Zoom launches Master Agent channel with related Referral Partner Program

The new channel and program are focused on taking Zoom’s video-first UC platform to market, which they believe will fit partner business models better through a referral system rather than doing deals on the partner’s paper.

Laura Padilla, Head of Global Business Development and Channel for Zoom

Today, Zoom Video Communications is making a pair of related announcements. They are establishing a Master Agent channel, with initial launch partners AVANT Communications, Intelisys, Telarus and Pax8. They are also introducing a new Referral Partner Program which will be focused on the Master Agent channel. Both of these measures are designed to support Zoom’s video-first unified communications [UC] platform go-to-market initiative.

‘We have had a VAR channel for about two years, and it has been growing nicely,” said Laura Padilla, Head of Global Business Development and Channel for Zoom. “It’s good for selling Zoom Rooms meeting rooms, which are non-regulated. But Zoom phones are highly regulated. It’s very difficult for a partner who does not have the regulatory certification to sell it without being heavily taxed. That is why our Master Agent community came to be.”

The Master Agent channel and a referral-focused business model were specifically created for this video-first unified communications platform.

“We are compensating partners through a referral model rather than resell on their paper,” Padilla said. “That’s why we are evolving the program to allow Master Agents and referral partners.”

Zoom’s VAR partners can sell these platforms as well, but would have to sell it through a referral model.

“Traditional VARs could sell it through the same model – either direct through Zoom or through a Master Agent.,” Padilla stated. “We will pay for the lead but they can’t put it on their paper any more.”

What Padilla termed an evolution of the Zoom Partner Program based around the Master-Agent model will provide specific support for this particular channel.

“One reason that we evolved is that the program now requires a different type of partner,” she said. “When I started at Zoom two years ago, the program was mostly focused on AV integrators for Zoom Rooms. They are still important, but we have added partners who sell collaboration and UCC software, and added AT&T and Verizon, and are now layering in the Master Agents.”

The program for these partners will provide a recurring commission for the life of the customer, as well as expanded partner resources and tools.

“We are investing more in the channel, including more regional channel managers, a brand new partner portal, and a lot more MDF,” Padilla indicated.

Zoom has not previously used Master Agents, and just began to transact with them this month. Ingram Micro handles their traditional distribution. Pax8 is also a traditional distributor, albeit entirely cloud focused, but with respect to Zoom they will act as a Master Agent.

“We have a few hundred partners globally,” Padilla said. “We are not looking to onboard thousands of partners, but want to focus on the right types of partners. As we scale, however, the only way to do that effectively is through  partners, especially internationally.”

At this point, their Canadian partner presence is relatively small.

“We only have a few partners in Canada today,” Padilla said. “That’s an area where we are expanding.”

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