CRN Exclusive: Extreme Networks Brings Solution Selling Track To 'Sales Dojo' Training Program


Extreme Networks is pushing partners to take a "solution selling" approach to its portfolio by adding a new element to its martial arts-themed training program.

Extreme will make a solution selling "belt" available to partners taking part in its free Sales Dojo training program beginning in mid-June, Bob Gault, the company's chief revenue and services officer, said in an interview with CRN.

The solution selling belt will join the others in the Sales Dojo program, including those for foundational knowledge and commercial knowledge. The program, Gault said, is intended to get partners in line with Extreme's drive to take a software-focused, end-to-end sales strategy to the market.

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"We want to make sure we're treating our partners as an extension of the Extreme sales organization, so once we deliver that internally, we'll be able to push that out to our partner community so that Extreme and our partner community are talking from the same page, using the same taxonomy, using the same language, asking the customers the same questions, and making sure we're providing the right answer and the right solution consistently to our customers," Gault said.

Pat Grillo, CEO of Atrion Communication Resources, a Branchburg, N.J., solution provider that works with Extreme, said the industry is moving toward solution-centric sales as customers transform to a more software-focused, subscription-based buying strategy. "I think a solution selling approach is good," Grillo said. "We have been using it for some time now."

Extreme is perhaps late to the solution selling game, Grillo said, "but better late than never."

The new component to Extreme's Sales Dojo comes as the San Jose, Calif., company seeks to accelerate its newly expanded business. Late last year, Extreme went on a $210 million acquisition spree, picking up Zebra Networks, Avaya's networking business and Brocade's data center business.

Gault said those acquisitions are now fully integrated. The company launched a new channel program early this year.

Perhaps the most important component of the solution selling belt, Gault said, is its automated campus module, which covers training on selling networking fabric, data center, wired solutions along with software solutions like Extreme's management and policy, analytics, workflow composure and orchestration software.

Ultimately, Gault envisions the Sales Dojo program as a stepping stone for partners on the way to profitable certifications and specializations in key areas.

"If someone does really well in the modular training for solutions selling for wireless, then it makes sense to go get your wireless certification, your wireless specialization," Gault said. "Then you can continue down the path of getting an automated campus specialization. When they get that, they get more benefits from Extreme on the value, as well as on the rebate side. When they get those certifications and specializations, there are expectations that they're going to reach a certain number of people and a certain volume within that certification."

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