Zane Long, Former Cbeyond Channel Chief, Resurfaces

**Editor’s Note: Click here to see which channel people were on the move in June and July.**

Zane Long is back in the indirect channel after leaving Cbeyond Inc. in the wake of the $323 million purchase by Birch Communications.

Zane LongOn Sept. 2, Long resurfaced as head of the Vonage Business Solutions partner program. He departed Cbeyond “on very good terms” in July when new owner Birch chose Brad Smith to stay on as channel chief of the combined company.

Now, at Vonage, Long is responsible for attracting master agents and, soon, MSPs, VARs, ISVs, and Microsoft Gold and Cisco-certified partners. Vonage Business Solutions has been active in the indirect market for some time, but as Vocalocity. Vonage bought Vocalocity, a hosted VoIP provider for SMBs, for $130 million last year, and rebranded it as Vonage Business Solutions.

This year, Vonage Business Solutions is amping up its profile among partners – to wit, it hired Long, a well-known channel veteran, to serve as vice president of indirect channel and exhibited for the first time ever at Cloud Partners in New Orleans.  

Long, whose channel heritage includes roles at Cbeyond, GENBAND, Airband and Level 3 Communications, said Vonage hired him for his expertise in building successful indirect programs.

“Vonage Business Solutions’ head of sales, Kyle Johnson, recognized that focusing more heavily on the indirect channels could impact revenue growth, and realized that in order to scale out and build the appropriate programs he needed to expand his leadership team,” Long told Channel Partners. “My background and level of experience in the space is what I think sets me apart and why, ultimately, I was hired.”

To help differentiate Vonage Business Solutions from other hosted VoIP providers, Long said the company offers the following benefits to partners:

  • Onboarding and customer support;
  • Marketing and advertising assistance;
  • Training via monthly webinars;
  • Residuals for the life of the customer, for partners in good standing, SPIFFs and annual bonuses for attaining a minimum revenue goal (“We are not focused on quotas for our partners, but on the quality of work they do for our company. Partners will sell for us because they believe we are the best at what we do,” Long said); and
  • Local and regional channel managers.

“Our goal is to build a world-class channel program that will be recognized as such by our peers and partners,” Long said.

Part of that will include launching new services partners can sell, but Lane did not go into detail about what this might be over the coming year. He did, however, point out that Vonage Business Solutions recently rolled out new versions of its desktop and mobile platforms.

“Our goal is to provide solutions that enable all types of businesses to communicate however, whenever and wherever they choose, and you can expect to see new tools and features that enable our customers to do just that,” Long said.

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