Verizon Enterprise Overhauls Channel Program

By Kelly Teal Comments
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Agent Agreements. Verizon says it is simplifying its relationship with indirect partners -- systems integrators, VARs, agents and solutions providers -- by consolidating its business channel programs into one Verizon Partner Program. That means existing partners are signing new agreements; Schijns said all partners had been notified and would be under the updated contracts by the end of the first quarter.

Partnering Models. Expect to work with Verizon in one of three different ways but with the flexibility to change that model depending on deal type. In other words, partners get to decide on a case-by-case basis how they want to partner with Verizon. So, for example, if you're an agent well-versed in selling voice but just getting started in cloud, team with Verizon as a "sell with" partner on the cloud portion. Here are the three different partner business models:

  • Agent: allows partners to sell “on behalf of Verizon;"
  • Resale: gives partners the flexibility to package and market and resell services; and,
  • Sell With: lets partners jointly market platforms to prospective customers across vertical industries.  

Partners then fit into one of four tiers: Member, Silver, Gold or Platinum. The higher tiers contain higher revenue requirements but offer more benefits, such as higher discount or higher commissions.

Money. Verizon caused a stir among its partners when, three years ago, it cut commissions and limited payment to one year. That's no longer the case. Partners now earn residual commissions for the life of the deal, as well as commission on renewals. Cloud, mobility and M2M services also all are subject to residual commissions. They do have different structures than wireline "but it all models a long-term relationship and contract benefit," Schijns said. 

Rules of Engagement. Verizon is enforcing "clearly articulated" lead referral, Schijns said. Once Verizon approves a deal, it belongs to the partner, she said. "The direct sales team's not coming in over the top of them."

Support. Verizon has put in place field channel managers and phone-accessible channel managers, as well as marketing development funds, and engineering and technical personnel.

Certification. Increased dedication on Verizon's part comes with the expectation that partners show similar commitment. To that end, the provider has spent 18 months crafting an in-depth certification program. Read the full details on the Channel Partners site.

Salesforce.com. Verizon has teamed with Salesforce.com for its partner relationship management platform, and is paying the license fees for its partners. That is "something that very few companies have actually done," Schijns said. Using Salesforce.com will let partners register deals, track compensation, take part in training, find lead referrals and more. "This is a fundamental change and frankly, a lot of our competitors have never made the investment," Schijns said. "It is a multiple millions of dollars investment," which helps prove Verizon's dedication to the indirect channel, she added.

So far, Verizon has announced TBI, Tech Data, CDW, SOVA and General Datatech as its premier partners in the new program. Visit the Verizon Enterprise booth this week to hear more from the company's channel executives and managers.

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