As Telarus CEO Adam Edwards explained channel agnostic means “no preference of whether sales come through the direct channel or partner channel.” Usually that means the buyer doesn’t care if it is a direct salesperson or a channel partner (as in the case with Microsoft or Cisco).
In telecom, that usually means that the C-Suite doesn’t care where the revenue comes from – indirect or direct. If you look at current available data between 35-65% of new mid-market deals are coming in from channel. So yeah the C-Suite doesn’t acre where the new revenue comes from – as long as it comes in.
For Wall Street it is all about the revenue. On Main Street, where channel partners earn their living, it does matter. Agnostic does not mean Parity.
Parity means that Direct and Indirect have the same pricing team, same promotions and get the pricing at the same time. Everything is equal.
Parity, in some eyes, is pairing up the partner with a direct rep. Personally, I don’t get it, but Qwest, Smoothstone and other carriers have used that strategy. That is duel compensation – and the CFO won’t let that happen forever. It messes with margin, profits and EBITDA.
I was at a non-telecom client this week discussing channel strategies. They asked about Channel Conflict. This is a well known “feature” of channel agnostic sales. Some companies have Ink Wins as the motto. This usually means dirty pool. Someone is pulling tricks to get the contract without the work. (Been there, seen that, have the tee-shirt.)
Other programs use Deal Registration. Deal Registration is great in theory but, in some cases, the sales teams just upload their contact lists as “deal reg”! Best way to handle this is a CRM system that can track activity. Who talked to who, when, about what? What was the follow up like?
There has to be a top down understanding of channel in order to have parity. Often, the C-Suite only cares about the top line – and the VPs or Directors fight it out. That seems healthy, right?
Channel Parity is possible. And it is better than Channel Agnostic.
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