AT&T, the largest communications holding company in the world by revenue, engaged Executive Conversation to increase the number of qualified opportunities within its Alliance Program. To achieve this goal, AT&T sought to elevate specific skills of their Alliance Channel Managers. Specifically, AT&T wanted their managers better equipped to identify the strategies, financial forces and other factors that influence Channel executives and to understand how those forces influence Channel partner’s decisions; to prepare and deliver a value proposition to Channel executives demonstrating an understanding of the key business drivers that influence decision making; and to demonstrate how AT&T’s Indirect Channel compensation model produces compelling financial results for the business. Additional objectives of the initiative included developing a business approach to recruiting Channel business partners and increasing production and average revenue per agent.
A customized version of our Executive Advantage program was designed to heighten the ability of Alliance Channel Managers to create business alignment between AT&T Alliance Solutions and the Channel partner's business initiatives and financial metrics. To bolster the ability of managers to coach skills following the workshop, a strategic decision was made to have Directors and Group Managers attend the workshop with their teams.
The Executive-Led Curriculum was designed to encourage a high level of participation as the managers created Executive Briefing documents linking AT&T solutions to measurable business impact for the Channel partner from an executive's perspective. The Executive-Led sessions also afforded managers first-hand experience in meeting with Channel partner executives to validate business alignment and to gain their sponsorship for creating and completing an AT&T business case.
These executive interactions challenged participants to ask insightful and consultative questions and model relationships that reward Channel partner performance. Through structured role playing sequences with the Consulting Executive leading the session, managers and team members were equipped with processes to recognize best practices, strategies and tactics to gain advantage with existing agent relationships.
Participants overwhelmingly stated that the workshop benefited them and predicted that their learning experience will contribute to the future success of the Alliance Channel. Several months into executing the customer application plans created in the workshop, AT&T’s Alliance Channel Managers reported they were successfully applying the skills developed in the workshops on the job without any barriers to success. Improvements in quality and customer satisfaction were also measured. Consistent with defined learning objectives, nine out of ten managers said they had substantive discussions with their key team members after the workshop about how they would use what they learned to build stronger relationships with Channel partners.