Karin Fields - Master Agent Evolution

How to win in this era of vendor and partner convergence

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The agent/master agent channel of communications vendors is being disrupted by the convergence of IT and Communications. Telecom and communications suppliers are moving up the stack to offer more complex data and SaaS solutions. As a result, they are moving into the Managed Service Provider (MSP) and Solution Provider channel once served almost exclusively by IT vendors. At the same time, SaaS vendors are starting to recognize an opportunity to leverage the telco agents to expand their reach.

This week’s guest, Karin Fields, has spent her entire career as a master agent with MicroCorp, rising all the way up the ranks to CEO. Karin shares where her business is headed, how the lines between telecom agent and MSP are getting blurred, and the new opportunities for her traditional agent channel. Learn how the communications channel is evolving and what you, as a vendor or partner, can do to win in this new landscape. And hear Karin’s tips for 20-something’s looking to enter this industry.   

KEY TAKEAWAYS

MicroCorp’s Master Agent Evolution
  • MicroCorp is no longer interested in signing on more traditional connectivity partners. Her main focus now is on data center, security and SD-WAN. She’s moving up the stack into the SaaS space and encroaching into the Value-Added Distributor territory.
  • The MicroCorp team have been migrating their telecom agents to nontraditional conversations with their customers and end users, such as 365 licensing, UCAS, AWS connectivity, storage, backup retrieval, and other subjects that would normally be discussed with their MSP or VAR.
  • MSPs have an advantage because of their daily contact with their clients. However, MicroCorp offers solution sets that may be outside of the MSPs expertise. That’s why they offer engineering discovery and design expertise to help the MSP win business within most industry vertical and niche solutions.
Challenges with MSPs
  • The MSP is used to selling their own product that their own teams have been trained and certified on. Here they can usually control the customer or end user’s outcome.
  • One reason MSPs are uncomfortable with carrier services is because they lack control. They worry that an untimely delivery of services or installation would reflect poorly on them with the customer.
Tips for Young People Coming into the Industry
  • While coming into this industry is a lot of work and training, it offers a great quality of life and there is a significant need.
  • If a young college graduate can find a partner close to retirement to work for, they may be able to take over when their partner wishes to be done. Then they’ll have enough knowledge and the sophistication to have the type of conversations with their customers that they need to be having.

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I think the customer just wants to have a really good experience. And I don't necessarily know if they care about having one invoice or three invoices, as long as everything works and everybody works well together. @KarinFields Click To Tweet There needs to be that impartial, independent partner who can pull the solution together from multiple providers and multiple products and services to make a fully meshed solution for the customer. @KarinFields Click To Tweet

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