… doing that same kind of go-to-market strategy.
Our channel partners contributed 35 percent of our overall bookings for [the fourth quarter]; this is up 20 percent over last year, and a 30 percent increase over [the third quarter] of 2017. I’ve been doing this since 2000 and I’ve not seen this kind of growth before … so obviously it’s exciting to see that bringing together what we’re doing with the product, what our competitors are not doing … giving us an advantage in the marketplace.
CP: Last year brought numerous new opportunities for RingCentral’s partners. What’s in store this year?
ZL: It’s been a really terrific [run] that we’ve been on. And one of the things that we focused on when I launched the partner program two years ago was entering into the enterprise space, and we all know that’s a difficult space to enter into. It’s a longer buying decision; they have a lot of legacy equipment and hardware, and so for enterprise-type customers to make the move away from premises-based into UCaaS has really been one of the key components that we have worked on with our partners. In [the fourth quarter], we had 15 deals that had $1 million or more in total contract value, and 12 of those 15 customers came by way of our partners. It shouldn’t be surprising as customers look to their partners as trusted advisers, and when they do that, that opportunity comes to RingCentral in what we call a qualified lead.
Where does this take us into 2018? It takes us further into the enterprise space as we continue to work with our partners in isolating and looking at some of the largest customers globally. We’re working with our partners to find [more] of those opportunities, and that certainly is a way for our partners to be able to execute on getting their customers into UCaaS while utilizing the RingCentral go-to-market strategy.
CP: Any new goals in terms of expanding into new territories, verticals, etc.?
ZL: We’ve made a concerted effort to go after legacy, premises-based hardware-type partners. So these could be partners that would be selling for the Ciscos or Avayas of the world, and they have been doing that for a very long time, and now times are changing and those particular types of partners are looking to make a transition away from premises-based hardware and into the cloud. So we have been on a recruiting effort for those types of partners. So something that happened that was planned from a strategic point of view — RingCentral took the partner program to our master agents first … so 2017 was the year of the master agent.
We’re going to call 2018 the year of the national partner. A national partner is an entity that does not have or utilize the subagent community; they have their own employees [and] their own direct sales reps. So that differentiation between those two is very critical because they go to market in a very different way, and also these national partners that I speak of are the kinds of partners that have legacy relationships in that premises-based world. Today I can’t announce any of those particular partners that are part of our program; some of those will be coming out in future releases.
CP: So you’re moving forward with a new type of partner to help lead this effort?
ZL: Absolutely. This is the next stage. In fact, I think the timing is perfect. It was a strategic plan to begin really in earnest to go after these national partners, these types of partners that are legacy Cisco resellers and Avaya resellers, ShoreTel-Mitel resellers — all of these partners are looking for and obviously adopting to the new world, and that new world is without a doubt …