Each year we like to take stock in where we’ve been so that we can better chart our course for the next. It’s also beneficial to review the past year to make sure an opportunity didn’t slip by unnoticed, and there were plenty to choose from in 2018, which was a record-setting year by all measures.
New Company / New Brand
As we began the new year, we were in the middle of integrating Telarus with CarrierSales. January 1, 2018, marked the first official day of the “new” Telarus under one legal entity. For every day of 2018, the two organizations were integrated into one, focused organization, complete with a new logo and theme: “Built for You.” Whether you’re a sales partner, supplier, or employee of Telarus, every action we took in 2018 was focused on you.
Throughout 2018, we released more software that helped our partners put a virtual cloud sales engineer on their mobile phones! We enhanced the UCaaS and SD-WAN feature matrices, and introduced three new ones to the family:
- Contact Center (CCaaS)
- Cloud Computing / Storage
Second, to help our partners better understand their commission data, we released version 2.0 of the Telarus Commission Report. This version has a complete, itemized breakdown of each payment, what the payment was for, and comprehensive view of the Telarus commission team’s notes. This enhanced transparency is giving our partners access to information that makes commission assurance a snap.
New Telarus Team Members
2018 was the first time in Telarus history where we expanded our reach beyond the United States. In March we hired Tony Heywood to run Tradewinds, our Australia / New Zealand (ANZ) market. In August we officially launched our channel under the “Tradewinds Brokerage Group” name and took our first RingCentral orders that same month. We accelerated our investment in November by hiring Francis Choy as director of operations for ANZ. We are very excited to see what Tony and his team have accomplished in their first few months.
U.S. Field Sales Team
#TelarusNearYou was a mantra that we lived by in 2018. This year we added more field sales members than ever before. These new team members include:
- Joseph J. Galluzzi (Regional Vice President – Northeast)
- Tina Franchi (Sr. Partner Development Manager – NY/NJ)
- Nikki Day (Sr. Partner Development Manager – Boston / New England)
- Phil Brekke (Sr. Partner Development Manager – Denver / CO/NE/ND/SD)
- Randi Robison (Sr. Partner Development Manager – Utah / Idaho)
- Anton Loon (Sr. Partner Development Manager – Cincinnati / OH/MO/IN/KY)
Our sales engineering team also saw new team members being added across the country, bringing us both geographic and subject matter diversity. These new team members include:
- Ladd Wimmer (New Jersey) / UCaaS, SD-WAN
- Robert Greenough (Tampa) / UCaaS
- Josh Haselhorst (Phoenix) / CCaaS, UCaaS, SD-WAN
ILEC Specialty Practices
AT&T shifted its model from up-front to residual commission while at the same time layering in channel integration. Here at Telarus we signed a new AT&T agreement and assembled a team of AT&T experts, under the direction of Paul McGuire, to help our partners close more AT&T-direct business than at any time in our history!
CenturyLink spent the year integrating with Level 3, becoming one of the largest network companies on the planet. Similar to AT&T, we grew our team – under the direction of Jo Branch – from 5 to 11 individuals who support only CenturyLink opportunities. This massive team has made it so that a Telarus employee does 90 percent of all CenturyLink back-office work (pre-sale and post-sale) – most of whom are CenturyLink veterans.
2018 was also a banner year for our new Verizon practice, led by Whitney Andrea, who joined Telarus at the beginning of 2018. Whitney has built a team of Verizon experts who have helped us launch our Verizon practice into the stratosphere as our partners, especially our northeast partners, look for safety and stability when placing their Verizon orders.
One area of Telarus that in which we continue to see consistent year-over-year growth is in our Account Management department – a group who performs account maintenance and upsell for and on behalf of our sales partners to THEIR customers. We entered the year with five account managers and by the end of 2018, we had nine employees helping our partners manage and grow their base.
