Google Adds Premier Reseller Ranking To Google Apps Program

According to Google, its partner program is a major component of its go-to-market strategy, and in the past, Google top executives have said that partners are "fundamental" to Google's future successes.

This week, Google added a new partner ranking, Premier Reseller, to its program. Google's Jim Chow said in a blog post announcing Google Reseller Program updates that Authorized Resellers can make the transition to the Premier level based on revenue, technical expertise, training and certifications and customer success. Google's Reseller Program now boasts more than 3,000 partners in 70 countries.

"We are committed to working with each of our resellers to help them meet these specific qualifications," Chow wrote.

Chow added that Authorized Resellers will remain a core component of Google's channel strategy moving forward.

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The new Premier Reseller level comes just months after Google launched a Google Apps Certification Program to recognize solution providers' expertise on deploying, selling and supporting Google Apps.

Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global, a Westborough, Mass.-based Google reseller formerly Horizon Info Services, said Cumulus Global will boast Premier Reseller certification by next week. A higher tier has been something Falcon had Cumulus have wanted since they started selling Google Apps in 2009.

"It helps differentiate between resellers," he said, adding that the Authorized Reseller tier, while important, doesn't illustrate the level of expertise and the ability to solve complex issues like the Premier Reseller tier is expected to. Falcon said becoming a Premier partner recognizes Cumulus' number of trained staff and the level of training and the number of customer engagements.

"Having the Premier Reseller designation gives us the ability to let customers know that we've invested in the training and the resources," Falcon said.

Falcon said Cumulus will achieve Premier certification across both the SMB and the enterprise categories of the Google Apps Reseller Program.

Google this week also added the partner stratification across its four product-based reseller programs: Google Apps, Google Enterprise Search, Google Earth and Google Maps. Now, Google said, each track features Authorized and Premier reseller levels to show partner expertise across the various product sets.

For Google Apps resellers, they can now achieve Authorized or Premier Reseller status for SMB or Enterprise. SMB resellers sell and deploy to companies with fewer than 250 employees, while Enterprise resellers' customers have 250 or more employees. The Google Apps Reseller Program enterprise track is invite only, Google said.

Google Apps resellers offer Google's cloud-based communication and collaboration play that ties together e-mail, chat, calendar, document creation, video sharing, Web site creation and other tools. The Google Apps program covers Google Apps for Business and Google Apps for Government, but not the free edition of Google Apps or Google Apps for Education.

Google also added Premier Reseller levels to its Google Enterprise Search, Google Earth and Google Maps reseller programs.

"As our reseller partners continue to help customers succeed, we hope these new standards will help them strengthen their business by providing clear benchmarks for them to strive for and meet," Chow wrote.