Channel partners have become an important way for unified communications solutions providers to get their products to market. TMCnet recently interviewed Tim Allen, chief sales officer for Evolve IP (News - Alert), about how the company is working to reinvent the channel through efforts such as an event it’s holding today in Philadelphia.
Give us a primer on Evolve IP. How and when did it start?
Allen: Evolve IP was founded in 2007, and had its original product launch in January of 2008. Our customers are any commercial organization that has 10 employees or more. We currently have customers in 30 states and six other countries.
To what extent has Evolve IP used the channel to date?
Allen: Evolve IP has always had channel distribution in our model from the very early stages of building the business plan. What we have realized is the channel is a bigger opportunity than originally expected due to the extensive, long-term relationships our partners have with their customers.
Who are your channel partners and why?
Allen: Evolve IP’s channel partners are master agents, interconnects, integrators, value-added resellers and manufacturer’s representatives. They are local, regional, national and international in scope.
What does Evolve IP do to support its channel partners in terms of dollars, education, referrals, etc.?
Allen: We currently have a full-featured, multi-tiered program for all types of partners. We have a full calendar of training events for our partners as well as a proprietary online computer-based Learning Management System named Evolve IQ. Evolve IQ educates our partners on Evolve IP’s internal information like products and services, processes and procedures, as well as other types of external content.
What new things are you doing as it relates to the channel?
Allen: We are hosting an event at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia today called The Reinvention of the Channel. We are taking the resources of our company that we have successfully used to drive direct sales, and we are packaging those resources to enable the agents to more successfully sell the hosted or cloud-based model to their customers. This will enable them to generate more recurring commissions, thus creating more value for their business. We focused on a version of this idea last year and had tremendous success. We then began doing this with additional partners in March of this year and have had such positive feedback from our agents that we are rolling the program out to our entire partner base and using it to attract new partners.
What’s next for Evolve IP and its channel partners?
Allen: Many things, least of which being the expansion of Evolve IQ to include certification programs from certain manufacturers.
If there’s just one message about Evolve IP’s UC channel effort it would like to convey, what it is?
Allen: Evolve IP has a world class management team that has built a one of a kind cloud-based services platform, and we are one of the leading providers of hosted UC solutions in the world. We are now leveraging our direct sales resources to help our agents sell the hosted model to their customers.
Edited by Juliana Kenny