Unified communications specialist ShoreTel has made an aggressive push into the SMB market with an overhaul of its global partner program.
The reorganisation of its Champion Partner Progam will include a simplified discount structure, a new opportunity registration program, an enhanced market development funds program and modified support buy pricing.
Most of the changes come into effect on January 1, 2014.
ShoreTel managing director, Jamie Romanin, told ARN the company’s strategy in early 2014 was to go after the “sub-100 market”.
“Part of the change is lowering the barrier to entry for small partners in the market,” he said. “Those partners can sign on as an authorised partners. It’s more cost effective and it opens up the opportunity for sales in the sub 100 space via the support of our distribution partner Express Data.”
He said it was designed to reduce channel conflict, making it more lucrative for partners while improving the marketing development fund spend.
“The channel have welcomed the fact that they will be rewarded with an additional eight per cent margin, which rewards them for working with ShoreTel early in the piece,” he said.
“The changes were carefully considered – we conducted more than 50 partner interviews and worked with consultants – to ensure the program is simple and objective so all partners can prosper.”
The program has been reorganised to streamline discounting and allow all partners to earn higher programmatic discounts.
Its changes include simplifying the discount structure by establishing tier-based discounts, modifications to annual level billing requirements by tier and partner type, and making the discounts by tier the same regardless of geography or partner type.
To reward partners who generate their own opportunities and provide early visibility to ShoreTel, the company has established a set of defined and auditable submission and approval processes for opportunity registration.
To build better channel conflict management into the program, it has created objective criteria and rules that align to existing sales stages.
ShoreTel’s support pricing has also been simplified and is moving from a “buy price” to a discount structure in alignment with all other ShoreTel pricing.
In anticipation of this change, a range of partner-specific training and knowledge offerings will be delivered with a focus on increasing overall customer satisfaction.
CTI director Peter McCrindle said he welcomed the changes.
“The changes will provide the increased support we need to reach our goal of doubling our ShoreTel revenue in 2014," he said.
“By enhancing elements of the existing program, ShoreTel has improved its partner-focused model that centres around building our internal capability and sales pipeline as we bring new deals to the table.”