Partners: Avaya Revamping Partner Program Incentives, Sales Focus Will Drive Profitability

Avaya launched the "next evolution" of its partner program Wednesday, offering incentives to the channel to sell solutions around cloud and networking and to the midmarket.

"The days of chasing the base, living off products sold years ago -- [that] isn't a viable strategy anymore," said David Raftery, managing partner at Integration Partners, a Lexington, Mass.-based solution provider and longtime Avaya partner. "If partners are willing to display the sales motion and commitment Avaya's looking for in these key segments now, there's definitely an opportunity to become very profitable."

Unified communications and collaboration specialist Avaya is encouraging its channel community to "break new ground" in five specific markets: cloud, fabric networking, contact center, midmarket and modernizing the customer base.

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Avaya's revamped program is encouraging partners to become IT entrepreneurs by utilizing more facets of the company's portfolio. Partners with the greatest scope and capabilities across all Avaya solutions will be eligible for additional incentives as well as discounted co-delivery services.

Solution providers who are expanding in key market segments, including the midmarket, networking and cloud, will also receive extra rebates.

"These are multibillion-dollar routes to market and we are not capping the rebates," said Joe Lohmeier, vice president of Avaya's Global Partner Organization, in an interview with CRN. "The rebates continue as the partners sell more -- essentially meaning tens of millions in potential rebates."

Partners cheered the Santa Clara, Calif.-based vendor's vision to restructure sales incentives around different technologies for its traditional UC&C base.

"Avaya now wants to talk about the next opportunity for a different technology or how we can help find the next net new customer," said Integration Partners' Raftery. "They've been very aggressive going to their partner community, basically saying, 'If you want to help us take these markets, we will reward you handsomely.' "

Raftery said his company's Avaya business increased 40 percent from 2014 to 2015.

The program will also become more streamlined, with partners needing to spend less time researching and applying for incentives to allow solution providers more time to grow their business, according to Lohmeier.

"We are making our position even stronger with new program elements that will bolster partners' capabilities and reach as we streamline how we work together," said Lohmeier. "We want and need our channel partners to be successful."

Avaya also unveiled a new co-delivery partner program that recognizes partners who deliver exceptional customer experiences. Starting in fiscal year 2017, partners will be measured against industry-leading key performance indicators and metrics.

The program's midmarket push aligns with Avaya's launch of a new Midmarket Select Partner Program in November.

The midmarket program is tied with new solution packages aimed at giving partners higher margins in the midmarket. Partners in the program gain access to five new Select Engagement Packages that offer value for private, public and hybrid deployments tailor-made for midsize enterprises with up to 2,000 employees.

"All the new promotions are geared towards new customers and new types of activity -- like networking is a good example. If you look at all their solution segments, all the aggressive promotions are geared towards migrating the base to a newer or more advanced platform or getting a net new customer into a new technology segment with Avaya," said Raftery.