Steranka said of Avaya's roughly 10,000 partners worldwide, fewer than 500 of them hold Avaya's small- to midsize enterprise (SME) Expert specialization. That said, Avaya's SME-certified partner base grew roughly 30 percent in the last year, a trend Steranka wants to continue.
"The number of partners that have taken on the SME badge is in the hundreds," Steranka said. "But, quite honestly, to cover this market opportunity, which is enormous, that number should be in the thousands."
One of the ways Steranka hopes to grow Avaya's SME partner base is through the company's new SME Solution Sale Incentive (S3I) promotion, which offers rebates to partners who sell across the Avaya portfolio -- but only if they are SME Expert-certified.
"My expectation is that we are going to see that number [of SME Expert partners] increase pretty substantially, and probably way beyond the 30 percent we saw last year," Steranka said.
The S3I promotion is meant to incent partners to sell beyond Avaya's bread-and-butter UC offerings. The way it works, Steranka said, is that partners are given product rebates when they couple an Avaya UC sale with a networking, video, or some other product line sale. Rebates range up to 14 percent.
Bill Xydias, director of marketing at Integration Partners, a Lexington, Mass.-based solution provider and Juniper partner, said the S3I promotion is an especially attractive one for Integration Partners, as the company already sells across the Avaya portfolio and is an SME Expert partner.
"These incentives are a home run for us," Xydias told CRN. "It will be business as usual, but with added incentives around what we already do."
Xydias also said that Integration Partners expects solid sales around Avaya IP Office 9.0, the latest version of Avaya's SMB- and midmarket-focused UC platform. IP Office 9.0 differs from its predecessors in that it can scale to support up to 2,000 seats simultaneously, meaning it can appeal to a wider range of midmarket customers.
"[IP Office 9.0] is really hitting that sweet spot," Xydias said. "We are legitimately excited about it, and looking forward to selling it."
PUBLISHED OCT. 24, 2013