Special Focus

INTERNET TELEPHONY Announces 2015 Channel Excellence Award Winners

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  September 16, 2015

TMC and INTERNET TELEPHONY are proud to announce the winners of our Channel Excellence Awards. This marks the second iteration of this award program, for which the number of applications and award categories continue to multiply.

Here’s a closer look at the winners.

4G LTE NETWORKING SOLUTIONS

Winner: Cradlepoint
Cradlepoint Authorized Partner Program
1,600 partners

Cradlepoint’s Partner Program was designed to support the company’s partners to grow their businesses; sell Cradlepoint products, solutions and services; and achieve competency in leading-edge wireless WAN LTE solutions. The Cradlepoint Authorized Partner Program is a global program that encompasses partners from the Americas, EMEA, and very soon the Asia Pacific. The Cradlepoint partner ecosystem includes alliance partners, managed security service providers, service providers, and value-added resellers. Cradlepoint channel partners get automated discounts, rebates, special pricing, and promotions. The Cradlepoint Customer Connect Portal, with permission from the customer, allows partners to track customer purchases and renewals, deal registrations, license agreements, and access all available marketing and sales tools. Cradlepoint University offers technical training materials and resources to qualified individuals employed by Signature, Premier and Elite Cradlepoint Partners. Cradlepoint sells cloud-managed 4G LTE networking solutions, providing secure business-grade connectivity to distributed enterprises with hundreds or thousands of locations.

BUSINESS CONNECTIVITY

Winner: XO Communications
The XO Partner Channel
10 master partners

The XO Channel Program is unique in that XO goes to market through a select group of national distributors chosen on the basis of their industry standing, performance, and demonstrated ability to support the sales partners who sell XO solutions through them. It provides residual compensation and periodic performance-based incentives. Since the inception of the program, XO says it has continued to make significant investment in automation, tools, and resources for the channel. XO Communications and its channel partners cater to business and wholesale customers, and XO owns and operates one of the largest IP and Ethernet networks that customers use for private data networking, cloud connectivity, unified communications and voice, Internet access, and managed services. 

CLOUD COMMUNICATIONS

Winner: AireSpring (News - Alert)
AireSpring Channel Sales Division
2,672 master agents with thousands of sub-agents

AireSpring offers a wide array of solutions – including connectivity, contact center, and UC – to benefit its partners and the marketplace as a whole. AireSpring provides evergreen commissions and the reliability of a stable, debt-free, and profitable company. It recently updated its commission structure so partners receive bonuses on both connectivity services, including managed connectivity with QoS, MPLS, and DIA, and voice/cloud services, such as Cloud Phone System, Cloud Contact Center, Local SIP Trunking, Digital PRI/T1 Handoff, and Analog Handoff, of up to 150 percent and 600 percent respectively. Partners are also eligible for an $800 cash bonus on long-distance services per every $800 in eligible usage. Additionally, partners can now earn SPIFFs on renewals. Channel managers assist channel partner in closing deals and serve as their advocate in all stages of the sales cycle. Channel managers also spend a tremendous amount of time in one-on-one training sessions to provide education for partners on both industry and technology trends, as well as AireSpring’s specific product line. Its team of project managers and implementation engineers work with partners to ensure a smooth deployment and post-sales process. AireSpring also drives demand directly to partners through its marketing programs. AireSpring also recently launched QuoteSpring 4.0, the latest release of its quoting and proposal generation platform, which enables partners to accurately quote and build complex proposals for managed connectivity and cloud communications, as well as traditional services, on demand.

Winner: Fonality
The Fonality Partner Program
400 partners

A look at Fonality’s website tells the story; there you can find a long list of partner endorsements. Fonality’s simplified partner program offers discounts or commissions at three partner levels: Referrals, Authorized and Certified. Partners at either Authorized or Certified levels can choose to work as agents, receiving commission based on recurring revenue, or as resellers, receiving discounts on both software and hardware. In the first year, partners can earn up to 28 percent recurring revenue, and continue to earn 20 percent commissions for the lifetime of the customer. Resellers also have the option to purchase a perpetual or monthly subscription up to 30 percent of list price. Partners have the choice to transact business earning monthly recurring income, or purchase on margin with deep discounts. The program offers joint marketing funds as a quarterly bonus. Typical partners utilizing the program are IT consultants, managed service providers, telecom agents, and value-added resellers across the globe who want to maintain and grow their business by offering business communication services. Fonality provides a dedicated team of channel experts to support its partners and their sales strategies. Channel partners work with channel managers throughout every stage of the sales cycle. Partners also have sales engineers that provide technical sales support.

