Channel must overcome skills challenge

Channel Post speaks with Ahmed Sousa, Regional Manager & Solutions Architect, MEA and Turkey, Polycom about the key features of their partner program and how Polycom is enabling its partners address market challenges.

How has your partner program evolved over the years and what are the key features of your partner program?

Over the years, the Polycom Partner Network has evolved to become a well-established ecosystem of partners that we engage with to meet our customers’ needs. These include solution advisors, direct market resellers, service providers, hosted voice service providers, distributors, system integrators, interoperability partners, developers, technology partners and strategic alliances.

Key features for channel partners that are part of the Polycom Partner network include access to training, certifications and market opportunities. Our partners can advance through the program levels with corresponding rewards for their performance and dedication.

How often do you revamp your partner program? If you recently revamped it, what changes did you make and why?

Polycom regularly makes the effort to improve the Polycom Partner Network to include improved incentives for solution providers that show the most commitment and profitability and embrace the entire Polycom portfolio. Our vision is to provide a single world-class industry benchmark program that provides the strongest incentives for our partners to invest and grow their business with Polycom.

One of our recent revamps was in our Microsoft Partner Program. For partners selling Microsoft solutions, there’s now an opportunity to increase their revenue potential and extend the value they can add to customers’ solutions by attaching Polycom endpoints to their sale. Microsoft integration has been a key driver for our business. The main reason for the revamped Microsoft Partner Program is that partners can now benefit from new revenue streams from the expanded solution portfolio of video and telephony solutions. They also have access to high growth unified communications (UC) sectors including video, cloud and collaboration.

How does your partner program help channel partners grow their business? What incentives are available for your partners under your partner program?

Partners who add Polycom to their portfolio can present significant benefits for their business including growth opportunities. One of the key benefits is the increased share of wallet with the ability to integrate with almost any communications applications through open standards approach. Partners will also benefit from increased customer loyalty and enhanced revenue opportunities through the selling of flexible delivery options (e.g. solutions delivered on-premises, hosted or via the cloud).

Being part of the Polycom Partner Network also provides numerous incentives. For example, for technology partners, this will include:

  • Roadmap presentations and quarterly product updates. This close collaboration helps ensure that Polycom’s Premier Technology partners can develop and maintain a strategy in alignment with the long-term development direction of the Polycom solution suite
  • Significant discounts for products purchased by Polycom Technology Partners
  • Eligibility to leverage Polycom certified testing labs and engage in a three-day assisted test, which includes a consultative meeting
  • Development support in assisting with the development lifecycle and to expedite delivery of solutions to market.

What kind of marketing and technical support is extended to your partners?

For our partners, we provide access to the secure PartnerConnect website that is our primary sales and marketing resource to help keep them connected, build capabilities and enable them to be more competitive. Polycom invests in developing a variety of resources to help make our partners’ sales teams successful, by providing marketing and communications, sales and support resources, sales tools, training resources and more. In addition, partners are rewarded with more benefits as their commitment to Polycom increases, and recognized for performance and revenue growth.

What are the challenges that channel partners face today?

One of the key challenges today is ensuring that channel partners and resellers are equipped with the appropriate skills and knowledge in order to offer the right solutions for the customers they are serving. Overall, resellers and system integrators need to bear in mind that the processes they are working with are usually mission critical and the deployment needs to reflect this. To address this challenge, Polycom works closely with and offers a lot of support to system integrators and resellers. The Polycom Choice Partner Program provides a simple framework that gives knowledge, support and tools to help integrators deploy UC solutions.