From Volume to Value: Three Things to Know About Avaya’s Channel Changes

Avaya’s partner program, Avaya Connect, is transforming with the company. Instead of running a channel focused on volume, the new partner program, set to launch in fiscal year 2015, will bring value to the forefront.

“By replacing today’s significant revenue requirements with expertise and customer satisfaction requirements, we’re creating a program fit for Avaya’s future,” explained Richard Steranka, vice president, Avaya Global Partner Organization. “When we put customers and quality top of mind, we ready ourselves and our partners for growth. When partners bring their expertise to the table, customers and Avaya benefit – as we like to say, ‘proven expertise, powerful results.’”

Read on to find out why this is a win-win-win for Avaya, customers and, of course, partners.

Overall, these program changes will:

  1. Encourage Avaya to grow in new markets.
    The enhanced partner program will strengthen Avaya’s relationships with its channel partners and increase partner loyalty. Solution expertise selling can target underexplored markets and encourage faster new product adoption. Quite simply, this program means a better bottom line and increased opportunities for the company.
  2. Improve customer experiences.
    For a partner to move up in the ranks, customers must vouch that the partner has demonstrated a high level of competency in its Solution Expert designation. Customer satisfaction has been completely removed from some competitors’ channel programs (cough, Cisco, cough), setting up Avaya to be best-in-class. More so, specializations empower customers to connect with partners whose expertise fits their needs.
  3. Give partners a fast track to success. In the past, it hasn’t been easy for partners focusing on the midmarket or stand-alone selling to break into higher status levels, which bring better buy discounts. The upcoming channel changes will put specialization paramount and lessen those barriers to entry.

The key is the introduction of the following new Solution Experts designations: two enterprise (enterprise UC and enterprise contact center), two midmarket (midmarket UC and midmarket contact center) and two (networking and video) stand-alone designations, which will enable partners to rise in the ranks because of their skillset, instead of revenue alone.

To achieve a Solution Expert designation, partners need to acquire credentials in sales and design, maintain a high customer satisfaction score and attain revenue thresholds, though much lower than in the past. Silver, Gold and Platinum level statuses will be determined based on the number of Solution Expert designations achieved by each partner company. These changes support differentiation and reflect Avaya’s push into underexplored segments, like the midmarket.