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The Importance of Owning Your Customer Relationships

Channel partners provide SMBs with a single, reliable, and comprehensive source to meet their complex IT needs. In the United States, an estimated 70% of more than $500 billion in IT spending by U.S. companies flows through or is influenced by the approximately 160,000 solution providers in the country’s IT channel ecosystem, according to a 2020 study by CompTIA. Channel partners have become the de facto and trusted technology advisors for the SMB segment that represents a base of 31.7 million companies in the U.S. alone, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy.

Within this base of channel partners, according to a 2019 McKinsey Study, 95% of MSPs and VARs prefer a reseller model in lieu of a traditional agent-based approach.

Why? Because they know that, as a reseller, you remain the face of the technology you sell, and with that comes relationships that are developed in the communities they serve. Although a traditional commissioned agent model works for some, as a reseller the relationship doesn’t end as soon as the sale is made. Instead, resellers remain to support the business, provide ongoing service and guidance, retain the opportunity to sell new solutions over time and, because of this, the opportunity to realize significant recurring revenue, greater profitability, and greater long-term business value.

Owning the Customer Relationship

As businesses continue to adopt unified communications as a service (UCaaS) and contact center as a service (CCaaS) solutions at an incredible pace, the potential for channel partners to maximize their opportunity – and revenue – providing these versatile, secure, work-from-wherever solutions has never been greater.

The majority of UCaaS/CCaaS providers, however, only offer their partners commission payments under a traditional sales agent model. As a UCaaS agent, after the vendor pays you a commission for the introduction to a business, the vendor takes over – managing support, billing, pricing, and the customer relationship in general. And it is when you lose this ownership of the customer that the opportunity for “more” dramatically declines.

As a UCaaS/CCaaS reseller, you retain ownership of the customer relationship because you are the one providing the solutions to the business and then providing the ongoing support for those solutions. Instead of collecting a commission, you purchase the solutions wholesale from the vendor and then resell them at a price point you set. In turn, you are now in a position to enjoy higher margins, earn greater top-line recurring revenue, and build significant value in your business.

Although the number of UCaaS/CCaaS vendors offering reseller programs is limited, there are choices.

Owning Customer Trust

For channel partners who choose the reseller path, the key to building a significant book of business typically happens through customer relationships that are built on trust. If a reseller chooses to put their name on a brand, be it as a white labeled product or attaching their name to the vendor’s brand, then how that product performs becomes tied to how the reseller’s reputation.

So the importance of selecting the right technology vendor cannot be overstated. Is the performance of the vendor’s product(s) highly reliable? Is the product easy to use? Is the support the vendor provides – from addressing technical concerns, to convenient and dependable access to onboarding and deployment support, to offering a full library of tools and resources to assist with sales and marketing – exceptional? If I call or email or send a chat to the vendor at any time will a knowledgeable expert be there ready to help? These questions are critical to keep in mind because, again, their answers will influence the performance of your product and service and subsequently the reputation of your business and your brand. The better the products and support you receive, the greater the trust and reputation you are able to create and maintain.

Owning the Opportunity

By maintaining ownership of your customer relationships through a reseller model, you can maximize your ability to take advantage of the massive UCaaS/CCaaS opportunity. Look for a solution vendor that offers a reseller program, and supports its resellers with the products, resources, and expertise that help partners deliver trusted, consistent excellence.

As a partner-first company, Intermedia goes to work for its over 7,100 partners by providing a comprehensive portfolio of the hybrid work-ready solutions needed to deliver more productive and efficient employee collaboration, as well as more informed and responsive customer care. With the mobile and desktop apps that allow the solutions to go wherever work happens. The tightly integrated solution set includes voice, video conferencing, chat, contact center, business email and productivity, file sharing and backup, security, archiving, and more – all delivered from one highly reliable (99.999% guaranteed uptime service level agreements), secure, and easy to deploy and manage platform.

Plus, with Intermedia’s innovative Customer Ownership Reseller (CORE™) model, partners purchase Intermedia’s solutions at wholesale and resell them at a price point they set, brand Intermedia’s solutions as their own or co-brand with Intermedia, maintain ownership of their customer relationships, earn 5X more revenue than traditional commissioned agent models, and build long-term value in their businesses – all backed by sales, marketing, and onboarding tools and resources, as well as 6-years running J.D. Power-certified 24/7 technical support. Intermedia even calculates and remits complicated telecommunications taxes for its partners.

To find out more about the importance of owning your customer relationships, contact Intermedia today at 888.299.2522 or visit our Intermedia Resellers page to learn more about our CORE program.

About Rob Gold