Net Access Blog

What makes an innovative channel program?

Posted by Alex Weiss on Sep 4, 2014 11:24:27 AM


When I joined NAC, I was pleasantly surprised by how much the executive team gets it, both in our core business, as well as our sales programs. The company has been building data centers since 1999 with innovative and forward thinking ideas like metered power and burstable cabinet pricing; our SVP of Sales & Marketing Steve Callahan has been building sales organizations since the first Internet bubble, both direct and indirect, and with an understanding of how to make both work together.

As we built our channel program at NAC, we looked back on our collective years of experience. There was no shortage of opinions on what didn’t work in other programs, and plenty of ideas on how to right those wrongs. What came out of those discussions is a low-bureaucracy program that values both the customer and agent experience, which you can learn more about by reading our Partners Win PDF.

We want every new agent to have that same feeling that NAC gets it, and this is how we believe it happens.

What matters to us?

We live in a relatively small community, and I’ve seen the same faces pop up in the strangest places, year after year. Over 40% of our employees have more than a decade of service, and many more are on the cusp - which means your NAC contact won’t be changing every 3 months. Relationships are built on reputation and trust, and I haven’t worked with a company that takes these traits more seriously than we do. 

As an agent, deals are easily lost when the customer’s scope unexpectedly changes, and you have to start looking for new partners to help close the deal. With NAC, our wide product set gives our agents a great deal to work with. Further, by breaking down the walls and having a channel neutral program, you will always have the assistance of our sales team

Taking care of the customer for life:
Our customers stick around, which in our industry tends to be uncommon. NAC has one of the lowest churn rates in the industry, around 0.5%!. We know how to take care of customers. When you think about the speed of innovation in hosting platforms, if we aren’t keeping up with our customer’s demands, they would be seeking a new provider. By working closely with our customers and knowing their infrastructure, our feedback loop to identify and release new offerings is extremely short.

How do we accomplish it?

The cardinal sin of any channel or agent program is a lot of bluster from the company, but very little follow through. Knowing that a successful program requires effort from us, this is what you can expect: 

Active Sales Support
In most programs, referrals and agents are two very distinct concepts. It makes someone choose how a deal should be handled from the beginning, often long before they know the level of support that will be required. It creates an incentive to not ask questions, which frequently hurts the agent & the customer equally. 

Facts, not pitches
We’ll keep the 50 page corporate presentation at home and focus on the details. When you’re helping a customer with a NAC Solution, you need the cold hard facts to help craft the right solution. Often, channel programs treat their agents like marketing targets instead of the informed & educated partners they are. 

We find a great deal of value in active communication, and believe it’s crucial for a long-term relationship. With that in mind, we have events to facilitate conversations, and give our partners a platform to both learn about the NAC products, and provide feedback from their perspective:

  • Lunch & Learns, Channel Dinners
    We find that meeting our agents in person, in a conversational environment, is a great way to discuss the ways we can craft the best customer solution. 

  • Webinars
    Webinars are a quick way to convey timely information. From the convenience of your home or office, you can learn about the latest innovations or just deepen your knowledge on a particular product.
  • Visiting the Datacenters
    You can read our detailed whitepapers, but there is no better way to understand our differentiators than setting foot in one our facilities. The New Jersey market is extremely saturated, and enabling our partners to be able to articulate our competitive differences is crucial. 

I'm very excited to grow the channel program at NAC. Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line if you would like to become an agent, or have any questions about our program. 

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Topics: agents, partners, channel program