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Channel Partners: Beyond Solutions, You Have the Team to Succeed

March 14th, 2019 by

With today’s educated consumer market, a multitude of sales methodologies from solution selling, to challenging the customer, to being a strategic partner are required. The method and strategy you apply are dependent on the relationship you have with the customer.

In a previous blog, I shared that Windstream Enterprise is here to help you succeed by enhancing and transforming the conversations you have with customers. This got me thinking about what that next step really looks like and how we can help to increase the value you bring to both customers and prospects.

Your Windstream Enterprise Channel team of industry and solution experts

Dedicated channel expertise

Enter your team of industry and solution experts led by your Channel Manager. These experts specialize in knowing exactly what is keeping your customers up at night and how you can help solve their specific challenges.

  • Access. Have customers looking at alternate access solutions? Do you need an expert to support the discussion and speak to how adaptive modulation reduces the effects of precipitation of the reliability of a fixed wireless solution? Tap in Belinda Leonardi, a 9-year veteran of Windstream Enterprise (the last 5 years spent in transport engineering) aka your network ninja and expert on all things on-net.
  • Healthcare.  Meeting with a potential healthcare client who requires low-latency, high-bandwidth connectivity between their core hospitals and the ability to share software systems across their operations? Enter Kristen Mcinerney (who is a 30-year registered nurse) and her peers on our healthcare team. This team is a highly strategic sales support group purposely built to meet healthcare’s complex requirements. They are the perfect complement to our portfolio of solutions which speak directly to the patient experience and clinical network operations. Read here how we helped Virtual Telecom secure a $1.45M SD-WAN opportunity for a large dental practice.
  • Retail. Meeting with a large, distributed enterprise customer that’s struggling to compete with mass brands in personalization? Call upon your retail experts who are uniquely qualified to assist in your sales efforts through their experience with hundreds of strategy, selection, and implementation engagements in the retail sector.
  • Hospitality. Thousands of hoteliers depend on Windstream Enterprise for solutions to increase guest satisfaction, generate revenue, lower costs and differentiate their staying experience. Our hospitality team will ensure you are prepared to pursue and close any opportunity.
  • Financial.  Did you know 81% of banking CEOs are concerned about the speed of technological change, more than any other industry sector? Our financial team, along with financial industry marketing strategist, Anne Guenther will work with you to create a solution that addresses those concerns.

I haven’t even touched on our SD-WAN, UCaaS, Security, CCaaS and Professional Services experts—all here with the same purpose—to help you succeed and enhance the value you provide to your customers and prospects.

Capitalizing on opportunities

Knowing your resources is the prerequisite to capitalizing on the potential of each opportunity.  All it takes to engage any of these resources is a quick call or email to your Channel Manager, who will bring these teams into the conversation at any point (at no additional cost to you).

Be sure to check out our Wednesdays With Windstream Webinar series, typically hosted by one of these experts. Their knowledge will help increase yours.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Reid Hoffman (co-founder of LinkedIn), “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.”

Windstream Channel Partners: Are Your Customers’ Ready For AI?

May 16th, 2018 by

OK gang, AI is here. Time to embrace it.

According to technology author and speaker Bernard Marr, “Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most transformative forces of our times.”

By this time, I’d think most people in our business (especially those in the channel) know this. However, if you’re trapped in a perverse Alfred Hitchcock-like dystopian future, there is no cause for alarm. AI isn’t about replacing humans. AI, rather, is about augmenting humans, making us more insightful and efficient, able to do more for less, all while getting continuously better through successive learning.

Remember this thought for later (there may be a test!).

So, should Channel Partners be talking AI?

 

If you do find yourself asking if AI is relevant to your customer engagement story, consider this. Last year a study by BCG published with the MIT Sloan Management Review reported “three-quarters of executives believe that AI will enable their companies to move into new businesses. And almost 85% believe AI will allow their companies to obtain or sustain a competitive advantage.”

In other words, your customers are already using or considering leveraging AI, making the answer to my question quite simple: YES, It’s extremely relevant!

The bigger question you should be asking, and understanding, is “Why it is relevant?”

I’ll address that by saying, AI implementations are not without dependencies, most critically so, the pathways through which AI communicates. That’s right: the network. Being that AI is enabled by big data, as data consumption needs grow, the needs for reliable infrastructure and bandwidth increases along with it.

And not just any network. AI requires one that provides:

  • Performance and cost optimized connectivity to increase operational efficiency, with high value at lower total cost of ownership (TCO) than traditional networks
  • High availability, redundancy, and flexible bandwidth with unparalleled performance through more granular levels of visibility and control
  • Greater business agility and responsiveness – doing business at the speed of business

So while AI makes businesses more efficient, it is highly dependent on data (and lots of it), which in turn requires a responsive, stable, reliable and agile network infrastructure. Therein lies an essential message for everyone in the channel today…

SD-WAN enables AI

 

Like AI, SD-WAN frees your network from limitations, gets more efficient and intelligent over time, and puts the power of knowledge in your hands to make better decisions.

But also like AI, SD-WAN is not plug and play since there are no current standards. It can be far more complex than creating and managing traditional private networks (especially at the start) as you have to integrate your private network securely and redundantly in the hybrid environment. It also takes a certain level of skill to design, deliver, implement and manage an innovative cloud driven network solution.

#WEenabletheNetwork

 

WE implore a critical skill that is often lost in today’s selling world; listening. We listen not only to our customers, but to you, our trusted channel partner advisors. We understand that the network paradigm has shifted and that your customers now require a different kind of network. Which in turn requires a different kind of provider and partner.

And as your Partner in the Channel, we are here to help you succeed in transforming the network conversations you have with your customers, and to guide you, as well as your customers, through the ever evolving landscape. Such as utilizing a fully-managed SD-WAN solution like our own, access agnostic (over the top) Windstream Enterprise SD-WAN Concierge, which includes an unprecedented, one of a kind proprietary management portal/Orchestrator experience with exclusive features such as Customized Naming and Tagging.

In short: the advent of AI adds further emphasis to the fact that the network revolution is upon us WE are here to serve as a pathfinder to help lead our partners and their customers through it. So, my friends, shift your focus, elevate your horizon line, and embrace the new day, because when it comes to networks to power AI, we’ve got your back!

Now get out there and ask your customers – Is your network AI ready?

Then contact your Windstream Enterprise Channel Manager or Channel.Development@windstream.com to learn how #WEwinTogether!

Happy hunting!

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