The new directory offers listings of partner specializations in ten different verticals and ten areas of specialization, allowing potential customers to find a partner that, for example, will be able to help them with their Drupal or .Net development plan.
“We want to send qualified business back to them,” said Lee Hadsock, worldwide channel program manager at PEER 1. “If our partners do well, we’re going to get the hosting business.”
The partner directory is available, on a voluntary basis, to all of the company’s Silver, Gold and Platinum partners, typically the types of solution providers offering Web and application development, systems integration and migration services.
So what’s PEER 1’s channel partner play? Hadsock said there’s a growing importance on the channel side of the business, and has some interesting reasons why.
Launching the partner directory comes as part of a larger channel evolution for the Vancouver-based hosting company. The company launched its first channel program last year, and this year saw the launch of a channel sales team and a new partner portal.
“From the time of launch in 1999, we’ve been a very direct-focused company,” Hadsock said. “Strategically we’re looking to drive to a channel-focused sales organization.”
That channel focus includes going from 10 per cent in its last fiscal year to 20 per cent this year, which wraps up June 30. And Hadsock said the goal is to extend beyond that in the future, with the launch of a partner training program by June and a planned MDF and co-marketing program by the next year.
Why look to the channel? Well, for one, Hadsock said partners have been crucial in helping the hosting company look up-market, and in a reversal of the oft-discussed margin protection issue. “Discounting isn’t as prevalent [in deals done through partners] because the partner’s the one controlling the closure of the deal,” he said.
And because of that, Hadsock reported that the average revenue for a customer brought in through a channel partner is higher than that seen through the average direct PEER 1 customer.
Currently, the company’s channel of reseller and referral partners is weighted heavily in favour of referral partners, but in the long run, Hadsock said the company’s plan is to even that out by offering more white label support and API hooks that will make it more flexible to the needs of partners looking to integrate hosting into their overall solution sale.