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Mitel channel program eventually coming to Canada

New Exclusive BusinessPartner program to combine the portfolios of Mitel and Inter-Tel

Mitel Networks will introduce its Exclusive BusinessPartner (EBP) channel program in Canada on May 1st.

The program, which was created following the merger with Inter-Tel last year, has been made available to U.S. partners.

While the EBP program is currently only being offered in the U.S., according to Jeff Nolan, vice-president of sales at Mitel Canada, if all goes as planned, the same program is set to launch in Canada on May 1.

Although its headquarters are in Ottawa, Carter Chapman, director of channel sales at Mitel, said the EBP program was initially launched in the U.S. because it was first developed by Inter-Tel four years ago and there were 22 partners already enrolled in the program.

“We released it separately in the U.S. because we felt we had the opportunity to sign on a lot of dealers here quick, so we went with it,” Chapman said. “From October all the way up until now, we now have 110 exclusive business partners in the program.”

The EBP program, Chapman explains, was first introduced to the channel last October in an effort to help meet the needs of both Inter-Tel and Mitel partners once the merger was complete.

The EBP program is a way in which other than having to go to Mitel’s other channel program, partners can receive additional comprehensive support, training opportunities and additional discounts needed to help them succeed in the unified communications solutions space.

In order to be considered a Mitel Exclusive BusinessPartner, Chapman says partners have to agree to sell 100 per cent Mitel products to all of their new customers. For those partners who may have already had existing accounts before they became a Mitel EBP, Chapman said they can still sell those products to those existing customers; however, any new business done with new customers has to be exclusively sold through Mitel.

“By being in this program, partners are able to focus their efforts on just one product line, which makes everything easier for them,” Chapman said. “At Mitel, we try to stay involved as long as the business partner wants us to. I don’t know of any other manufacturer that can offer that same type of support.”

With the program already available in the U.S., Nolan says Mitel Canada is still working out the details in advance of the program’s planned launch date this May.

“We’re looking for regional partners that we can grow with in Canada,” Nolan said. “We currently have 45 channel partners in Canada and I expect that out of those 45, 10 will become part of our EBP program once it’s launched. A lot of our partners are already showing interest in the program and want to get additional information,” he added.

To be eligible for enrollment into the EBP program, both Chapman and Nolan said at the moment, only dealers who are purchasing $250,000 or above of wholesale products on an annual basis can join.

Nolan said in Canada, some vertical markets that Mitel has been doing extremely well in so far include the higher education and healthcare sectors. It is through these specific markets and program that Nolan is hoping to expand Mitel partner base in Canada.

“With the specific verticals, I don’t want to create any conflict amongst partners,” Nolan said. “I don’t want people bidding on the same business. But by having specific specialties, partners can focus on specific verticals. We’re going to continue to expand our reach in Canada, but we’re going to make sure we do this intelligently,” he added.