Winner: Vonage
Vonage Channel Partner Program
More than 250 partners

Vonage is transforming its business, and made the biggest jump this year in the IHS Infonetics (News - Alert) 2015 Cloud UC Service Provider North America Scorecard by accelerating its customer base through acquisitions. That includes the acquisitions of gUnify, Simple Signal, Telesphere Networks, and Vocalocity (News - Alert). And just last month Vonage announced its plans to bring iCore Networks into the fold. As for its channel-specific initiatives, Vonage ChannelSphere is a portal that offers a quick, simple solution that accelerates the sales process for agents, sub-agents and master agents within Vonage's channel. Using ChannelSphere, agents are able to initiate their own quotes and have unlimited access to online tools, including on-demand training courses and customized marketing materials. For sales support, Vonage has dedicated teams that include a regional channel manager, sales engineer, account management team and a Channel Success Team. These teams are rated and compensated on their ability to provide outstanding service during the lifecycle of the account. The Channel Success Team becomes the eyes and ears of the sales team and provides administrative support, such as install and billing support. Vonage offers residuals on a monthly basis. It pays commissions on the entire amount of recurring billing on each customer, for the life of the customer. Depending on the size of the account, there are aggressive upfront one-time bonuses on top of the monthly residuals. Vonage provides cloud communications services for consumers and businesses.

Runner Up: Broadview Networks
Broadview Networks Partner Program
More than 300 partners

Broadview says that Broadview Channel Partners earn the highest SPIF in the industry. Agents earn both up front and competitive residual commissions. Broadview offers a simple flat rate residual program that it says is highly competitive and is paid monthly on billed revenue. It also offers one time bonuses/SPIFS that are also paid monthly following installation. These bonuses vary quarterly but its present SPIF pays 300 percent on all cloud services and its hosted phone system. Broadview says it goes the extra mile by providing its agents with dedicated pricing specialists, sales engineers, project managers, account managers, and even customer service representatives. And the company has located channel managers across the country, so they are there when partners need them. Its packaging makes selling total cloud service solutions easy via a single sale, says Broadview. However, some agents sell just specific Broadview products such as the hosted phone system within its portfolio. It also has agent partners who focus on their communities, or vertical markets such as government, real estate, or retail.

Runner Up: CoreDial LLC
CoreDial Channel Partner Program
370 partners

CoreDial enables MSPs, VARs and IT solution providers to implement hosted PBX, VoIP, SIP trunking, and unified communication services with their pre-existing offerings. Its channel partners are able to white-label and sell SwitchConnex at very high margins – up to 65 percent. SwitchConnex customer accounts can be customized to meet virtually any customer requirement. As a part of the onboarding process for new partners, CoreDial provides training on both the software as well as sales strategies for effectively selling cloud communications services and solutions. In addition, it offers partners marketing materials that have the ability to be white-labeled with their brand. 

Runner Up: Nextiva
The Nextiva Amazing Partner Program
More than 500 partners

The Nextiva Amazing Partner Program is known for its rapid growth since being established in October 2013. The program has quickly grown to include more than 500 partners across the United States. Nextiva says its channel program offers partners the most competitive commission structure in the industry. It includes monthly SPIFF programs and milestone revenue bonuses. Nextiva has dedicated channel managers to assist partners with anything they may need throughout the selling process. They are available to answer any questions a partner or potential customer may have and provide sales collateral and product demos as needed. Additionally, Nextiva has built a Partner Learning Portal with marketing materials, co-branded sales collateral, and video tutorials to increase product and company knowledge. 

