Avaya channel partners focus on midmarket business with IP Office 8.1

With this summer's release of IP Office 8.1, Avaya channel partners can now make a bigger dent in the midmarket business space and remain competitive.

Aiming to increase its midmarket customer base, Avaya used its Americas Executive Partner Forum in Mexico to unveil a series of incentives and training initiatives to help customers sell to midsized companies.

"When you're in a choppy economic market in the enterprise, some deals can slow down. We have a great advantage in the midmarket with a product that has better performance and lower price. Partners can close and bring cash into their businesses more rapidly," said Tom Mitchell, senior vice president and president, Avaya Go to Market, Avaya Inc.

Avaya's offerings help partners pierce midmarket business

At the center of the release, Avaya placed emphasis on its IP Office 8.1, a unified communications solution that provides mobility, additional security options and centralized management for SMEs.

"IP Office 8.1 is a platform that you can plug and play any of the sophisticated apps into," said Patti Moran, senior director of Go To Market Marketing and Communications at Avaya.

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Midmarket channel deals high on Avaya agenda

In the past few months, Avaya has already seen sales growth and increased deal registrations in the midmarket with IP Office 8.1. "We and our partners have so many systems installed in that space so they have tens of thousands of warm leads that they can now go back to with a competitive, current solution," Mitchell said.

To encourage growth in these deals, Avaya has created a platform that helps partners do their own demand gen in multiple languages for free and has a CRM component so they can do tracking and progression of leads. "A lot of them don't have that sophistication and they are able to use that now to track their funnel," Moran said.

Moran added that the deal registration enhancement is a lucrative incentive that Avaya has amplified. "Now when a partner registers a deal, it closes up to 20% faster. This is due to increased incentive and exposure," she said.

Training and cert requirements to reach midmarket business

In order to sell Avaya solutions and products to the midmarket successfully, partners must have the right skills, so Avaya is offering enhanced training and certifications.

"We have an environment where a partner can go in on a subscription basis anywhere, anytime and take the training. They have the ability to go online and have their own personal trainer there that is essentially a live, virtual instructor. We have labs with instructors that can help partners through sessions faster if partners know content, or they can help partners where they don't. This training reduces time and expense," Mitchell said.

As for certifications, he added that there is a credential around SME, and the Avaya training is a part of the build-up to assure that partners are qualified.

Partners first have a sales certification that gets them started on the midmarket sales track. Then, partners can become an SME expert with further certification. "If you want to become an SME expert, which is an additional certification that brings you more panache to your brand and has some additional benefits when routing leads, etc., you can further your practice and get an expert badge. We do differentiate … whether you're in the space or whether this is really your business, so you have a unique practice for this type of market," Moran said.

Enterprise space: An important part of midmarket sales

While Avaya is pushing partners to the midmarket business space, the enterprise space is still just as important. "In our traditional enterprise space, we want to make sure that we manage that very closely as the economy remains somewhat flat. We want to make sure that we are selling wider and deeper into those accounts," Mitchell said.

He explained that focus on midmarket business and the enterprise space should not be looked at as two different motions. Both spaces are critical for partners to tackle, and understanding both helps partners make midmarket sales overall.

"You have to stay focused on the enterprise -- that's the guidance we are giving partners. That's the way we are lining up our programs, so that partners are compensated to do that too," Mitchell said.

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