Logitech: 120 New Channel Partners And Counting

Logitech's taken some very public knocks lately, with the departure of its CEO last summer and in January, its fourth profit warning in a span of 12 months. But a bright spot is the progress of its new enterprise channel program, which last year became a big focus for Logitech as it looks to built brand equity past the consumer markets that know its products well.

Logitech's channel program officially launched in July 2011. As of January 2012, the partner community included 124 VARs and integrators, organized into Platinum, Gold and Silver tiers. A small percentage of those solution providers also partner with LifeSize Communications, which Logitech has owned since 2009.

"We basically took the tenets of other manufacturers' programs and put a premier partner program together to be able to align ourselves and build relationships with some of the top integrators and VARs in the channel," said Vince Alvarado, director of B2B sales and marketing, Logitech, in a recent discussion with CRN. "We want to give them a value proposition that they previously didn't have around Logitech products to after the B2B market. They can really make money here and move our product into the corporate marketplace."

Logitech offers an upfront discount depending on the level of partnership, as well as volume incentive rebates, marketing investments and demand gen assistance. Partnership levels are based on volume thresholds. Logitech has had programs in place for VARs in the past, but as it the Logitech team got to know current and potential partners, Alvarado said, it was clear they hadn't much incentive to take Logitech into deals -- and needed a clearly defined, if-x-then-y program to do business with.

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"They were more worried about big hardware and peripherals were an afterthought," he explained.

[Related: LifeSize Tackles 'One-Size-Too-Big' Issue For Videoconferencing VARs]

What got the program going was Logitech for Business, which launched in April 2011 as a separate business unit of the company focused on selling Logitech products to corporate users. Logitech's contention is that as unified communications (UC) becomes more about owning the desktop user experience, from presence to video to accessories, Logitech specialties such as webcams and other peripherals will prove especially useful, particularly when sold as part of UC bundles.

That's been crucial to convincing solution providers that Logitech has significant enterprise business relevance even though it's still best known as a consumer-focused company.

"I think we've been able to get beyond that stigma of being a consumer-based organization," Alvarado said. "It's not as big a stumbling block anymore."

Its partner recruitment has been steady, and Alvarado said Logitech is in part looking for partners who are specialists in key Logitech vertical markets. Chantilly, Va.-based solution provider Iron Bow Technologies, for example, is a partner taking Logitech products into the federal government space.

On the distribution side, it recently began partnering with Avon, Ohio-based value-added distributor Jenne to bundle various UC accessories such as Logitech headsets, speakerphones and webcams for sale through its VARs.

The program has launched in Canada as of January, and a similar program will launch in Europe later this year, according to Logitech.

The Logitech and LifeSize channel programs, like the two companies' sales teams, will remain fundamentally separate. However, Alvarado said Logitech is engaged with LifeSize on specific accounts where there is crossover potential -- Jenne, for example, was an important specialty distributor for LifeSize already, which led to the Logitech relationship.

Overall, channel partners shouldn't see Logitech's recent corporate challenges as affecting the indirect sales strategy, Alvarado said.

"Our business plan is in place," he said. "That hasn't changed. We are very committed to the B2B channel."