and future technology plans. Use this opportunity to right-size the solution for growth and future.  We are skilled at having this consultative conversation with the customer. Invite them in as early as possible.  You will maximize the opportunity, roadmap your future sales to the client, and generate larger residuals.
  6. Competition is awesome! – We know we might not meet all criteria or address every need. If we aren’t the right fit, it’s ok. Bad dates lead to bad marriages. In the end, both parties lose.
  7. Know the different nuances between suppliers. We are surprised at how often we are asked to do things we just can’t do. We do everything we can to tell the market what we do well and where we can do it. We continue to get better every day. We love it when you take the time to learn about us. We are also happy to teach you.
  8. We’ve heard this question/scenario before. Chances are, we’ve dealt with a problem or issue like yours. We’ve created tools and resources based on what the market has asked for. E-mailing us for the answer takes more time than using the supplier systems and tools you have available. Use the tools and resources that are provided. Use Telarus’s support organization and ours! Most questions can be easily answered with a little research.
  9. We don’t want to sell something we know will fail – We try to have the customer’s best interest at heart. If we aren’t the right fit, we want everyone to know.  Bad dates lead to bad marriages. In the end, both parties lose. Know the different nuances between suppliers…We aren’t all the same.
  10. Agents who can qualify a deal will get my attention every time. If we know you can qualify and evaluate a deal, when you do come to us, we will be ready with open arms. We don’t want to be the wall you throw your garbage at in hopes it sticks. Who has time for that?  This is YOUR business. We want to help, but we don’t absolve you…
    1. Qualify for term and bandwidth before requesting a quote.
    2. Get accurate order information and location contact information up front. This is the key in meeting provisioning and installation intervals and deadlines.
  11. Come and visit us. Relationships are built face-to-face. We want to know you. We want you to know us. We set up our booths at conferences so we can meet you and understand your needs.
  12. Know your escalation contacts. We get it. Title matters. That said, we’ve created teams designed to respond to you. We are never afraid to get in and help, but you will get a faster (and usually better) answer if you use your assigned contacts. When emailing CMs or support folks, include as much information as possible – phone numbers, account numbers, order numbers, etc.
  13. Time is our most precious resource. This speaks for itself.

A strong relationship with your channel contacts goes a long way. We are always here to help. Let’s work together to create an even stronger partnership.