Small Business-Minded: Linksys Arms Its Partners With Enterprise Tech At SMB Price Points

It's not easy to find SMB-focused vendors that are delivering breakthrough economics for customers and partners. In the networking space, there is no company doing a better job on both of those fronts than Linksys.

Four years after Belkin acquired the onetime Cisco SMB networking product business, Linksys is pushing the technology and channel envelope. The company always has delivered enterprise-class products at SMB prices, but since the acquisition it has significantly upped its innovation quotient as well.

At the same time it is knocking the ball out of the park with cutting-edge technology, the company is upping the channel ante with a new SMB integrator partner program. The program has more than tripled the top-tier Platinum partner pricing discount. The company also has reduced the minimum Platinum quarterly sales volume from $250,000 to $10,000. In addition, Linksys has invested heavily in inside salespeople and engineering support that partners say has significantly increased their profitability.

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Gabriel Paustian, founder and president of SCSC, an ultra-exclusive high-end SMB systems integrator based in Los Angeles, says he chooses Linksys for his top customers because it is the best technology at the right price point.

In addition to leading-edge products, Paustian said Linksys provides him with top engineering talent that has added thousands of dollars to his profitability by delivering complex technical support at no cost to him. "Linksys adds a lot of technology design and product ammunition to our arsenal," said Paustian. "They always go above and beyond to make sure our customers are taken care of. When I am working with a new account, my first phone call is to Linksys."

Wayne Newton, director of commercial markets for Linksys, said the company's big investment in technology and the channel sets it apart from competitors.

The channel program delivers better economics for more partners, said Newton. "The small-business mentality is in our blood," he said. "From a value proposition standpoint — performance and cost — we are the best option for small businesses and the resellers that serve them. We are focused on making great products and putting all the tools into the hands of resellers that they need to make them more competitive."

On the technology front, Linksys is investing in a new wave of SMB technology products aimed at driving next-generation IP networks with robust security, intelligent remote management and Internet of Things functionality. "Software is our ace in the hole," said Newton. "The single largest department that we have is our engineering team—those are primarily software engineers. We have invested in four different software engineering facilities around the world."

Newton said he is bullish about the future based on the technology and channel dynamics driving sales momentum for Linksys and its partners. "Three years ago, we were spending a lot of time telling people Linksys was back," he said. "Today, we have strong business results, a growing reseller base and a go-to-market strategy for the best small-business networking products both for today and for the future." That's good news for both partners and customers.

BACKTALK: Are you taking advantage of the Linksys SMB networking revolution? Contact Steven Burke at [email protected] .