Behind every successful partner is a dedicated channel account manager. While that may not be the most common coffee cup slogan, you might see it on desks at EnGenius, a voice and data solution provider.
Focused primarily on the small and midsize market, EnGenius is striving to boost its business by providing clients with affordable solutions that are sold and supported by local partners. To help its partners provide the support that clients expect, EnGenius has enhanced it Elite Partner Program with an expanded team of channel account managers, assigning each of them to support partners in specific regions.
The company’s partners bought into the value of offering support-backed solutions. But the feedback from the field was that having a single point of contact at the company — someone who knew the partner as well as the customer — was critical. “Partners didn’t want to talk to someone different every time they called, especially from the job site,” explained Amy Blasnick, Channel Marketing Manager at EnGenius, in a recent conversation with CMR. “So we had to figure out how to restructure our team to really provide more support for our partners.’”
To start, the company restructured its inside sales team and hired new employees to dedicate points-of-contact for partners in each region — readily available during business hours — to help partners address client issues.
“Now our partners are going to one person who understands the business and has a relationship with the customer,” said Blasnick. “There’s no more time wasted on ‘Oh, let me get a quick backstory on what your sale is in, or what your problem is, or really just what the solution needs are that you have.’ It’s a direct line of contact — same person all the time — so the channel manager has that full understanding of the partner and account and is able to pick up on the conversation no matter where it was left off.”
To perform their new duties, the inside sales reps and new hires were trained to address the technical aspect of the company’s products, as well as get up to speed on company policies. “We want these partner managers to be able to address the full package,” said Blasnick, “no matter what the question is, whether it’s a return, a replacement, support on a new solution, or network design.”
In addition to helping partners better serve their clients, the company is also taking the lead on marketing to find more business for them. “We’re making sure that we are providing the channel with direct leads. We do share collateral and messaging that is helping capture more customers. But no pressure on is put partners to participate in the marketing programs. “We don’t our partners to feel like ‘all they care about is if I make this sale.”
Nonetheless, that strategy is encouraging partners to bring new business to EnGenius, said Blasnick. “By helping our partners grow their business, they have come to trust us to bring their customers to us. They know we’re not going to take the business direct. We’re not trying to do anything that’s taking that opportunity away from them. We’re really only trying to provide more resources to help them close the deal faster.”
EnGenius’ offer of a free network design tool has been instrumental in helping partners win business. Partners can design, analyze and optimize their Wi-Fi projects. Partner managers are available to help partners design more larger or more complicated projects.
Ensuring that customers have faith in their solution providers as well as the products and services they offer is a top priority for Engenius. While many brands have started to de-emphasize their brand in marketing materials, EnGenius is striving to build end-user awareness of the company and its products. To support sales in targeted new markets including education, hospitality and assisted living, the company is investing in targeted advertising. “We’re also working with a PR agency to help us find new market opportunities, building on that trust level within the market to go out there to the end user.”
Winning the trust of the customer is “one of the hardest things to do,” said Blasnick, “but it’s really easy to lose by making a mistake. That’s why enabling our partners has really been our key focus, because they’re the ones that are really going to be able to go out there and find new opportunities for us as well.”