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CRN Exclusive: RingCentral Adds MicroCorp To Program Roster In Bid To Capitalize On Channel Momentum

Bringing MicroCorp into the fold means RingCentral now works with all 17 master agents that do business in North America.

With the inclusion of MicroCorp in its partner program, Unified Communications as-a-Service powerhouse RingCentral is putting more power behind its momentum in the channel while setting its sights on a busy year for partner recruitment.

Bringing MicroCorp into the fold means RingCentral now works with all 17 master agents that do business in North America.

MicroCorp CEO Karin Fields said the company has seen significant demand from its partners over the last nine months for UCaaS solutions, especially in the international market, as customers demand reliable, efficient global availability. RingCentral, she said, is exactly what she looks for in a UCaaS provider, and is a natural fit for a wide range of customers.

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"RingCentral is going to be one of our go-to providers for the UCaaS space," Fields said. "For that medium-size customer to the enterprise, RingCentral has all the bells and whistles. They have the support."

Born-in-the-cloud RingCentral offers an unadulterated UCaaS experience, as well as a solid commitment to innovation, Fields said. "I'm a purist, so when it comes to products like UCaaS, I like to go with providers where that's their area of specialization and everyone in the company is on-board," Fields said. "It's not just a me-too. It's RingCentral's whole focus, period. They tend to be more cutting edge. They're able to support customers better. The whole focus of the company is on UCaaS."

The UCaaS market is growing at a nearly 30 percent annualized clip, according to Synergy Research Group, and RingCentral commands nearly 20 percent of the market.

Zane Long, RingCentral vice president of global channel sales, said a close relationship with MicroCorp helps RingCentral stay on the radar of subagents that have multiple options for UCaaS solutions and tend to be loyal to certain master agents.

Because RingCentral works with all 17 master agents, it can give subagents quick access to master agents, Long said.

"Our goal is to get our partners to think RingCentral first," Long said. "We compete with other channel programs in any industry. Think about the number of channel managers that are out there talking to the master agents and 30,000 subagents. It's literally thousands of channel managers trying to get the attention of the partner to sell their product."

This year, RingCentral is focusing on recruiting national partners who have traditionally done business with hardware vendors like Cisco Systems, Avaya, ShorTel Mitel and others.

"They're accustomed to working off a single, gross profit-based compensation model, and we're monthly recurring business," Long said. "We're a pure cloud play. No one does it better than Ring Central, and we're proving that in the marketplace. RingCentral is out in front and we do that by investing deeply in innovation. We're very nimble, and we can be because we're born in the cloud."

"That's a very different way of doing things, but a CDW, or SHi and others, those are the types of partners that fit the profile of what we call a 'national' partner."

Long called UCaaS "the product of the century," and said RingCentral's momentum in the channel is building as the technology takes hold and the company formulates programs that ensure partners are compensated fairly and profitably.

"We have eliminated conflict," Long said. "[Partners] have no concerns about having to compete with my direct sales organization. We collaborate on every single lead our partners bring us. We're growing 100 percent year-over-year in the channel."

RingCentral's sales force acts as a group of "subject matter experts," Long said. When a partner brings the company a customer, the partner is assigned to a direct salesperson who takes on a customer education role. The partner and the RingCentral salesperson receive the same compensation. "We call it channel harmony," Long said.

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