TMC Reveals 2017 Friend of the Channel Award Winners

TMC Reveals 2017 Friend of the Channel Award Winners

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  December 05, 2017

TMC (News - Alert) and INTERNET TELEPHONY are proud to announce the winners of our Friend of the Channel Awards. This marks the fourth iteration of this award program.

Here’s a list of the winners and runners up.

CLOUD COMMUNICATIONS SOLUTION PROVIDER

Winners: Broadview Networks, a Windstream company; Enghouse Interactive (News - Alert); RingCentral

Runners Up: Estech Systems Inc. & Intermedia

Broadview Networks has been dedicated to the channel as long as it’s been in business. The Broadview Networks Partner Program now has more than 300 partners nationwide.

Selling total cloud service solutions in one easy sale allows agents to help their customers benefit from next generation unified communications with OfficeSuite Phone and OfficeSuite HD Meeting, Broadview says.

The company says its channel partners earn among the highest SPIFs in the industry, and it adds that “no other company treats their agents better than Broadview Networks.”

Broadview’s Partner Program offers a simple flat-rate residual program that the company 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 the present SPIF pays 300 percent on sales of OfficeSuite Professional and 200 percent on most other cloud services included in the Broadview OfficeSuite portfolio.

Agents earn both upfront and competitive residual commissions. Additionally, Broadview offers periodic special incentives and the opportunity to earn a spot for two on its annual Ambassador’s Club trip for top partners. Last year Broadview took 15 of its top partners to the Secrets Wild Orchid, Montego Bay Jamaica. It plans to announce details about its 2017 incentive trip soon.

Broadview agents have access to dedicated pricing specialists, sales engineers, project managers, account managers, and customer service representatives. (Broadview’s Enterprise Channel Support team recently won a gold designation in the 2017 American Business Awards for Front-Line Customer Service Team of the Year.)

The MyOfficeSuite Agent portal provides agents with a simplified account management experience and account insights to maximize revenue growth. And partners can opt to work with Broadview’s agent support teams or to remain completely independent.

Broadview’s average OfficeSuite customer bills more than $2,000 per month. “That means our channel partners can attack any size customer and earn more revenue by targeting larger deals, especially those with multiple locations,” says Broadview, which says it is a multi-site expert.

As for Enghouse Interactive, it has had more than 500 active partners in North America since 2015.

The company’s partner program is tiered, global but managed by region (North America; the United Kingdom; and Asia Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand), and provides discounts on Enghouse Interactive products correlating to the amounts sold.

Enghouse Interactive creates a joint business plan with each partner, determining training requirements and assigning resources to help them achieve those goals. And it has a partner portal through which the channel can access the latest product sheets, all North American contacts, technical documents, details on software updates, training tools, case studies, sales and marketing collateral, and support.

RingCentral (News - Alert) is a leading unified communications as a service provider established the RingCentral Channel Partner Program it 2010. It boasts more than 4,000 active partners today.

A large portion of RingCentral’s channel partners are managed service providers. These partners pair RingCentral’s UCaaS solution with complementary offerings in such areas as storage, security, and network functionality and bandwidth.

A born-in-the-cloud solution, RingCentral attracts channel partners who solely sell cloud services to their clients. The company says that sets RingCentral apart in the eyes of cloud-focused channel partners, which demand agility and speed of innovation.

With the recent addition of a Google-focused channel division, RingCentral is dedicated to growing the Google partner base both domestically and globally. As a Recommended for G Suite solution, Google partners are another strong segment due to the interoperability that RingCentral allows and that Google partners require.

RingCentral currently has channel partner programs in Canada, the U.K., and the U.S. And it continues to expand its global channel sales effort.

Partners receive residual or a hybrid of upfront and residual commissions based on a recurring revenue model for all sales of RingCentral service and device rentals. Because RingCentral’s service and platform integrate with popular business applications, partners can make additional commissions by selling those services from those providers. There is nothing that bars partners from providing their own services in addition to RingCentral service.

