How Verizon built a localised partner program in Australia

How Verizon built a localised partner program in Australia

Consultation and consideration leads to glowing initial reviews and partner uptake.

Robert Le Busque - Managing Director A/NZ, Verizon Enterprise Solutions

Robert Le Busque - Managing Director A/NZ, Verizon Enterprise Solutions

Following the launch of its Australian partner program in February, telecommunications giant Verizon has been actively seeking input from the channel.

Nine months later, the US-based vendor’s local strategy is beginning to take shape.

The company is now allowing partners the ability to offer customers an enterprise-grade network connection with direct connects into all the hyper-scale public cloud providers on a per-user, per-month basis with no lock in contract.

One of the first partners to sign up with Verizon was HubOne, with founder and CEO, Nick Beaugeard, previously telling ARN that the partner program was a "close second" to Microsoft, viewed as the "gold standard" across the channel.

Nick Beaugeard - CEO, HubOne
Nick Beaugeard - CEO, HubOne

But this quality of offering was not developed overnight, rather through months of consulting with the channel to ascertain a best practice for the local market.

Globally speaking however, Verizon’s partner program has been in existence for a number of years in the US and in Europe.

Verizon Enterprise Solutions A/NZ managing director, Robert Le Busque, said the company understood early on that imposing a program from another region would not work in Australia and New Zealand.

"At the beginning of this year, when we sought to take the opportunity to bring [the partner program] into the Asia-Pacific region, we really had to ask ourselves two key questions,” he told ARN.

"The first was can we take what we have done in the US and EMEA, or what parts of what we have done can we transfer. The second question was what do we need to do differently?

"A lot of the tools we were able to transplant directly, a lot of the program dynamics we were able to bring to the region directly.

“We needed to spend some time in dialogue with people such as Nick [Beaugeard] around the proposition itself.

"Since we started, we have invested a significant amount of time and energy in talking with partners and potential partners about the product offering and proposition."

Le Busque said that customers in the small to medium sized enterprise space are looking for enterprise grade services because the challenges that they are facing are similar to the bigger end of town.

"One of the key things was to look at was how we packaged those enterprise services so they would be appropriate for SME," he explained.

"The other issue was the service model and what it looked like for the partner and their customer."

Rapid Response Retainer

Le Busque said Verizon has also brought a "unique solution" to the region in the security market.

The company’s rapid Rapid Response Retainer (RRR) program leverages the channel for access to its customer base, before paying partners a commission relative to the services Verizon delivers direct to the customer.

Essentially, the customer signs a contract directly with the vendor and the partner gets a cut each month based on what Verizon charges the end-user.

This means partners with no cyber security capability whatsoever can offer clients enterprise grade security services with no more investment than building trust with the customer.

“What the customer really needs is access to expertise and capability when they need it,” Le Busque said.

“The RRR is designed to serve as access to capability and access to expertise when you have an incident and we give you the capability and significant security credentials, analytics and intelligence to help navigate through that challenge.

"Once we understood what the customer was looking for, taking what had traditionally been an enterprise grade service and determine how we could partner and deliver that to enterprise customers, that happened naturally and quite quickly."

Le Busque said the vendor was targeting both security focussed and non-security focussed partners for the RRR program.

Partner acquisition

Le Busque said that going forward, the vendor was not casting a wide net in its partner acquisition strategy but instead looking for a smaller group of “qualified partners”.

"One of the key lessons we learnt from our European rollout was that the requirement to invest significantly up front in forming that joint position with partners as we got them through the onboarding qualification and registration process,” he said.

“When we talk about qualified partners we talk about not only a partner that we bring on board and put through the training process, but also a partner who we work with to make sure the propositions and solutions that we offer are appropriate but most importantly scalable for their business.”

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Tags verizonHubOneNick BeaugeardRapid response retainerRobert Le Busque

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