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Aerohive's recently inaugurated channel program classifies partners in three levels: silver, gold and platinum, each with successively greater product discounts, sometimes as high as 30 percent. The program is still a work in progress but Pollock and his team are working on messaging to partners and finalizing what Pollock calls "rich deal registration with regular partner communications."
Shawn Tsetsilas, director of business development, WLAN, at CSI Wireless, a Manchester, N.H.-based solution provider, said his biggest wins with Aerohive so far have come in the K-12 space. In an interview, he said the vendor's tenacity was what convinced CSI to add Aerohive, and that the organization has been closely aligned with helping CSI win deals -- including six projects that Aerohive brought to CSI during the first two months of their relationship.
"I discounted them at first, because honestly there's only so many [vendors] you can carry and there are only so many technical resources you can provide," Tsetsilas said. "But they're actually our No. 2 player now, Cisco being No. 1. The reason for that is the attention they're able to provide to us, and they saw opportunities that were closeable, with good margins, and they brought them in."
PlanIT Technology Group, a longtime solution provider based in Virginia Beach, Va., added Aerohive within the past year, and its Aerohive successes so far have also been primarily in K-12, said Glenn Webb, PlanIT's director of sales operations.
"I think it's a little too early to say good, bad, or ugly," Webb said of Aerohive's channel program.
But as for the technology?
"It goes in and it works. It's a controller-less solution, goes in, and gets up and running, and done. What management capabilities it has are adequate for what they're [K-12 customers] looking for, and they're happy with what they're getting," he said. "We have a good co-branded go-to-market strategy, and doing some joint funding of some campaigns, and we have seen new opportunities from those initiatives."
Aerohive's next focus should be expanding the types of services it can offer to partners, Tsetsilas suggested.
"We have a NOC and we do monitoring services and everything," he said. "I want to offer Aerohive as-a-service. You don't see that from Cisco or Aruba."
Expanding its direct sales force, too, will increase the attention it can drive to its channel partners, Tsetsilas added.
"You have people that just chase the channel: they come to us and they say, where are the projects, where are the projects," he said. "That's not the case here. The manufacturer has a responsibility to provide marketing air cover, and I'm seeing it from Aerohive."
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