CenturyLink Details Its Channel Partner Strategy

By Paula Bernier

It's been an exciting few months for CenturyLink and its channel partners.

Just nine months ago, John DeLozier came aboard the company as vice president of channel alliances. He’s previously worked as a channel leader at Unify, executive vice president at both Cross Telecom and Virsae, senior vice president of sales at Arrow S3, and CEO of ACT.

After joining CenturyLink, DeLozier got to work building a channel team and adding a medals program to its channel initiative. In the past, CenturyLink had treated all its channel partners the same, whether they sold very little or a whole lot, explained DeLozier. That meant all channel partners’ orders were processed the same, they all received the same awards, and they were all valued at the same level.

“We needed to fix that,” said DeLozier, “and we have.”

The Ascend Medals Award Program that CenturyLink introduced earlier this year allowed it – based on the historical and current sales performance of its channel partners – to rank them in Diamond, Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze categories. The other large telecom service providers don't have tiered channel programs like this today, said DeLozier.

CenturyLink introduced this new tiered program at its Ascend national partner conference Feb. 22-24 in San Diego. About 2,000 people attended. The next Ascend event is scheduled for March 28 through April 2 of 2018 in Austin, Texas.

CenturyLink provides a lot of external marketing support for its partners. Higher-level partners get more support and dollars on that front. Larger partners also get paid for carrying their own support/back office. And CenturyLink pays a spiff to partners based on their levels. So the more they sell, the more they can make.

Channel partners can sell everything from CenturyLink’s basic networking to its cloud, hosted, and managed services. The company’s SD-WAN is a highlight, added DeLozier. And the company recently introduced the Cloud Application Manager, which provides customers with an agnostic approach to managing their cloud services.

Edited by Alicia Young

Executive Editor, TMC

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