Fonality Unveils New Partner Marketing Program, Looks To Boost Partner Bookings In 2014

Open-source VoIP and Unified Communications (UC) specialist Fonality is rolling out a number of new partner resources, incentives and marketing tools as it looks to do at least 50 percent of its overall business through the channel by the end of 2014.

"At the beginning of this year, we kind of doubled down, as far as resources go, to ensure that we can have a very successful channel program," said Daryl Reva, senior director of product and channel marketing at Fonality. "We have taken an exorbitant amount of steps earlier this year to help increase the overall bookings that we see from our partners."

Reva said Fonality today does about 45 percent of its business through the channel and has roughly 2,500 partners worldwide.

[Related: Fonality Upgrades Call Center, Affords VARs Higher Margins, Hardware Options ]

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In an effort to boost its indirect business to at least 50 percent by the end of the year, Fonality has made several changes to its partner program within the past few months, in addition to rolling out a new online partner forum and a slew of new channel marketing tools.

This week, Fonality unveiled Marketing 360, a new online resource for partners to access co-branded email campaign templates, monthly marketing webinars, sales presentations, client testimonials and other tools to bolster their marketing efforts.

There is also a Marketing 360 "print shop," where partners can choose a piece of marketing collateral, co-brand and redesign it, and then use MDF funds to cover the printing and shipping costs of those materials.

"We really, as a company, want to make doing business and driving leads as easy as possible for our partners," said Hope Davo, senior channel marketing manager at Fonality.

Fonality this year also started offering Certified partners -- the highest tier in its program -- $1,000 in MDFs for every 30 customer seats they sell within a quarter.

Stephen Faulkner, CEO of Cybernut Solutions, a Dallas-based Fonality partner, said he had been asking Fonality for more co-branded marketing resources, so was excited to see the launch of Marketing 360.

"You devote a lot of your resources into your critical services delivery and support staff, so not all solution providers and technology consultants necessarily have the resources to have a full-time marketing team in-house," Faulkner said. "So we tend to gravitate toward those vendors and partner with those vendors who understand that."

Fonality offers a range of voice and UC products, including hosted, on-premise and software only solutions. Faulkner said it was this mix of hosted and on-premise options that prompted Cybernut Solutions to partner with Fonality about six months ago. Faulkner said it was this mix of hosted and on-premise options that prompted Cybernut Solutions to partner with Fonality about six months ago.

"At the end of the day, we are presenting our customers with the best options and educating them about what's available," Faulkner said.

Also new to the Fonality partner program this year is a compensation model that lets partners receive an up-front commission, in addition to monthly recurring revenue, on sales of hosted UC services. Reva said Fonality decided to offer up-front commissions on services deals to help solution providers transition to the recurring model with minimal disruption to their cash flow.

"Now they can pay their salespeople off with that initial sell, and then have a very large portion [of revenue] generated month-to-month as those services continue for their customers," Reva said.

Lastly, Fonality in February launched Fonality Partner Exchange, an online community for partners. The portal is designed to give partners instant access to Fonality sales, marketing and engineering teams, in addition to serving as a platform for partners to ask questions and share best practices.

The Fonality partner program includes three tiers -- Referral, Authorized and Certified -- with partner incentives and access to Fonality resources increasing at each level.