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Verizon Partner Program Continues to Evolve

Just as partners digest the effects of the 2006 Verizon/MCI merger on the companys partner program, Verizon is rolling out a new segmentation of the program that will split partner business into two arenas. Announced in a Web conference with partners Wednesday, the program bifurcation officially will begin Jan. 1.

Customers billing $250,000 per year, with 500 employees or more and the partners associated with those customers will be assigned as enterprise into what will be dubbed as the Verizon Business Indirect Channel Alliance. Partners representing customers billing less than $250,000 per year with less than 500 employees will be in the Verizon Telecom partner program.

“By aligning our indirect channels more directly with the Verizon teams that serve each one of these indirect markets, we actually think that we’re going to be able to better support the partner community, but also do a better job at serving our clients and really drive in greater affinity with our clients,” said Maggie Hallbach, regional vice president of indirect and inside sales solutions for Verizon Business.

Partners who currently are part of the program can choose to participate in either segment of the program or both, depending on the customers they serve it is not an exclusive situation.

The Verizon Business Indirect Channel Alliance will offer partners a few extras. Hallbach said there will be enhanced training for partners in the alliance that will focus on solution selling. Partners also will have access to sales force automation tools, including real-time pricing and quoting tools and contracting and ordering tools. “These have been some of the things that [partners] have been somewhat distanced from through kind of what I would call manual intervention; and we’re going to really be bringing them in much closer to many of the tools our direct team leverages today,” said Hallbach. “We also are going to be providing a nice support surround for the technical resources necessary for these complex sales engagements [such as IP transformations]. The sales engagements usually tend to be longer for these complex solutions and also need to have additional levels of resource as the complexities increase. Additionally, Hallbach mentioned there would be some changes in the financial rewards for Alliance participants.

What we think well see is that the programs will be tailored to greater success for each of those segments because they are very different segments in terms of what the customers are purchasing and the types of products and services that the various partners can then opt to deliver in the marketplace, said Verizon Business spokesperson Debbie Lewis

Verizon is currently designing and structuring new contracts for the new year so there will be some different qualifications to anticipate, Lewis said. Certainly, this also opens up the door for new partners who may not have previously been part of the program to give us another look.

Upon the announcement of the creation of the Verizon Business Indirect Channel Alliance, Verizon Telecom spokesman Jim Smith said the Verizon Telecom, or small business side of the program, would “stay the course that was established during the reconstruction last year.”

Right now, were all focused on the continued success of this years program, which does continue through the remainder of 2007, said Lewis. And as we develop the new program, and communicate [more] details of those programs in the coming months, we hope to set the stage for a strong kickoff and even greater success next year.

Verizon www.verizon.com
Verizon Business www.verizonbusiness.com


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