**Editor’s Note: Click here for a list of recent channel-program changes you should know.**
By Edward Gately
Polycom, the conferencing and collaboration behemoth, today unveiled its new global partner program to support, recognize and reward its top-performing channel partners – and to help them make more money.
The new program is designed to help partners build their business with Polycom and advance through four program levels: authorized, silver, gold and platinum. According to the company, partners that invest in advanced technical training and skilled specialists, and align their business development efforts, will benefit most.
Mark Arman, Polycom’s vice president of worldwide channel sales, tells Channel Partners his company is “focused on partnering with experienced and motivated organizations that share our vision.” The company has 7,000 partners.
“We looked at trends in the market, customer needs, engaged industry experts and determined it was time to evolve our program to support profitable growth and overall customer satisfaction,” he said. “Our new program more directly links the investments our partners make in selling and servicing Polygram solutions to the recognition and rewards they deserve.”
The new program rewards partners that develop closely related technologies and offer advanced services through Polycom’s service and technology specializations. The company also is introducing new minimum volume thresholds and investment requirements across all program levels to provide investment protection for top-performing partners.
“Joint business planning is now required for gold and platinum partners, along with new program benchmarks, such as in-house certified pre-sales or technical experts across all program levels,” Arman said. “This supports tighter alignment in the field.”
The new program goes into effect today across North America and will be rolled out around the world …
… through this year and early 2016.
Polycom has shown recent financial improvement, with total revenue increasing to $349 million in fourth-quarter 2014, compared to $348 million in fourth-quarter 2013; however, for fiscal year 2014, total revenue was $1.35 billion, compared to $1.37 billion in the previous fiscal year.
“We are confident that our partners will progress, grow and develop to meet the needs of the marketplace,” Arman said. “We have developed a structure that allows them to do so at a pace in line with our overall goals.”
Polycom previewed the new program in front of more than 600 partners and industry analysts at TEAM Polycom 2015, its annual partner conference.
“I believe Polycom is committed to making strong improvements in how it works with and supports its channel partners,” said Ira Weinstein, senior analyst and partner with Wainhouse Research, a research firm that focuses on the UC and collaboration market.
As a whole, the conferencing and collaboration market has struggled over the past couple of years as customers buy systems that are less expensive. That being said, enterprise video conferencing and telepresence equipment revenue was up 11 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, when compared to the previous quarter.