Today’s channel ecosystem incorporates multiple partner types and business models. As such, it’s critical that technology vendors understand, segment and differentiate their partners based on the value they’re delivering. Not only to the vendor, but to the customer. A partner levelling program is key to achieving this, in this ever evolving partner ecosystem
Our recent webinar, Partner Levelling – Winning Partner Mindshare through Differentiation, saw Channel Mechanics VP and General Manager Americas, JD Helms, joined by Lana King, VP, Partner Programs, Training & Enablement at Mitel to discuss why a partner levelling program is critical in today’s channel ecosystem.
King explained that the complexities of Unified Communications (UC) and the evolution of cloud today requires Mitel to measure and assess the value that its partners bring to market.
“Partner levelling and tiering are around for years. However, we’re doing some new and interesting things to ensure we are identifying the value our partners bring to our customers. And to us as a business. We have the ways of measuring partner performance, whether it’s traditional revenue, looking at monthly recurring revenue (MRR), as well as additional things like training and other strategic values that our partners are bringing,” she said.
“But our levelling program gives us the ability to identify really what’s important to us as an organization. What’s critical to ensure that our customers are satisfied and getting what they need from partners. And through the levelling program, we can segment and differentiate partners based on how they achieve each of the different objectives that we put in place.”
This in turn enables Mitel to be in a position to give value back to partners. Thereby ensuring customers are receiving the value they in turn need. By being able to differentiate and segment partners, Mitel are able to assign resources accordingly.
Segmenting Partners by Region – and Type
With the increase in partner types, vendors are also finding they need to create levelling programs that reflect this increasingly diverse ecosystem.
“Years ago, we very much segmented partners by partner type,” said King. “And then we shifted and went back to kind of have this generic approach. However, I will say, we are pivoting back to having some unique focus on variants by partner type, with what we’ve seen recently in the market and the unique need that we’ve had to get a bit more targeted and strategic with partner types. We have just begun to reintroduce some of that back into the program.”
In Mitel’s case, this involves regional variations of its global partner program. However, within this, the company is segmenting partners based on type such as traditional VAR, service provider or Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) provider.
“At the end of the day, it enables us to give that value back to the partners to ensure that our customers are receiving the value that they need from partners and that we’re able to properly segment and assign resources across the partner landscape,” said King.
Ultimately, she maintains that the real value of levelling is enabling your partner to see how they’re performing. In addition to seeing the vendor’s expectation for them. “Strategically, it’s very clear where we want to go. Ensuring that we give that transparency to our partners, to hold them not only accountable but drive rewards appropriately, is critical.” And therein lies the value of partner levelling.