Avaya Focusing on ‘Turbocharging’ the Channel

The success of Avaya partners moving forward will depend in large part on their ability to engage in an applications-enabled world, and Avaya’s channels VP says the company is focusing its efforts in helping partners make that transition.

“A big focus in fiscal year 2011 is growth and turbocharging the channel’s ability to grow in the marketplace,” said Carol Neslund, Avaya vice president of U.S. Channels. “We are bringing to market products and innovations that we believe take partners to a different place an applications-enabled world. One of the central themes of our presentations is where we are headed as a company and the technology to enable our partners to provide solutions, not products.”

Neslund said Avaya will make a big push in the coming year to help its partners make the transition in their sales strategy to reflect that solutions-selling approach, especially as the company continues to release technology that demands a different sales approach, such as the recently announced Avaya Flare.

“Some initial opportunities with these new technologies were brought to us by partners who were inspired by opportunities,” Neslund said. “There has been a lot of interest but one of the challenges for the partner community is moving into more of an application-based and solution-based sale for companies to collaborate more effectively in a real-time, spontaneous way. That’s a different sale than, ‘Buy this phone.'”

As a result, she noted, the partner adoption rate will be different. “Some won’t know how to sell to decision-makers,” she said. “Some are poised on the edge, and some can embrace the new sales approach immediately. We are going to put our focus first on enabling those who are able to make that transition and then very quickly get those partners who are on the verge into the credential training and we are rolling out a curriculum for that.”

The theme of growth at this year’s partner conference will be vastly different from last year’s theme, which was all about bringing Nortel’s products and partners into the Avaya fold.

“When you look at everything over last nine months [since the Nortel deal closed] it was about integration and laying the foundation. Now we’re using the platform as a springboard,” she said. “We still will evolve Avaya Connect and other platforms but our main focus is on driving growth.

“We’re now forward-thinking about where we want to head and how we can help our partners as they help their customers in the marketplace,” she said.

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