To meet the needs of sales partners in all geographies across many areas of vertical focus, Telarus has continued to expand our portfolio of contracted suppliers. The list of suppliers we signed in 2018 include:
New Suppliers Capabilities:
While we added plenty of new suppliers in 2018, many of our existing ones created new and exciting products to drive the industry forward. Some of the most notable advancements include:
An Explosion of Bandwidth
Although 5G was the hot discussion point during 2018, the real gains in commercial broadband belonged to the cable and satellite broadband companies, each of whom released new technology to more than double their existing speeds:
- DOCSIS 3.1 = 1 Gb in all markets to virtually every business in Comcast and Spectrum’s footprint.
- Viasat 2 = 30 – 100 Mb for all of non-wired America.
Cybersecurity Moves Front and Center in the Channel
In 2018 we saw our partners investing in lead sources, attending trade shows, and learning about cyber security posture at our Telarus Innovation Conferences. During that same time we saw some major brands come into the channel either directly – by signing an agreement with Telarus, or indirectly – by working with one of our existing suppliers. Some of the highlights include:
- Cylance (Verizon)
- AlienVault (AT&T)
- Thrive (Direct)
- HTG 360 (Direct)
- Imperva (Direct and through Rackspace)
- Infinite Group (Direct)
- CenturyLink (Direct)
- Managed IT as a Service
2018 saw the launch of the Office Depot channel. No, this wasn’t for their copy toner or paperclips, it was for their managed IT service capability that they gained from their acquisition of CompuCom. That’s right – agents can now bid on and win managed IT contracts that pay them a residual (more than most telecom residuals, for those keeping score at home). No more having to yield that business to an MSP! Or, if you are an MSP, you can broker CompuCom to the smaller clients that don’t make financial sense for you to serve yourself. It’s a win-win-win.
Contact Center as a Service
2018 was a breakout year for us in CCaaS. We added some significant players to our supplier portfolio that helped our partners compete and win more CCaaS opportunities than ever before. Some of those suppliers included: TalkDesk, Genesys, Connect First, NICE inContact, and Seranova. We were also excite to welcome Meagan Thai as a member of the UCaaS/CCaaS team.
Mobility and IoT
Our mobility team continues to grow and IoT is starting to heat up as more providers begin to productize the offering, making it easier to understand, propose, and close. Part of making the IoT dream come alive is the expansion of wireless offerings, the ability to help businesses control mobility spend in the face of bandwidth-hungry apps and increase awareness of the technology and the unbelievable data it can generate. With Sprint and T-Mobile coming together in 2019, plus first markets coming online for 5G service, you’re going to want a master agent with dedicated mobility and IoT department helping you guide your customers through the transition.
We hit the road hard in 2018 with over 100 events in cities across the country. Telarus Partner Exchange was one of the biggest private conferences in channel history, taking up the entire Boca Raton Resort. Special sessions were dedicated to SD-WAN, lead generation, IoT, security, cloud compute, and unique ways to engage with cybersecurity projects. The keynote speakers were Lisa Miller, SVP of CenturyLink, and James Lawrence, aka “The Iron Cowboy,” who talked about the lessons he learned while completing 50 Ironman triathlons in 50 states in 50 days. When we get out of our comfort zones and make ourselves #IntentionallyUncomfortable, we open up ourselves to improve and put ourselves on a road of self-discovery that ends in success, confidence, and happiness.
2018 saw across-the-board gains in all categories: network, cloud, UCaaS, CCaaS, and cybersecurity. With so many new partners, new suppliers, and new employees working hard and making their mark, we saw sales and partner participation continue to rise at around 30 percent over last year.
A Stellar Year
This is such an exciting business. The results we see today are from investments we made many years ago, and the gains we see tomorrow come from investments we make today. 2018 was a year of enormous investment, as we sought to attract and hire the best talent in the industry to help our partners strategize, leverage Telarus, and take their businesses to new heights. 2019 will be a transformative year, one in which every single technology that a business can leverage will be available through the agent channel. To seize this opportunity, agents will need to become expert generalists and be backed by a bench of seasoned subject matter experts who can help them give their customers unbiased advice.
THANK YOU to everyone for helping us take Telarus to all new heights in 2018. Know that we, as an ownership team, remain committed to reinvesting back into the business, giving it the capital it needs to add more team members, create more software tools, and manage more accounts, all on our partners’ behalf. We remain committed to your long-term success.