Verizon Enterprise: 'We're Going to Over-Invest in the Channel'

By Kelly Teal Comments
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**Editor's Note: Click here for a list of recent channel-program changes you should know.**

Verizon Enterprise Solutions expects to spend more than $5 million on its partner program in the coming year, outside of compensation, with special attention paid to improving operations processes, and helping partners build their businesses through MDFs and other initiatives.

"We're going to over-invest in the channel here in Q4 and all of next year."

That word comes from Janet Schijns, vice president of channel and medium business for the company, in the same week Verizon held its inaugural Partner Advisory Council.

Verizon created the group to promote discussion aimed at translating into more revenue. The key takeaways from this week's meeting in Massachusetts included how Verizon can help partners hire, train and retain next-generation talent, and how the company also can simplify ordering, provisioning and other operations processes for both partners and customers.

Verizon already had that latter point in mind. Some time in the first quarter of 2014, the provider will launch its Rapid Delivery system, which will tie into its Salesforce.com deployment. Rapid Delivery will eliminate the need for disparate CRM platforms, spreadsheets and the like, making life easier for master agents and VARs, and their end users, Schijns said.

"This was a large investment," said Schijns. And, she added, Rapid Delivery was built "with the channel, for the channel."

Meanwhile, Verizon also will spend some of that $5 million-plus on new partner MDFs with marketing and lead-generation campaigns. And the most productive partners will receive higher payment for customer acquisition and retention.

All of that momentum stems from Verizon's partner program overhaul, which took place earlier this year. As one result of that revamp, more than 80 percent of registered deals are being approved, said Schijns, even in the enterprise.

"We're shifting thousands of accounts back to the channel," she said. "At a time when many of our competitors are decreasing their support to partners...we're increasing support."

Another result is the growing sense of channel community.

"The sound of the conversations has changed. The conversation has now become ... 'Let's start to coordinate together'," Schijns said.

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