Extreme Channel Chief: Partner Communication Critical During Acquisitions


EXTREME NETWORKS GLOBAL PARTNER SUMMIT — Starting Jan. 1, Extreme Networks partners, including those formerly with Zebra Technologies, Avaya and Brocade, will begin a new journey as part of its new unified partner program.

Gordon Mackintosh, Extreme’s senior director of worldwide partner program and sales business development, played a key role in building the program. It includes a new invitation-only Black Diamond partner status level, which allows partners to set customized growth goals and incentives to further personalize the experience. It requires a $1 million commitment from partners.

Extreme Networks' Gordon Mackintosh

Extreme Networks’ Gordon Mackintosh

Also, an updated Ultimate Warrior Program provides incentives for partners looking to sell technologies across the portfolio and rewards top achievers with Black Diamond status.

Extreme has set lofty goals for 2018, such as $1.1 billion in year-over-year revenue growth. More than 80 percent of Extreme’s business is going through channels, and “we anticipate at least that if not more” next year, said Bob Gault, chief revenue and services officer.

During Extreme’s Global Partner Summit this week in Orlando, Florida, Mackintosh sat down with Channel Partners to talk channel strategy, and share the ins and outs of creating the new partner program.

Channel Partners: How do you go about building a single partner strategy and program incorporating all these different pieces, including Zebra, Avaya and then Brocade?

Gordon Mackintosh: We were really fortunate with the people we were engaged with within Avaya, Brocade and Zebra both pre-acquisition and post-acquisition. They really helped us, and gave us a lot of information and detail. And what it allowed us to do was really create side-by-side comparisons of the different programs and look at different approaches, and find the secret ingredients for the most successful partner program. And then we took those and tested them on partners. We spent an enormous amount of time testing them with partners all around the world, getting their input and feedback, as well as from our own internal team.

CP: Have there been challenges to all of this integration? Any lessons learned?

GM: I would say that communication when you’re acquiring assets is critically important. We did a really good job recently with landing pages for the acquisition, help lines and support, and it’s strictly important to the partners because they have to pass that message on to their customers who are wondering …

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