Avaya has shrunk its partner base by 15 per cent over the past 12 months as part of plans to reduce cannibalisation across its channel.
Regional channel account manager of SMB, Gavin Milton-White, said it wanted to work with fewer, but more skilled partners that could maintain margins and service customers better.
"We are continuing to build a channel model, which is based around enablement. We have reduced the number of partners, but simultaneously we have been able to increase revenues by ensuring those that remain are able to sell more," he said.
Milton-White said its aim was to ensure partners had a long-lasting sales methodology. To achieve this, Avaya is offering training outside of its product portfolio covering sales techniques, understanding SMB buying criteria, and articulating the value proposition.
"It's very much about introducing a services model and maintenance programs, and wanting to be more consultative with customers rather than just box moving. That's what SMBs want," he said. "Our main intention is to have value partners, who have strong product and industry knowledge and geographic reach."
Avaya partners are also now required to meet minimum sales and technical staff training requirements, undertake ongoing training and reach annual revenue expectations.
"We have increased the height of the hurdle to become and stay a business partner, which has direct customer benefits as well because partners are able to better represent our product and serve customer requirements," Milton-White said.
Avaya has also diversified its channel to include data partners and system integrators. The vendor targets the sub-250 user market.
"It comes back to SMBs: one of their main drivers is they want a single person to come and help them with their technology needs whether it be voice or data," he said.