Polycom Channel Chief Previews Partner Program Changes

**Editor’s Note: Click here for a list of recent channel-program changes you should know.**

By Perry Vandell

With the declining equipment sales we saw last year, conferencing companies are trying to prevent their lower-than-expected revenue from becoming a trend. For Polycom, one of the answers is making the act of doing business a little easier.

In a keynote speech Wednesday at Team Polycom 2015, Mark Arman, vice president of worldwide channel sales, outlined a revamped partner program with four key points: simplicity, transparency, accountability and business velocity. Arman hopes to standardize Polycom’s various discounts and incentives so partners in all reseller categories know what to expect, regardless of where they are located. Rewards will be based on merit rather than geography or partner category.

Polycom's Mark ArmanArman said it’s critical that Polycom follows through on its commitment to partners, building trust necessary trust for quality collaboration. Perhaps most importantly, he wants the new program to be fast, intuitive, and facilitate sales growth.

“Partners who invest more and are more successful through that investment and who embrace more of [Polycom’s] whole offering – hardware, software and services – will be the most profitable,” Arman told the audience. Partners who aren’t all-in and don’t take advantage of what the company has to offer won’t make as much money, he added.

These changes come at a time when video conferencing and telepresence equipment sales are in a slump. Last year, IDC reported that Polycom saw an 8.4 percent year-over year drop in sales, though competitors Cisco and Huawei didn’t fare much better. All three companies saw a drop in sales revenue, pointing to a problem that isn’t unique to Polycom, but with the teleconferencing industry as a whole.

An Infonetics report we noticed earlier this year suggests the lower revenue is partly due to increased popularity in less expensive video conferencing equipment and simpler approaches such as videophone adoption.

Polycom’s updated partner program is a major move for Arman, who took the reins from former global channel chief Mike Conlon last June. Conlon held this role for a mere 10 months before he left the company, making it Arman’s job to discover new avenues of sales growth. We’ll learn more specifics about the new Polycom partner program on April 1.

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