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Major and minor changes made to Avaya channel programs

InfrastructureAvaya

CANCUN, MEX. – More bonuses, more incentive dollars and more investment in channel marketing were just a few of the highlights from the sweeping changes made to Avaya’s channel programs announced at the Avaya Executive Partner Forum.

Barat Dickman, the senior director of global channel programs for Avaya, described most of the changes and enhancements as minor, but there were a couple major initiatives.

The first is in Avaya’s Deal Registration Program, where the maximum and minimum deal sizes for partner rewards were removed, as was a $250,000 reward cap at the top end. So now, solution providers who would have received zero margin payouts on deals of more than $2 million dollars will now get at least $250,000.

Also, the  New Customer Incentive program will include all channel partners, not just Platinum-tiered solution providers.

“Gold partners were tell us why don’t I get it? Don’t you want me to go after new customers? We felt that was the smart thing to do so we addressed it the new incentive program,” Dickman said.

Before the changes to the deal registration program, solution providers would receive 12 per cent margin off of list price if a deal was under that $2 million threshold. Deals over that were not eligible.

“We were trying to protect the very, very large deals, while also trying to avoid excessively large payouts on a single deal. We thought that with the good protection, the fact that they would hit other performance bonuses and get a special price was enough. But today, they would get $250,000 and if it was yesterday, they would have gotten nothing,” Dickman added.

Another new program is the SME Experts Program, which will reward solution providers on attach rates for video, networking, security, unified communications, apps and services. Dickman said that more attach categories will be added during 2014.

In the cloud market there will be new cloud designations for the Avaya Connect Program. They are:

  • Cloud Provider – suppliers of their own hosted public cloud services
  • Cloud Builder – designers and builders of private or hybrid clouds
  • Cloud Reseller – designers and sellers of multi-vendor cloud solutions via the Cloud Provider or Cloud Builder areas

Avaya also introduced a Master Specialization Program for channel partners who want to do deep dives into networking, unified communications, contact centres and the mid-market. Solution providers who wish to attain the Master Specialization recognition are required to meet certain services performance, sales experience, marketing resources, and demo capabilities.

The company also announced a Distributor Dormant Program, which aims are bring in partners who have not worked with Avaya in the past through distribution. This is currently a U.S. only program.

Avaya used to treat all the products the same way in terms of margin bonuses. There was no segmentation. As the company has shifted focus to a segmentation model, channel partners can now earn rebates on each product area, such as video and collaboration. Channel partners should note that Avaya inside reps will be setting the rate goals for earning rebates.

Channel business has gone up at Avaya. About five years ago Avaya channel business was under 50 per cent of revenues. Today it’s at 79 per cent overall, an increase of three per cent. Also in the last 24 months, channel partners have moved up the partner tiers. There are eight per cent more partners in Platinum, 40 per cent more in Gold and a seven per cent jump in Silver partners.

According to Dickman, these many changes may seem like a lot but last year the company produced major overhauls to the rate of pay, while these new changes are derived from channel partner feedback.

For example, version 2 of the GrowRight program is a combination of partner responses and Avaya’s desire to streamline the programs from five down to one.