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Co-opetition – Your New Specialist

team-FieldsMicroCorp CEO/COO, Karin Fields, on Industry Evolution and our Team Alliance Program.

About two years ago one of our top partners, Tom, called me needing some advice.  As many in our industry, Tom started as a Direct Rep for a carrier.  After the umpteenth lay-off he decided to take a package and start his own agency.  He was very lucky and had great relationships with some large customers that he could lean on to help get his fledgling business going.   Within a few years he was making better money than he ever expected, was valued by his long list of customers and loved what he was doing.

Being the “outsource telecom expert” for his customer was a role Tom took very seriously.  He was constantly learning about new products and services, attended trainings and voraciously read books and articles to keep up his knowledge.  But in the last few years Tom started realizing that his customers were asking him more questions about things he didn’t have a lot of knowledge.  They would ask him about back up and storage or data centers.  He knew a little about those products but they needed solutions.  Even with all the reading and classes he took, Tom couldn’t keep up.  They need more of a specialist.  Something he was not.  And that is what led him to call me.  How could he continue to be the “valued” resource to his clients?

Well two years ago my answer was a lot different than if he asked me today.  Today I give advice about becoming a specialist – either vertically within a specific industry or horizontally by product line. That specialty can serve a partner’s customers, give them status as a thought leader and make them sought after as a specialist by a competitor. Who could have predicted that the competition would one day become the strategy for customer retention.

I am pleased to say that today my solution for Tom is MicroCorp’s Team Alliance Program – or TAP.   We will pair Tom with other MicroCorp partners who are specialists in any area his customers have need.  And for Tom’s specialty – we’ll market his expertise like crazy so he can be brought in as a specialist to someone else’s lead. Moreover, MicroCorp oversees the rules of engagement so customer relationships are protected and all parties are paid.

As we say at MicroCorp, #BetterWhenTogether.

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