Verizon Trying To Nab Competitors' Partners With New Program

Verizon has launched a new Partner Advantage program expected to be unveiled on Monday that allows partners who are members of a competitor's channel program to retain their same metal (platinum, gold or silver) level if they join Verizon.

"If they're a platinum member at a competitor, they can automatically come to Verizon and be a platinum member," said Adam Famularo, vice president of global channels at Verizon Enterprise Solutions, in an interview with CRN. "They'll start receiving all the benefits our platinum partners have earned over the years as being a Verizon partner. So they can start taking advantage of that and start building a business with us without having to start at the bottom."

The Advantage program is built into the telecom giant's current Partner Program.

[Related: AT&T Revamps Partner Exchange With New Tier Structure And More]

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The new offering attracted Carlos Morales, president of Blu Telecommunications, a solution provider and AT&T partner, to begin a partnership with Verizon.

"We feel it's a huge benefit for us that Verizon has offered us this opportunity," said Morales. "When we start our channel partner agreement with other providers, starting from the bottom, you really have to hit the ground running -- it's almost like starting from scratch … it truly doesn’t allow us to grow as quickly or as fast."

Famularo said graduating to a new level -- silver, gold or platinum – could take a partner between six months to a year in Verizon's partner program.

"So we shorten down that whole entire cycle by allowing them to come in immediately and start getting the benefits without building a baseline of revenue," said Famularo. "At the same time, we're going to give them all the other benefits of our program at that level, so they'll get the specific margin benefits, marketing benefits, deal registration benefits, training -- all the stuff that our partners get at those higher levels [new partners] are going to automatically receive."

Famularo, a longtime channel veteran, recognized as one of the top channel executives in the country, said the channel's role in the telecommunications space has changed "dramatically" over the past five years.

"The whole entire ecosystem is changing," said Famularo. "Partners used to sell individual point tools, and now they're evolving to really delivering complete solutions -- cloud computing is driving that, security needs are driving that … it's something that wasn't there before. As the marketplace changes, this is the right time and right place for Verizon to get very big into the partner network."

Morales said he is noticing the same trend in large telecom carriers putting more emphasis on their channel programs, which is increasing opportunities for solution providers.

"I think that has something to do with some customers like dealing with smaller companies," said Morales.

Partners have stronger relationships and better rapport with a customer compared to large telecom carriers, according to Morales. "I think the big carriers are starting to notice that type of rapport that the channel builds with the customer is more about one-on-one and it's not working with this big, huge company," said Morales. "The channel is really growing because of it."