INTERNET TELEPHONY Announces 2016 Channel Excellence Award Winners

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  August 22, 2016

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

The Winners

Grandstream Networks Inc. for the Grandstream Certified Partner Program

Grandstream, which has been in business since 2002, sells SIP unified communications products and solutions. Its partner program, which was established in 2009, is led by Bruce MacAloney.

Today the program has 50 to 75 partners, most of which are value-added distributors that offer products through a reseller-based model. All leads generated from, its website chat, incoming calls, events, webinars, etc. are passed on to certified partners.

The company offers a marketing development fund program, which provides high-performing Certified Partners with monetary credit for a certain percentage of their sales of Grandstream products to fund sales and marketing activities.

Grandstream's Minimum Advertised Price policy ensures that no Grandstream distribution partner gains an unfair selling advantage by reducing pricing.

Vonage (News - Alert) Holdings Corp. for the Vonage Channel Program

The company provides both business and residential communications solutions via the cloud. In 2014, Vonage established its channel program, which has enabled the company to establish long-term relationships with indirect partners who have an embedded base of thousands of established customer relationships. Kyle Johnson (News - Alert) (News - Alert), senior vice president of sales, leads that program today.

Vonage has 30 channel managers across the country. Its typical channel partners are solution consultants focused on small business clients to large enterprise, multi-location accounts. Those channel partners include PBX value-added resellers, IT consultants, interconnect carriers and MSPs, as well as wireless resellers.

The company offers channel partners residuals on a monthly basis. Vonage pays commissions on the entire amount of recurring billing on each customer, for the life of the customer. Periodic promotions include aggressive upfront one-time bonuses or other attractive incentives to help its partners reach their earnings goals.

Vonage partners have access to a dedicated channel manager, engineering and sales support, and a channel success team. The company also provides extensive training and support to partners.

Talkdesk for the Talkdesk Partner Program

Talkdesk launched the Talkdesk Partner Program just last year in an effort to extend its cloud-based contact center platform to technology service providers around the globe. More than 100 partners are today involved in the program, of which Craig Klemp is the leader.

The referral program offers 20 percent of license revenue for two years, and partners have the ability to bundle implementation fees with those at Talkdesk. The company also is piloting a reseller program with increased compensation tiers.

Each Talkdesk channel partner has a dedicated channel manager to assist with anything it may need throughout the selling process. And, following a customer purchase, partners have access to Talkdesk’s customer success team for ongoing support and its implementation team for initial setup.

Sonus for Sonus Partner Assure

Sonus sells hardware-based and virtualized solutions, including a cloud exchange networking platform, Diameter signaling controllers, media and signaling gateways, policy/routing servers, and session border controllers.

The company started this partner program in 2012 not only to drive sales in the enterprise market, but also to communicate the company’s cross-vendor capabilities – including interworking with Cisco, Avaya (News - Alert) (News - Alert), ShoreTel, Microsoft (News - Alert) Lync and Skype for Business – that facilitate customers’ transition to UC.

Ingrid Tremblay is the current leader of the program, which now has 725 partner members. The typical profile is a medium-sized enterprise reseller (500 to 2,000 employees) with most of its end customers having some type of legacy communications infrastructure and looking to move to UC.

Sonus Partner Assure does not remunerate its partners. However, for partners who complete requirements for accreditation, Sonus provides a discount on the purchase of support services. This encourages partners to move the discount to the end customer ordering Sonus technologies, thereby generating additional sales and revenue for the partner.

Fonality for the Fonality Channel Partner (News - Alert) Program

Fonality provides business phone systems and applications, which are in use by more than 30,000 businesses in 99 countries.

The Fonality simplified partner program was established in 2014, currently has 607 members, and is led by David Beagle. It offers discounts or commissions at three partner levels: Referrals, Authorized and Certified. Partners at 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. The program offers joint marketing funds as a quarterly bonus.

