**Editor’s Note: Click here for a list of recent channel-program changes you should know.**
By Edward Gately
Zebra Technologies Corp. is unveiling a new channel partner program that combines its PartnersFirst and PartnerEmpower programs in the aftermath of its acquisition of Motorola Solutions’ Enterprise business.
Starting in January 2016, the new program will aim to identify, promote and serve channel partners, and make it easier for them to conduct business with Zebra and be rewarded for providing value to customers.
The new program will provide a more inclusive channel “ecosystem” that addresses the needs of distributors, independent software vendors, resellers and system integrators.
Denise Hampton, Zebra’s director of North America Channel Strategy, tells Channel Partners the new program resulted from a “need to integrate the partner programs across the unified business.” Zebra acquired Motorola Solutions for $3.45 billion in cash.
“The program that we’re creating first and foremost has really been developed with the input of our partners,” she said. “We went on a worldwide listening tour after the close of the acquisition that started in mid-November and lasted to mid-December of last year.”
Partners provided input on profitability and ease of doing business with Zebra, Hampton said. The company is “really taking to heart what they indicated was working well and are adjusting for opportunities for improvement as well,” she said.
The program is aimed at fostering opportunity and flexibility, in addition to helping partners that need to transform in order to stay on top of market trends, she said.
Zebra will provide training, education and incentives for partners to deepen their skills, enhance their ability to deliver innovation and serve as advisors to mutual customers. It also will simplify pricing to drive competitive advantage and profitable opportunities, and offer a consistent global framework with regional flexibility to address local market differences.
There are “healthy numbers” in both current partner programs, and all will be provided an opportunity to participate and have access to incentives in the new program, Hampton said.
From a partner-program perspective, the integration of Zebra and Motorola Solutions is “on track,” and Zebra has “positive momentum overall, especially from sales and marketing, with lots of positive feedback from our customers.”