Unified communications as a service leader 8x8 (News - Alert) Inc. has doubled down on its commitment to the channel with the introduction, and ongoing support, of what it calls Channel 2.0.
This expanded channel program is aimed at helping 8x8 partners transition from selling on-premises based solutions to cloud-based communications, explains Carlos Roman, head of global partner marketing at 8x8. In addition to unveiling new components of the 8x8 partner program, the company says it has added some new partners and expanded relationships with select existing partners. 8x8 also provided an update as to its recent customer wins via the channel.
New with Channel 2.0 are the 8x8 PartnerConnect Portal, sales and technical training and certification, marketing and demand generation support, and sales enablement tools.
Channel 2.0 creates a single, unified experience for the channel, says Roman, which is important as more of 8x8’s customers go global. The new portal provides one place where partners can register deals, share pipeline, access sales and marketing collateral, and get support. Roman says 8x8 didn’t have a single portal platform across the globe prior to Channel 2.0, so businesses in different regions had different experiences. The new 8x8 PartnerConnect Portal is available today in Australia, Canada, and North America. It will was expected to be available in the U.K. starting at the end of 2016.
The training aspect of Channel 2.0 features university-like curriculum from which partners can pick and choose the courses and specializations they want to pursue online.
For post-sales, 8x8 is offering certification for partners so they can do their own deployments and day 2 support in an effort to increase their margins and build loyalty with their customers. In the past, says Roman, all channel partners depended on 8x8 for deployment. The post-sales deployment and technical support will be available in January.
The integrated marketing and demand generation, Roman says, involves 8x8 helping partners with account planning, creating telemarketing initiatives, and – once the lead is qualified – 8x8 passes the ball back to the partner. In the past 8x8 provided some content and gave it to its partners to execute, Roman says; now, with Channel 2.0, it provides all that as a one-stop shop.
All of the above assets are available primarily in English language, but Roman says 8x8 is working to localize these platforms and resources, especially in the European Union.
In addition to the new Channel 2.0 features, 8x8 has announced new partnerships with Great Outcomes in New Zealand (which provides contact center solutions), and LANtelligence (which traditionally sold premises-based solutions but is now expanding to deliver cloud solutions), PERRY proTECH (a managed services provider), and Telarus (News - Alert) (a large master agent) in North America. 8x8 is also expanding its partnerships with Avant and Intelisys into the U.K., and Exsel Group into Scotland.
“Prior to working with 8x8, Exsel predominantly focused on selling mobile technologies with over 75 percent of our revenue from this market,” said Tom McDonald, managing director at Exsel Group. “Partnering with 8x8 has had a big impact on our product mix, and our team has great confidence in the high quality, reliability, and security of 8x8’s global cloud communications solutions. Their industry-leading technology enables us to have more solutions-led conversations with our customers and truly differentiates us from the competition, allowing us to enter new markets. We receive an unprecedented level of support and have a true partnership with 8x8. Today, 75 percent of our new business comes from cloud communications services.”
8x8 also is using Channel 2.0 as an opportunity to highlight the recent wins of several high-profile customers, which have come in via the channel. That includes GameStop Corp. and Romano’s Macaroni Grill, both of which are well-known businesses here in the U.S, and international customers Auto Customs, Gerber Technology, On Q Financial, and phoenixNAP. In fact, 8x8 said 16 of its top 25 deals in fiscal 2016 came through the channel. That’s 150 percent more than in fiscal 2015.
Edited by Alicia Young