The company offers both upfront and recurring payment schedules to align with the business model of each partner. The channel sales manager, marketing consultants, partner development experts, and sales engineers are all available to partner program members. Fonality also provides tools to support partners through online product and technical training, a community of best practice sharing with other partners, and a robust marketing assistance program.

Broadview Networks for the Broadview Networks Partner Program

This business communications provider launched its partner program back in 1996. Donna Wenk, senior vice president of alternate channels, is the leader of the program, which today has more than 300 partner members.

Broadview says its channel partners earn some of the highest SPIFs in the industry by working with the company. Broadview agents earn both up front and competitive residual commissions.

The company’s average OfficeSuite customer bills more than $2,000 per month. That means channel partners can attack any size customer and earn more revenue by targeting larger deals – especially those with multiple locations.

Partners can also leverage the company’s partner support teams and systems; win trips; use the MyOfficeSuite Agent portal for account management; and Broadview's Channel Partner Newswire, a monthly newsletter designed to provide partners with the latest news.

Masergy Communications Inc.for the Masergy Global Partner Program

Masergy delivers hybrid networking, managed security, and cloud communication solutions to global enterprises. The company, which launched its partner program in 2011, now has 293 partners; the effort is managed by Chuck Ward.

The company’s channel program provides partners with such benefits as future-proof technology that ensures long-term customer value, competitive compensation on all deals and renewals, support with a dedicated account team throughout the customer lifecycle, ongoing technology and product training, and fully co-branded events and collateral.

XO Communications for the XO Partner Channel Program

Business communications and connectivity provider XO put its partner program in place in 1994. William Hooper leads the program.

XO says it “uniquely wraps business partners in support, with strategically aligned resources, a dedicated Partner Support Center, state-of-the-art automation, and highly engaged executive leadership.”

Calabrio for the Calabrio Partner Program

Calabrio ONE is a suite of customer engagement and workforce optimization software. The company’s partner program, which is managed by Terri Kocon and Tammy Marinac, has 120 partners.

The typical Calabrio Channel Partner is a certified Cisco and/or Avaya partner as well. Calabrio reseller partners enjoy generous discounts on software, maintenance, and professional services; increased discounts through deal registration and loyalty programs; a Partner Incentive Program providing the opportunity to earn significant cash rewards on a quarterly or annual basis; sales promotions and rebates; competitive referral fees; and an array of marketing, onboarding, and training tools.

Digium (News - Alert) (News - Alert) Inc. for the Digium Partner Program

A whopping 3,851 partners participate in this program, which was established in 2007 by the provider of Asterisk software, telephony hardware, and on-premises and hosted Switchvox (News - Alert) business phone systems. Steve Harvey is the program leader.

Top partners earn in excess of 35 percent gross selling margin on the Digium software and hardware. Partners can attach additional revenue and profit streams to the sale of a communications solution. This includes the sale of the partners’ own network design services, installation, training, maintenance, carrier agency fees, and other professional services.

Partners who sell Digium Cloud Services receive monthly recurring commissions of up to 25 percent of the customers’ billed services.

AireSpring for the AireSpring Channel Sales Division

Managed connectivity and cloud solutions provider AireSpring launched its channel effort at its founding in 2002. It now caters to more than 3,000 master agents and sub agents, which account for 90 percent of the company’s revenues.

The company says its channel program is known for offering some of the best SPIFFs and commissions in the industry, as well as the reliability of a stable, debt-free, and profitable company. Channel partners receive bonuses on connectivity services 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. The company also offers the QuoteSpring quoting tool.

Ron McNab is senior vice president of channel sales at AireSpring.

Star2Star Communications LLC for The Star2Star Channel Partner Program

The company provides scalable cloud communications services in North America. Star2Star in 2006 launched its partner program, which now has 700 members and is managed by Gary Testa.

Star2Star is willing to customize how partners are remunerated. In fact, it considers that flexibility the key differentiator of its partner program. For example, some partners prefer to earn larger upfront commissions from hardware sales while others prefer to earn an equivalent (or greater) amount through residual revenue on monthly service and usage. 

Edited by Alicia Young