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Versa Networks Launches Channel Partner Program After ‘Record’ 2020

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Global WAN

Versa Networks formalized a channel program to help partners attack the growing SD-WAN and SASE markets.

The San Jose, California-based vendor on Tuesday announced the new ACE Partner Program. “ACE” stands for “Accelerate, Captivate, Engage,” which Versa is trying to accomplish with the update.

The ACE program features a “ramp to revenue plan,” geared toward helping Versa partners build sales pipelines. Partners can also utilize the Versa Academy training platform. The Versa program requires partners to conduct training and certification for prescriptive sales, pre-sales and technical expertise. Partners can earn technical certifications for delivering Versa’s flagship Secure SD-WAN offering; its less expensive, cloud managed SD-WAN solution Titan; and Versa’s relatively new SASE offering. Partners will earn rewards for achieving competencies and can become “eligible for discount, sales and marketing benefits to open new revenue opportunities.”

The announcement came after a “record year” for the company. Versa last week shared numbers from a growth-filled 2020. It doubled its number of registered channel partners and increased its staff by 25 percent. Also, 150 service providers have now standardized their offering around Versa.

The ACE program targets VARs, SIs solution providers and MSPs. The announcement does not impact master agents and subagents, which will continue to engage as usual, according to John Atchison, head of global partner marketing.

Atchison joined Versa last August to help build the program. He recently spoke to Channel Partners about why he joined the company and how it is positioning itself in the market.

We have edited the transcript for length and clarity.

Atchison, John_Versa

Versa Networks’ John Atchison

Channel Partners: What does your new position entail?

John Atchison:  The biggest thing that attracted me to this position was leading a global function as the director of global channel marketing, being responsible for channel strategy, go-to-market and partner programs. Our partner ecosystem today is comprised of value-added resellers, system integrators, MSPs and, of course, our distributors. They were looking for somebody who was very hands-on, really understood the channels and has worked in the channel sector for a very long time. And that just happens to be me. That is one of my biggest passions: working with partners.

CP: Could you tell us about your previous experience in the channel?

JA:  I’ve been in the channel sector for over 25 years and have lived in the Bay Area for many years. I’m currently based in Southern California now, but I was actually in Silicon Valley for the longest time. So I’ve had the opportunity to work for some of the big players out there like Oracle, Juniper Networks and VMware. All of these positions were in leadership, having to do with the channels, whether it was in alliances, marketing, partner marketing or channel marketing.

Here’s our most recent list of important channel-program changes you should know.

Then one of the things that I wanted to do at one point in my career was to work more in the SMB space. So if you look at Oracle, Juniper and VMware — they are primarily enterprise, big players. So I did work for a smaller, U.K.-based company called Sage. Sage oftware is a very focused on the SMB. They compete with financial software companies like QuickBooks and Intuit. I got a taste of what it was to work for a smaller company with a different target audience, which is the smaller businesses. The way you market to an SMB is very different than how you would market to an enterprise customer. That kind of introduced me to working with [fewer] resources and having to wear multiple hats. And then I then decided, “You know what — I really want to go work for a startup.”

So prior to joining Versa, I worked for another startup where I was the head of global channel marketing as well. But then I also had alliances marketing as part of my responsibility. With this startup, my biggest responsibility was to …

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