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Avaya told top solution providers Thursday that it's more committed than ever to being a stronger channel partner, and that continued investment in demand generation, marketing and training resources -- combined with a renewed push to stave off channel conflict -- will help the Avaya channel thrive in 2013.
"We will not engage in an enterprise or construct, or embrace a program, or pricing scheme, or product launch that does not take in the need, the mandate, of the people in this room have to make a fair rate of return," said John DiLullo, president of Avaya Americas sales.
What's more, Avaya has a bigger opportunity than ever to attack the midmarket, said Tom Mitchell, senior vice president and president, Avaya Go-To-Market, who urged partners to go after midmarket deals while selling "high and wide" in their enterprise accounts.
DiLullo, Mitchell and other top Avaya channel and sales executives addressed several hundred top Avaya partners during the kickoff of Avaya's Americas Partner Executive Forum in Cancun, Mexico.
Avaya has done much to make itself easier to do business with, DiLullo argued, including the paring down of its formerly five sales organizations to one and the collapsing of what was once 29 business units down to four. Avaya is also now doing about 74 percent of revenue through the channel -- shy of the 80-plus CEO Kevin Kennedy had mentioned three years ago -- but increased from previous years, company executives said.
Avaya's financial stability has been questioned as the company continues to post quarterly losses and discussion of its potential IPO has faded. But according to DiLullo, Avaya's seen eight quarters, out of the last 11, of sequential growth, and it has made a 40 percent improvement in its overall cost of goods while bringing down such costs as the average cost of maintenance per port on Avaya equipment.
Avaya is making targeted investments that will directly benefit its roughly 9,000 global channel partners, DiLullo explained, including $300 million poured into its services business to cover everything from service stock to services support programs.
Avaya is also investing in demand generation, and in the past few months it has increased its territory account managers who focus on midmarket and general channel demand by 30 percent, as well as increased the number of overall Avaya resources purely focused on the demand generation aspect by 100 percent. Avaya marketing dollars that were previously reserved for Avaya's corporate marketing activities are also now used for co-marketing with partners, DiLullo said.
Avaya will also focus on keeping channel conflict at bay. Any time an Avaya Americas rep wants to take a deal direct, DiLullo said, it requires DiLullo's personal approval.
"My approval will not be forthcoming," DiLullo told the room, adding that thanks to Avaya's demand generation push, he expects to bring Avaya partners at least 10,000 new prospects in the new year.