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The channel-centric phase of the rebranding, Hutchison explained, was that Polycom confirmed new specializations and certifications to help partners get trained on the RealPresence portfolio more efficiently. That training, along with new investment in partner marketing, was confirmed to the channel at Polycom's TEAM partner conference in April.
"It's a move toward a very bona-fide software play, and it took about six months to build out the materials," Hutchison explained. "In the world of IT, everyone wants it yesterday. But what was encouraging at TEAM was to see the partner community having had a full six months to digest what we've been announcing and see the investment we're making in them. Many of the new products require a better understanding of strategy with a C-level audience."
The way Polycom provides marketing resources to partners is also changing, from what Hutchison called an entitlement-based model to more of a proposal-based, co-marketing model. Polycom will also be working closely with distributors such as Westcon Group and ScanSource on those channel programs, she said.
Brian Cuppett, vice president of merchandising at distributor ScanSource Communications, said Polycom's channel transformation has been impressive.
"They've been very supportive of growing the channel and they've seen significant growth, especially over the last two years," he said. "They've done a good job of emphasizing the importance of their go-to-market strategy and making sure the channel is involved."
The shift from endpoint resale to more software-centric solutions selling hasn't been easy for all solution providers, Cuppett said, but most are starting to get the idea.
"It's not just Polycom does the work and we all do the fulfillment -- there's a [partner] role in designing those solutions and building them correctly," he said. "It's been a challenge, but it's a different mentality -- an endpoint sales person isn't necessarily going to be able to sell this. But they are providing more training and certification opportunities to make them successful selling it. And we have a services team that's helping expand their reach as well."
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