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Zoom Video Expands Referral Partner Program Following ‘Record-Setting’ 2020

Following a year of extraordinary growth in which partners had ‘never seen so much demand for a vendor,’ Zoom announced a series of milestones and planned enhancements for its one-year-old referral partner program.

A year after Zoom Video Communications launched its first-ever referral partner program, the UC and video specialist is expanding its program for master agent partners following a year of unprecedented growth.

Ian Kieninger, CEO of Master agent AVANT, a Zoom partner, told CRN last year that he’d “never seen so much demand for a vendor.” A year later, the Chicago-based company has had “incredible” success since the launch of the master agent referral program, Kieninger said.

Through AVANT’s own eager ecosystem of agent partners, the master agent achieved a record-setting sales achievement, reaching more than $1 million of recurring monthly sales in less than one year, he said.

“The launch of the master agent program came about as the world shifted to remote work and Zoom’s value-add for businesses became more important than ever. We saw an 86 percent spike in UCaaS sales opportunities at the outset of the pandemic and that traction has held steady over the last year,” Kieninger said.

[Related: Confronting Covid-19: How Partners Made Zoom, Microsoft Teams And Cisco Webex Essential Viewing]

Zoom for the past three years has been working with VAR partners in a reseller model, with partners selling Zoom on their own paper. The impetus for the one-year-old referral partner program came as Zoom Phone, a highly-regulated cloud-based voice offering introduced in 2019, was announced. Partners needed help selling the solution to avoid having to handle telecom taxes on their own, Laura Padilla, head of channel and partners for Zoom, told CRN last year.

The referral partner program announced last March paired Zoom with a handful of U.S.-based master agents, including Intelisys, Telarus, and Pax8, in addition to AVANT. Zoom extended the referral partner program into Europe, Australia, and New Zealand in September.

Like AVANT, Zoom was the fastest growing business in history for ScanSource-owned Intelisys, a Petaluma, Calif.-based master agent, which also reached the $1 million mark in monthly recurring revenue prior to its one-year anniversary of its partnership with Zoom.

Padilla said in a blog post about the expansion on Thursday that the company has added six new master agent partners to the program, including AppSmart, Bridgepointe, eLink Distribution, PlanetOne, Sandler Partners, and Telecom Consulting Group (TCG).

San Jose, Calif.-based Zoom does about 10 percent of its business through the channel, the company told CRN in October. More than 70 percent of the company’s U.S. federal government business came from channel partners in 2020, according to the company. Padilla said that Zoom is committed to investing in its partner community in 2021.

That commitment will look like increased dedicated headcount across sales, operations, programs, and marketing, she said. Additionally, partners can expect improvements across operations, system improvements and automation, and more training and qualification tracks.

The program is also being enhanced with increased partner revenue on qualifying deals with Zoom Phone and Zoom United, the company’s meetings, phone, and chat offering, and a simplified commission structure for increased predictability, she said.

“Our end goal is to deliver a platform that partners can build a profitable business around. Whether that’s through our opportunities for app development with APIs and SDKs, software integration, or sales and delivery services, we’re dedicated to providing innovative programs, and you will continue to see our partner offerings grow in the coming year,” Padilla said.

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