Runner Up: Star2Star Communications (News - Alert)
The Star2Star Channel Partner Program
About 500 reselling; several thousand agents

Star2Star Communications has three separate channel partner programs, one for interconnects, one for managed service providers, and one for agents and master agents. In addition to its high commission rates, the company offers numerous opportunities to make money both at the front end of a sale (i.e. installation) and throughout the life of the contract (i.e. moves, adds, and changes). The company’s customer retention rate of 99.6 percent means that our partners keep income rolling in and can focus on growing their customer base rather than replacing it. Channel partners receive both internal and external sales support from Star2Star, whose sales support staff will help partners both from its offices and in the field. The company’s pre-sales engineering staff will help to customize systems to meet customer needs; it has a concierge marketing program that will work with partners to fund and produce marketing materials for partners; and its has a customized order tracking system it developed for the channel. Star2Star says the most noteworthy aspect of its channel program is its diversification.  Where most of its competitors force partners to adapt to their way of doing things, Star2Star says, it adapts the way it does things to fit the needs of its partners. 

CUSTOMER SERVICE SOLUTIONS

Winner: LiveOps
The LiveOps Channel Partner Program
85 partners

The LiveOps Channel Partner Program is a global program, driven out of the company’s regional offices in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. LiveOps offers service provider-grade channel partners with formal technical, pre-sales and post-sales training, including a demo system of their own, and grants access to all LiveOps sales resources for assistance with the pre- and post-sales process. LiveOps hosted its first Partner Conference in 2014, with plans to host it each year and focus on educating channel partners on how to shift their business and customers to a cloud-oriented strategy. Channel partners participating in the LiveOps Channel Partner Program are independent organizations that get to market via some other core product, whether it is IP telephony, MPLS, Citrix or service integrators (such as Salesforce.com (News - Alert)), then utilize the LiveOps Channel Partner Program to get wider and deeper into their customer base. The size and location of participating partners varies, but they all recognize the need to shift their focus from traditional hardware-based solutions delivered on-premises to web-based applications that can be accessed from anywhere. The compensation schedule features a multi-tiered compensation package with discounts starting at 15 percent, increasing rapidly as MRR increases.

Runner Up: Calabrio
Calabrio Partner Program
151 partners

Calabrio says the most noteworthy aspect of its Channel Partner Program is its flexibility and ability to adapt to changing needs. Partners are not restricted on the amount of benefits they can receive. Partners have the ability to provide implementation and training support themselves as a Plus level partner or engage Calabrio to perform these services for them. The typical Calabrio Channel Partner is a certified Cisco and/or Avaya partner as well. Partners are large companies well known in the contact center space and focused on using technology to transform the way customers do business. Calabrio reseller partners enjoy generous discounts on software, maintenance and professional services that provide the revenue and margin to ensure their success. It offers a comprehensive onboarding and training process; a Partner Incentive Program through which partners can earn American Express gift cards once quarterly or when annual targets are met; and access to Calabrio Implementation Services during the implementation phase of their projects to assist them with project planning, design, upgrades, product questions, functional support and more. In 2014 alone, Calabrio signed 34 new partners and it’s added at least 13 new partners in 2015.

OPEN SOURCE SOLUTIONS

Winner: Digium
Digium Partner Program
3,700 partners

Digium established its Partner Program in 2006 to offer solution providers, integrators, and Internet resellers access to feature-rich solutions at a price their SMB customers could afford. Digium’s UC solutions are used in conjunction with a customer’s existing network and business processes. The goal of the program is to provide end customers access to partner organizations who can install, maintain, and integrate Digium solutions into a customer’s current environment, with an eye toward improving and unifying their business communications, and reducing communications costs. Most all of Digium’s solutions are available through a worldwide partner network. Digium Cloud Services is sold exclusively in the United States’ lower forty-eight. Digium offers competitive discounts on its software and hardware solutions, allowing them to be marked-up and profitably sold by partners. Top partners earn in excess of 35 percent gross selling margin on the software and hardware. Additionally, partners can attach additional revenue and profit streams to the sale of a communications solution. This includes the sale of the partner’s own network design services, installation, training, maintenance, carrier agency fees, and other professional services. The company’s Partner Portal contains a wealth of resources to assist partners in the proposal, sale, and support of Digium solutions. Resources include quote/configuration tools, access to Digium guided demos and discounted demo equipment, free web-based training, case studies, email campaigns, sales collateral, market development funds, free customer trials, and much more.




Edited by Dominick Sorrentino
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