The Channel

Weatherly Provides an Update on PGi's Channel Partner Effort

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  January 16, 2017

PGi is a 25-year-old company that lays claim to being the largest pure-play collaboration provider. At the moment just under 20 percent of the company’s sales come from the channel. But in the next three to four years PGi expects channel partners to account for about half of its revenues.

Lauren Weatherly, senior director of channel marketing at PGi, is in charge of making that happen. And the effort, which was established about 15 years ago, is off to strong start.

To date, PGi has about 600 contracted partners, according to Weatherly. That includes agent partners, carriers, and resellers. The agent group consists primarily of master agents, including such entities as Intelisys, MicroCorp, and PlanetOne. PGi’s carrier partners include well-known companies like AT&T (News - Alert), CenturyLink, DT, Orange, and Tata, and many others. And its reseller partners are largely small conferencing companies such as long-time PGi partner ARG Inc., RollCall, and TSI (News - Alert).

Weatherly says PGi continues to expand its channel effort with the recognition that the relationships partners have with existing customers is so much larger in scope than the customer group the company could reach on its own.

“For just the top five master agent relationships, that reach is so great and they are the trusted advisors to their customers, so when they talk to their customers about conferencing, it’s much more meaningful than a direct sale,” she comments.

The same is true for carrier partners, although Weatherly notes that cultivating relationships with large communications services providers like AT&T and DT is a lengthier process.

Whatever the partner, however, Weatherly says PGi brings something special to the product mix that helps add value and create closer connections with customers.  

That something special includes GlobalMeet, which PGi describes as a user-friendly web conferencing solution that can support up to 125 people. PGi also offers iMeet, an all-in-one audio, video, and web conferencing solution with social media features and speech recognition capability. When meeting participants are on the iMeet platform, they can hover their mouse over each participant box to see that person’s photo, their location, and even their profile on popular social media sites. PGi also provides integration with Cisco Systems (News - Alert) and Skype solutions.

Resellers are drawn to PGi, says Weatherly, primarily for the quality of its audio network, which leverages Dolby technology. PGi is also a standout, Weatherly suggests, for its support through the marketing, sales, customer implementation, and even the customer adoption process. For example, PGi offers its carrier partners white-label solutions so they can sell these solutions under their own brands. PGi also can build an email program with social and web syndication for its partners and/or can provide them co-branded bid, marketing, and sales tools and assets that are easy to access via an online portal.

Speaking of the portal, PGi in December extended it to enable partners to launch campaigns from it and to provide partners that need assistance on that front with concierge services. The company is also exploring employing gamification to drive partner engagement. And it expects to leverage the Influitive tool it uses internally to push occasional messages to its partners to keep them abreast of new developments by providing information in bite-sized pieces.

Edited by Alicia Young