ShoreTel Unveils Cloud Partner Program, Brings 'Sky' Products To Channel


Referral is the lowest of the three tiers, meant for those ShoreTel partners that are new to selling cloud. At this tier, partners simply hand over leads to ShoreTel, which then takes the deal direct, while offering partners a one-time payout for that lead.

At the middle tier, called Approved, partners not only identify leads but also qualify those opportunities and then work side-by-side with ShoreTel to close the deal. ShoreTel, however, handles the final proposal and actual implementation of the Sky technology. At this level, partners receive a one-time payout, in addition to a percentage of the monthly recurring revenue ShoreTel gets on the deal.

The highest tier, or Enabled, is for partners handling the end-to-end sales process for Sky. Partners at this level also receive a one-time payout, but they get a higher percentage of the monthly recurring revenue than Approved partners receive. Partners at the Enabled level must also have a dedicated ShoreTel cloud sales resource on staff.

ShoreTel's Bennett declined to give the exact payout or percentages partners receive at each level.

Customer billing and the actual technology deployments are handled directly by ShoreTel at all three levels, Bennett said, but the plan is to eventually hand over these responsibilities to partners.

"As of today, at all of these tiers, ShoreTel is billing the clients directly," Bennett said. "We have got a lot of feedback from partners and some of them want to do the billing, and that is something we are going to put on our road map, for sure."

Rittenhouse, of Converged Technology Partners, an Enabled ShoreTel cloud partner, said that, although ShoreTel handles all customer billing and Sky deployments, it still offers partner a sense of "stickiness" with their customers, along with an opportunity to offer other cloud services in addition to Sky.

"When you are going in there and talking about cloud environments, you are opening up a Pandora's Box for the cloud model," Rittenhouse said.

According to Bennett, there are no sales quotas for partners to meet at the Referral tier, but partners must hit a certain threshold to quality for the Approved and Enabled levels.

ShoreTel is hosting a partner webinar on February 25, Bennett said, for solution providers interested in selling Sky.

PUBLISHED FEB. 5, 2014