Partners also have the opportunity to receive bonus or incentive monies for qualifying deals. And partners may qualify to receive marketing funding through a proposal-based marketing system.

The RingCentral Partner Program’s Channel Harmony structure offers qualified partners full compensation and vertical- and segment-specialized subject matter expert resources to help close deals of any size.

CUSTOMER RETENTION LEADER

Winner: Star2Star Communications

Star2Star Communications stands out from the crowd for a lot of reasons. One of them is that it has one of the highest long-term customer retention rates in the industry at 99.85 percent.

That’s a good sign that the company and its channel partners are delivering products, service, and value that customers appreciate.

The company’s Hybrid Cloud Communications Solution unifies customers’  voice, video, fax, chat, presence management, and other communications. That provides them with one easy-to-use solution that increases productivity, allows for better visibility, and ensures 99.999 percent uptime reliability.

The Star2Star Channel Partner Program, which was established in 2006, today has 500 partners.

There is no typical Star2Star partner. Star2Star channel partners range from small, local installers with under five employees to massive nationwide master agencies with hundreds. Star2Star has partners in Asia/Oceania, 10 European countries, and across the United States.

Star2Star says it offers the highest commission in the industry. That includes “huge up front commission and the highest residual percentages. Star2Star also allows you to choose your own SPIFF; the program provides additional margin allowing our partners to decide where it is best used, as a discount or additional bottom line revenue.”

Partners have the opportunity to earn both upfront and evergreen residual income. Its partner compensation package includes commissions, generous SPIFFS, prizes, and rewards.

The company also gives partners tremendous flexibility to earn from their own add-ons and services. And Star2Star is willing to do all of the heavy lifting for its partners, which is why it offers extremely flexible and extensive sales support options.

A highly skilled internal sales support team at Star2Star is dedicated to providing partners the tools they need to succeed. It provides both remote and onsite support. It offers discovery support, presales engineering, full service quoting assistance, marketing support, 24/7 technical support, a nationwide network of installers, and much more. And it gives partners has the freedom to decide which options they take advantage of and which ones they don't.

“We don't believe that our partners should have to change the way they do business to fit our business model,” says Star2Star. “We believe that we should tailor our partner program to meet their needs. We offer agreements designed for agents, installing agents, master agents, installing resellers, wholesalers, whitelabelers, and more.”

CONTACT CENTER SOLUTION PROVIDER

Winner: Upstream Works Software

Upstream Works is a Global Cisco (News - Alert) Preferred Solutions Partner that provides omnichannel contact center software. Its solution, Upstream Works for Finesse, offers an elegant single agent desktop, integration across the enterprise, and management simplicity and reporting to enable full visibility of the customer journey for consistent, personalized service across every communication channel.

The company created its Upstream Works Partner Program in 2014, and partners from Canada, Europe, and the U.S. have since signed on to the effort. But there are just 22 members today. So these partners get a lot of personal attention.

The multi-level program allows partners to choose the level of commitment and service resources that fit their needs.

Upstream Works offers a Partner Deal Registration Program. This is an opportunity-based incentive program that rewards first-in partners who generate, develop, and close new Upstream Works for Finesse end user opportunities. Partners who lead with and position UWF are eligible to receive deal protection and additional benefits for value-added efforts and pre-sales investments.

Upstream Works UWF Sales Rewards Program includes incentives for partner contact center sales, sales engineers, architects, and management to complete training, deliver product demos, and generate sales of Upstream Works for Finesse software, professional services, and maintenance.

MANAGED SERVICE PROVIDER

Winner: AireSpring

AireSpring is a nationwide managed services provider and network operator that serves thousands of businesses nationwide. It’s an entirely channel-focused organization.

The company has about 2,500 channel partners. They consist of national master agencies and independent agents.

Channel partners of all kinds work with AireSpring to service their customers. Some partners are highly technical independent consultants, who take advantage of AireSpring’s automated quoting tools. Others work more closely with AireSpring’s channel managers to find the right solutions for their customers.

