ShoreTel Debuts Choose Your Own Tier Channel Program

UC solution provider ShoreTel Inc.(NASDAQ: SHOR), which relies exclusively on an indirect channel sales model, unveiled its new tiered Champion Partner Program, which allows reseller partners to choose the right program level for them. The Champion Partner Program replaces all previous programs run by the provider.

The ShoreTel Champion Partner Program has three tiers, each aligned with differentiated requirements and benefits. The first tier, Authorized Partners, is made up of solution providers that deliver and install ShoreTel systems. The next tier, Certified Partners, are service providers that go beyond implementation to include on-site support and management of ShoreTel solutions. And the final tier, Certified Orange Partners, are top-tier service providers that offer and support ShoreTel solutions regionally, nationally and internationally, while maintaining a world-class customer satisfaction rating.

All partners initially will become Authorized and then qualify for the Certified or Certified Orange tiers accordingly.

Tom Hamilton, senior director of worldwide channel marketing for ShoreTel, said the process of rolling partners into the new model will begin in September and he expects it to take six months to a year to complete.

Hamilton said the tier structure not only allows partners to align their business models to how they want to engage with ShoreTel; but ShoreTel also benefits by gaining the means to “identify partners with higher levels of service commitment for referral business and ShoreTel outsourcing opportunities.” In fact, Hamilton said the need to recognize the partners with higher-level commitment was what prompted the channel program overhaul. However, Hamilton clarified that discount incentives for volume and customer satisfaction goals remain available to all partners, regardless of designation.

ShoreTel listed among differentiators for its Champion Partner Program high win rates, customer satisfaction and higher margins. ShoreTel also recently re-launched a new Market Development Funds Program offering a way for all partners to earn funds for use on an array of pre-approved cooperative marketing and demand-creation activities.

“ShoreTel continues to selectively grow its partner population – based primarily on market opportunity in a given geography and our current coverage in those areas,” said Hamilton, explaining that there are no caps on how many partners can qualify for each tier. “Ideally we’d love every partner to qualify for Orange.”

“The Champion Partner Program reinforces our commitment to our channel partners to enable them to receive benefits commensurate with their investment and loyalty to ShoreTel,” said Don Girskis, senior vice president worldwide sales at ShoreTel. “In turn, growing a stable of qualified partners allows us to manage our distribution strategy and focus partner recruitment in underserved markets, helping minimize channel conflict and protect incumbent partner investments.”

ShoreTel provides training from ShoreTel University, sales and demand generation tools, and a relationship management reporting tool, all available through the secure ShoreTel Partner Site.

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