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Video conferencing specialist Lifesize has introduced a partner programme that is designed to reinvigorate its relationships with resellers and increase its attraction across the channel as a vendor to work with.
Tim Maloney, svp worldwide channels, Lifesize, has gone through the ambitions of the programme and what the firm hopes it will deliver for partners.
Q. How has the new channel programme provided further commitment to UK partners?
Our partners are critical to our global success, so it is essential for us to ensure our customers have the very best experience with our video conferencing and collaboration solution. We are always looking for ways to recognise and reward our partners for the services they provide, which is why we have redesigned the Lifesize Partner Programme.
The goal of the new programme, which is based on feedback from more than a thousand Lifesize partners across all major geographic areas – including the UK – is to maximise margin for partners by providing the best video conferencing technology to strengthen their collaboration offerings and ultimately grow their business.
The new programme has leveraged key elements that worked well in the previous programme and introduced new tools and incentives to foster rapid growth. The new Lifesize Partner Programme is also streamlined and simpler for partners to digest and manage, and ultimately positions them for greater success.
- Simplifies the process – making it easier for partners to understand and easier to do business with Lifesize.
- Incentivises distribution partners for finding net new partners. It costs money to do recruiting, and we want to help offload some of that financial burden of recruiting net new partners and finding them.
- Monetises the partners that distributors have. In the old programme, we didn’t really recognise distribution partners who enabled partners to upgrade from bronze to silver level, other than a thank you. Now, we reward distribution partners for the great job of driving more revenue and monetising those relationships. We want to recognise the financial value that enablement and recruitment have.
- Eliminates performance gateways for incentives, instead allowing partners to compete against their own previous growth. Now the programme pays out fixed percentages for growth. That slight change, based on feedback from our partners, will see much broader participation, and it’s simpler and more relevant by taking into account a partner’s market, season and size of business. We’ll get thousands of people excited about growing rather than the same four top performers hitting the same four goals.
- Adds a new two-tiered incentive structure to reward resellers and distributors alike for retaining customers and for growing their business selling Lifesize products.
Q. Does the redesigned programme eliminate challenges faced by channel partners in this space?
Complexity was a big barrier which has now been removed. My view is if a channel programme is simple, partners can know how to achieve (and overachieve). A simple programme does not mean it is ineffective – I think simple equals effective. We have talked about how partners compete against their own pervious growth, so the new programme will allow them to know where they stand.
Our new programme will share published goals, attainment reports, how a partner is standing and their potential earnings in a monthly report. Because the reporting is cleaner, partners can be more proactive with it. It’s much more effective than a quarterly letter that says, “this is how you did”, without really breaking down how it was calculated and how they got there. The monthly reports and simplification allow us to communicate more effectively to empower the partner to see where they can improve or where they’re doing well.
Q. How does the new programme fit into Lifesize’s overall channel strategy?
Channel partners are our route to the customer. Our partners are our go-to-market and they are the most important thing we’ve got. Simplifying our programme so our partners can be more effective is critical. We will win because our programme is easier to deal with. It is essential that we reward our channel for key things that drive business – expanding the ecosystem, driving the monetisation of that ecosystem and competing against themselves to grow business. These programmes help us by presenting simple and clear reporting around metrics that partners need to do anyway.
You never want to have a “good for me, bad for you” system. If it’s good for me, it should be good for you too and you should be rewarded for good behaviour. That’s how it aligns with our strategies: the recognition that we have a global community of some of the best partners, if not the best partners in the world. We reward them by putting out a lucrative, high-pay out programme that rewards them for doing the things that most business people have to do anyway.