Despite hailing from the smallest state in the U.S., Carousel Industries and Atrion Networking are grabbing big wins in the telecom space following Carousel's acquisition of Atrion in 2016.
The two Rhode Island-based solution providers each had their own carrier services divisions but have taken the best of both practices to create a unified telecom powerhouse with a nationwide reach.
In an interview with CRN, Carousel’s Tim Kennedy, vice president of carrier services, and Darryl Senese, director of carrier services business, said the combination of the two telecom practices has led to explosive growth. At the same time, Carousel is helping its hardware VAR partners get into carrier services and evolve their business to include recurring revenue.
Promoting carrier services must start at the top. Atrion's leadership always supported and promoted the telecom division, and Carousel has "doubled down" on telecom following the acquisition of Atrion, Kennedy said.
"By being able to provide that broader, holistic solution, we're acting more as the customer's champion and trusted partner because we're not just looking at their hardware, we are looking at things like cloud and video but the connectivity these solutions need, too," he said.
To create a carrier services division that included the best of what both companies were offering, Carousel and Atrion had to build one unified sales team. Carousel's telecom business today includes 13 carrier solution architects that work directly with end customers. One former Atrion-now-Carousel employee, Adam Sugarman, is serving as a solution area manager of telecom services for the company. Sugarman is working with Carousel's 144 solution architects that are selling the company’s traditional VAR products and services to help them promote carrier services within those opportunities.
"[Sugarman] is helping to educate [solution architects] and is connecting a lot of dots within the organization to promote carrier services," Senese said. "It's a very unique role that was successful for Atrion and will hopefully be for Carousel as well."
Carousel's acquisition of Atrion has allowed the solution provider to reach out to partners in a way it never has via the new Carousel National Agent Partner Program. Since Kennedy joined Carousel in 2013 to kick-start the telecom practice, Carousel had been focused on serving its own end customers. The new program, which was unveiled last week, builds on Atrion's legacy partner program that Carousel was a part of until the acquisition.
"We always knew a partner program would be an opportunity, but we never took that step," Kennedy said. "Now was the time. It was really with the merger that we were able to take what [Senese] built on a smaller scale."
Carousel has dedicated two solution architects to its new channel program. The program gives solution providers that don't have a carrier practice and telecom agent partners access to Carousel's back office, project management team, and marketing and educational resources across its 27 nationwide offices.