When we rolled out our CenturyLink Ascend Medals Program in February as part of our new Alliances structure, our intention was to reward our best and highest-performing CenturyLink partners and give them the red carpet treatment they deserve. We expected new tiered incentives to reenergize our channel partners, who had always been treated the same no matter how they performed with CenturyLink.
But what was unexpected was the role competition played in adding extra motivation to fuel our channel partners’ drive. In the first several months since that rollout, I’ve seen an exciting competitive spirit ignite our CenturyLink Channel Alliance, as channel partners hustle to beat their peers to the next tier of our incentive program and claim the rewards and new elevated Medal title.
Partners are always asking me where other partners rank compared to them. (I, of course, try to remain diplomatic in responding). But that competitiveness, that energy – it’s awesome. It’s driving new levels of achievement and inspiring creative thinking around how to work with our offerings. Our best-performing partners deserve recognition for their hard work. Plain and simple.
The proof of the Ascend Medals program’s success – and the role competition plays – is real. It’s the spark many partners needed. Since we launched the new Medals program, one of our top partners increased monthly sales by 50 percent over the last four months…every month! Another partner achieved never-before-reached retention rates. And we’ve seen a huge number of our partners, for the first time, begin to champion more diversified offerings, like our new Cloud Application Manager (CAM), to open doors to new revenues.
What’s more, we’ve seen a large increase in partners interested in joining the CenturyLink Channel Alliance, and we’ve seen a significant uptick in year-over-year results. Winning the Circle of Excellence and Channel Partner Program Innovation Choice awards at the recent Channel Partners Conference is more early validation of our approach.
But this is just the beginning. When channel partners compete, and when healthy incentives are in place to fuel that competitive drive, everybody wins.