AireSpring has channel partners in nearly every state across the nation. And its primary team is based in Los Angeles.

The company says its commissions program is one of the most lucrative in the channel. It offers three tiers of commissions, giving channel partners the opportunity to choose their commissions as they generate quotes. This allows partners the flexibility to choose the right pricing depending on the customer.

“AireSpring SPIFFs are consistently among the highest in the industry, offering up to 600 percent MRC on multiple services, in addition to evergreen commissions,” the company says. “Our SPIFFs have been paid on time, every time, since our founding in 2001. Channel Partners enjoy AireSpring’s evergreen commissions, too, which allow partners to continue to reap commissions from an account even if they are no longer involved.”

Using agentStar, channel partners can generate quotes and choose commission levels in a matter of minutes. They also have access to AireSpring’s customer tracking system. Using a single online portal, they can review customer orders and milestones. AireSpring also offers dedicated customer service and repair support.

The company also provides channel partners with monthly training webinars on subjects ranging from new technology to sales strategies. Each time a new product or service is launched, AireSpring provides extensive training and offers marketing materials for partners to use. The company also routinely visits with its master agencies to do training and discuss ways to improve marketing and sales efforts.

OPEN SOURCE SOLUTIONS

Winner: Digium

Digium Inc. once again occupies the top spot in the open source category of TMC’s Channel Excellence Awards.

This is a channel-driven company whose executives have worked in the channel. The company provides Asterisk software, telephony hardware, and on-premises and hosted Switchvox business phone systems that deliver affordable enterprise-class unified communications and UC-as-a-Service solutions.

The Digium Partner Program has a worldwide reach with thousands of

resellers and distributors around the globe. Digium say its channel program, which it established a decade ago, offers higher than normal margin retention and a great working relationship for resellers.

It’s a two-tiered channel program that is structured to provide solution providers and value-added resellers an opportunity to sell Digium business phone systems and services to small and medium businesses. Digium partners are VARs, MSPs, and agents that sell to all sizes of business customers in a variety of markets. Typically, these partners wrap their value-added service around Digium products and services to enhance the customer’s experience.

There are multiple ways that Digium authorized channel partners can earn revenues. One is through one-time sales of Digium products and services. For these deals, they earn a commission that is a percentage of the total deal size. Partners may also wrap their own products and services around Digium offerings for additional revenues. Many partners who take that approach report margins of greater than 40 percent.

Additionally, Digium Agents have the ability to earn recurring revenues. For each cloud service deal closed, they earn revenues throughout the length of the contract signed.

Digium offers several sales support resources to its partners. That includes engineering support for design and solution development assistance, additional resources to assist with web-based product demos, and dedicated inside channel account managers and outside field channel managers for the mid- to high-level partners.

SD-WAN

Winner: Silver Peak (News - Alert)

Runners Up: VeloCloud, Versa Networks

TMC received several channel partner award applications in the SD-WAN category this year. But in the end it was Silver Peak that came out on top.

With 1,000 partners enrolled, the company’s Global SD-WAN Channel Partner Program is simply the largest of the bunch. And partners have been signing its praises, talking about how easy it is to work with this supplier.

Silver Peak says its global partner program, which it established in September of 2015, has attracted some of the largest and most well-respected resellers in the industry. That includes DSA Technologies, Integrated Archive Systems Inc., MNJ Technologies, Sidepath, Veristor Systems, and Versatile.

This is a three-level partner program. As partners invest in Silver Peak and achieve specific milestones, they advance through the program and receive additional Silver Peak support and benefits.

The company provides a Partner Program Mobile Application that allows partners to easily find Silver Peak information on the go. It enables partners to view new sales tools, watch training videos, and register deals on their mobile devices.

Silver Peak also has an SD-WAN certification training for sales professionals and will complement it with an SD-WAN certification program for system engineers. These online certifications enable partners and acknowledge them for their expertise in Silver Peak solutions.




Edited by Mandi Nowitz
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