Adtran Boosts Partner Benefits, Resources To Fuel WLAN Offensive

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Adtran Monday introduced a number of enhancements to its channel program intended to beef up partner benefits and slash barriers to entry for new solution providers that can help drive adoption of the virtual wireless LAN solutions Adtran gained through its 2011 acquisition of Bluesocket.

The program updates, according to the Huntsville, Ala.-based networking company, will grow the financial incentives and rewards available to its roughly 3,600 North American channel partners while also ushering in new tools and resources solution providers can leverage to grow their Adtran businesses.

"It's becoming more apparent to us that partners are looking for as much loyalty from us as we are from them," said Ted Cole, vice president of channel sales at Adtran. "They also realize that the more education they can get and that we can provide them, the better the relationship. And, that's where we focused our energy when making these enhancements."

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Changes are being made at all three of Adtran's partnership levels -- Registered, Advantage and Advantage Plus -- starting this month. But, it's Adtran's Registered, or entry-level, partners that will especially notice a difference, Cole told CRN.

As part of the revamped program, Registered partners for the first time will be eligible to receive guided discounts on Adtran's full suite of enterprise network products, rather than attempt to slash prices on their own through distributor negotiations.

"For Registered partners, there was no guided pricing. It was basically, 'negotiate what you can from distribution,'" Cole said, declining to provide further detail on just how significant the discounts will be. "So, just putting in place a guided discount, we believe is going to ... help them with profitability."

Another new benefit for Registered partners is the ability to tap into Adtran's specialized training resources, a must-complete step for achieving further benefits, such as access to the company's demo program and landing a spot on Adtran's partner locator.

Partners in Adtran's Advantage Plus tier are receiving new benefits of their own, including access to Adtran's refurbished equipment, an advantage previously exclusive to only a handful of partners. Advantage Plus partners, as of this month, will also start receiving prioritized access to Adtran's pre- and post-sales support.

Robert Sincavage, president of Fusion Consulting Group, an Adtran partner based in Greenville, S.C., said he was excited about Adtran's revamped partner program, especially the increased product discounts.

"We had been asking for these things, and we are excited about it because additional discounts give us the opportunity to improve our margins and improve our discounts for our own customers," Sincavage said.

Adtran's Cole said the aim of the program is two-fold; firstly, Adtran is hoping to bolster the loyalty of its existing partner base. Secondly, the company is hoping to attract a whole new generation of VARs, particularly those experienced with virtualized wireless LAN solutions similar to those Adtran snapped up through its acquisition of Bluesocket.

"We'll continue to help those partners that have become specialized in virtualized wireless LAN become more successful," Cole said. "But, in addition, we will be looking to expand the number of partners that are specialized in virtualized wireless LAN because we believe that's a real bleeding-edge product for us."

Sincavage said Adtran's new wireless LAN portfolio has become a significant part of his business, especially as most of his clients in the SMB space are demanding a scalable wireless solution to handle the influx of mobile devices pouring into their organizations.

"We have been very happy with the Bluesocket product line, and it's really required now," Sincavage told CRN. "We are an MSP business, and if we don't have a good wireless product that's easy to scale -- I mean, we really need that."


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