Verizon partners: New tiered benefits, certification requirements

Verizon is revamping its partner program, adding a new tiered structure, certification requirements and registration of enterprise-level deals.

In a move to simplify the way it does business with its channel partners and to expand opportunities for existing and new partners in such technology areas as cloud, mobility, networking and communications for midmarket businesses, Verizon Communications Inc. this week rolled out a major refresh of its channel partner program.

Making the announcement at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo 2013 in Las Vegas, Richard Williams, executive director of channels at Verizon, said that the new program consolidates six channel programs into one under what the vendor calls a "best-in-class" Verizon Partner Program.

The program includes a new tiered benefit structure -- Member, Silver, Gold and Platinum, with commissions, training and go-to-market activity varied for the multiple levels, as well as new training and certification requirements for partners.

The training requirements correspond to three partner business models:

  • Agent: Partners sell solutions on behalf of Verizon
  • Resale: Partners have the flexibility to package, market and resell services
  • Sell With: Partners work with Verizon to jointly market and present unified and complementary solutions to prospective customers across vertical industries

According to Williams, existing Verizon partners will need to certify within 80 days, and new partners will have to complete the required training before they can sell Verizon solutions.

Training and certifications align with five technology tracks: advanced communications; networks; cloud, IT and applications; mobility; and machine to machine. Partners can train in one or more tracks depending on their business objective.

Verizon partners use Salesforce PRM to register deals, manage marketing development funds and joint go-to-market opportunities, access training and tools, and collaborate with Verizon sales teams and field representatives.

"Salesforce PRM is another critical element in our new partner program. It gives us and our partners a fast, responsive and integrated solution for communication and community," said Williams, who added that there's no fee for partners to get the Salesforce PRM license.

According to Williams, Verizon revisited and improved its "rules of engagement" with partners before rolling out the new partner program. As part of the improvements, Verizon has opened up deal registration. What that means to partners is that they not only can work with midmarket customers but also can register deals with enterprise customers in Salesforce.com. The enterprise deals will be reviewed as they're registered, Williams noted.

The vendor is designating three types of personnel -- channel field managers, telephone channel managers and technical solution engineers -- to support its partners.

Today, Verizon has fewer than 1,000 partners (systems integrators, value-added resellers, value-added distributors and master telecom agents). It hopes to expand its partner channel, although Williams wouldn't specify a growth target.

This new partner program follows the announcement in December 2011 of Verizon Enterprise Solutions, a global organization designed to oversee all business, government and wholesale operations from across the company's wireless and wireline businesses. The move was made to enable the company to better provide its customers with fully integrated enterprise solutions.

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