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ShoreTel revamps Champion Partner Program, looks to add partners at lower tier

ShoreTel revamps Champion Partner Program, looks to add partners at lower tier

The company is looking to add sales-only partners to target sub-100 users market, while enhancing MDF provisions and formalising the opportunity registration process.

Unified communications provider ShoreTel is re-organising its channel program to enable its partners to become more successful.

The new Champion Partner Program includes a simplified discount structure, a new opportunity registration program and an enhanced market development funds (MDF) program among others.

"We wanted to simplify the program. There has been no major rehaul for close to three years now. We wanted to improve the benefits associated with the program and achieve consistency across all partner tiers and types. We have also put in place a formal opportunity registration program, which was earlier a case-by-case initiative.

We just didn't develop this program. We went out to a cross-section of partners worldwide and engaged channel consultants as well," Jamie Romanin, MD of A/NZ for ShoreTel tells Reseller News NZ .

The opportunity registration process works in two steps . The first involves registering a lead through the partner portal for which the partner receives a 2 per cent rebate per quarter. The second part involves the opportunity itself and, Romanin assures, only partners who have shown true engagement with the customer are likely to win the opportunity.

Once the central price desk approves a deal, the partner will have access to an additional 8 per cent margin on top of the standard tier-discount.

"We have also introduced an enhanced MDF program, where we have removed the minimum revenue threshold for some tiers. Now they can start earning MDF from the first dollar they bring in. This also means that we have taken the MDF program from the distributors back in-house. This will now be managed by ShoreTel," says Romanin.

ShoreTel is making minor changes to the certification requirements, including the addition of a solution architect certification, a new accreditation program and additional self-study course options.

"At the lower-end, we have introduced a sales-only partner option as part of our authorised tier. They will be engaged in selling to the sub 50 to 100 users in the market, and we have relaxed training and certification at that level to lower the barriers to entry in that market," says Romanin. Romanin agrees that this initiative has been taken to increase the number of active partners on the ground.

"We want more people on the street, talking to customers about the fantastic technology that we have. This is more so in Australia, where we are working with Express Data to have more of these sales-only partners. These partners can leverage the distributor's implementation capabilities to deliver and maintain services," says Romanin.

According to him, the company aims at adding 30 more channel partners in this programme by the end of the fiscal year in June 2014. If all goes to plan, the programme will be expanded to cover New Zealand in the next fiscal. The company currently has around 70 partners across A/NZ in various tiers, and around 90 per cent of them are concentrated in Australia.

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