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Extreme Networks Unleashes New Partner Program To Unify Brocade, Avaya And Zebra Channel Community

"This is something that benefits all the partners no matter what their heritage is," said Extreme partner David Raftery of Integration Partners.

In one of its biggest channel moves in years, Extreme Networks Tuesday introduced its new Extreme Partner Program, which combines existing programs and technologies acquired from Avaya, Brocade Communications and Zebra Technologies into a single unified program packed with channel incentives.

"This is something that benefits all the partners, no matter what their heritage is, whether they're coming in through Avaya, or a longtime Extreme partner, or a former Brocade partner – this is what was needed," said David Raftery, managing partner at Integration Partners, a Lexington, Mass.-based Extreme and Avaya partner ranked No. 129 on CRN's 2017 Solution Provider 500 list. "It's a very smart strategy. It's giving partners a clear vision of how Extreme wants to grow and their vision on how partners can grow with them as they make this push."

The unified program – introduced at Extreme's Global Partner Summit in Orlando, Fla., running from Oct. 23 to Oct. 26 – offers the broadest solution set Extreme has ever had, said Gordon Mackintosh, senior director of Extreme's Worldwide Partner Organization. The new program is designed to better enable and reward partners through new marketing development funds, cross selling incentives, training, specializations and increased margin, he said.

[Related: Live At Extreme Networks Global Partner Summit 2017]

Extreme is increasing upfront discounts for Diamond-level partners by 8-percent and Gold partner by 6-percent, Mackintosh said, noting that the program will also offer 19.5 percent in backend rebates.

"We're adding a growth rebate. Our solution selling rebate is going to maintain, but we're going to be adding – through the new technology we're acquiring – into that solution rebate. Then we're going to continue with our new account rebate as well," said Mackintosh, in an interview with CRN. "All of that is going to stack up to be a really enhanced and healthy back-end for the partners. Honestly, I'd say it will be best in industry."

The new program has three levels – Diamond, Gold and Authorized – compared to the vendor's previous program which had four partner levels. The program will also include four new specializations for Diamond partners: Advanced Wireless, Advanced Switching, Advanced Data Center Switch and Advanced Software; as well as a new Networking specialization for Gold partners.

Mackintosh said Extreme is allowing partners who are specialized in one area, such as in Brocade's data center business, to continue to sell without any new requirements. Additionally, for partners currently not selling a certain technology, such as Avaya's fabric technology, it gives them a clear roadmap of how to expand.

With Extreme's laser-focused push into the enterprise, the vendor is creating incentives to encourage partners heavily to cross-sell technologies in order to deliver end-to-end, wired and wireless networking solutions into new verticals.

To entice partners to sell across the portfolio, Extreme is launching its second Ultimate Warrior Partner Incentive Program. The program offers prizes and free exotic trips to Diamond and Gold partners who meet certain growth and new accounts requirements. The first Ultimate Warrior winners received a VIP trip for two on safari in Kenya.

"We'll be rewarding the partners that start selling the technology that they don't sell today. For example, if an Avaya partner starts selling Extreme Wireless, and they become a top partner in doing that, then they'll qualify for the Ultimate Warrior," said Mackintosh.

Extreme's partner program also includes new proposal-based market development funds, dubbed Extreme Development Funds (EDF).

"Our partners will be able to build more strategic plans with us, access more money to develop enablement and demand-generation around going after new customers or possibly starting to sell a different part of the portfolio they don't sell today," said Mackintosh.

One new tool Extreme is providing the channel is Talk Tracks, a cloud-based offering that aims to help partners navigate the sales conversation with customers. The software gives partners case studies, insights, exclusive content, videos and answers questions on selling into specific industry verticals.

Extreme also unveiled new sales enablement programs that provide partners with the sales and technical services, tools and skills to grow business quickly.

"The Talk Tracks and sales programs makes perfect sense. Extreme is hyper-focused in selling the whole portfolio to existing and new customers," said Integration Partners' Raftery. "They're putting their money where their mouth is and going out and training all the sellers in the field."

Tying the program together is Extreme's new Unified Partner Portal, touted by the company as more of a platform than a portal.

Partners can personalize the homepage, set up alerts and customize what information they want and when. The portal offers a one-stop shop for marketing leads, deal registration and global concierge services.

Extreme insight account managers also have access to the portal to push relevant information to partners.

"It's a next-generation partner portal. When they use the term 'platform', it's pretty spot on," said Raftery, who recently viewed the new Unified Partner Portal. "They're going to give me demand-gen tools like Talk Tracks, training … When you come into the partner portal there's a very visual look and feel where you get some analytics in real-time and what are the most important things you should be doing next."

Extreme said the new program was needed following its acquisitions of Avaya's networking business for $100 million, Zebra's wireless LAN technology for $55 million, and the purchase of Brocade's data center business for $55 million which is expected to close within the next few days.

"We're enhancing partners profitability further. We're simplifying things. Then we're really personalizing aspects of the program and the experience uniquely to every partner. At the same time, we want to really unlock some new revenue opportunities for them as well," said Mackintosh. "It is a new Extreme."

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