Poly brings together Plantronics, Polycom partner programs

The new Poly partner program which brings the two legacy ones together will feature a new partner portal, that will be live on April 10.

Nick Tidd, Poly’s vice president of global channel sales

Today Poly, the new brand adopted following the merger of Plantronics and Polycom, is announcing the new Poly partner program. While the new program is being touted as a best-of-breed synthesis of the two old ones, there is a greater focus in the new program on skills and capabilities rather than sales volume in determining partner tier. In addition, while both old partner portals are still around, they won’t be for long. A new state of the art one is scheduled for an April 10 launch.

“We are taking the best of both programs and putting them together into a single program, taking into consideration the investments partners made in both programs,” said Nick Tidd, Poly’s vice president of global channel sales. “If a partner was Platinum in the Plantronics program and Bronze in the Polycom program, they will come into Poly at Platinum. We did not want to be disruptive to the channel.”

Tidd said that the new program reflects extensive consultation among partners, including a roundtable in Toronto where they asked partners what was working and not working. From those talks, key themes emerged.

“One key issue came up over and over,” he stated. “They asked us to help them enable their reputation in the market. They want us to help them develop that. That’s a key pillar and tenet of the program.”

In order to help partners stand out and deliver compelling solutions to their customers, the partner emphasizes metrics other than revenue in determining partner tiering.

“As a channel leader, there are two ways to grow the business – capacity and capability,” Tidd said. “Here. we are focused on capability, around the opportunities we can present to partners to get them to grow their business. We are measuring partners on three key metrics: capability, meaning the training that they take and the alliances they bring; commitment, which is measured by their certifications and investment in us, and contribution. Contribution does include revenue measurement, but it’s more than simply revenue. It involves growth of revenue and the breadth of products sold. I want to see a strong attach rate of handsets and headsets and speakerphones.”

Tidd highlighted a real-time scorecard to make it easier to track partner contributions and standing.

“We do the tracking, and will be launching the scorecard in the May time frame,” he said. “That comes from the Polycom program. It gives partners ability to invest at their own pace. It takes out the guesswork about ‘what do I get if I do x.’”

The program recognizes four different types of partners among the over 15,000 who will be eligible for the program.

“We recognized that all partners are not equal in the way they go to market, and that they have different levels of investment, so we built a program that is segmented by partner type,” Tidd said. They are: solution providers, like AVI and SPL; national partners like CDW and Insight; sell-through service providers like Bell Canada, Telus and Shaw; and hosted voice and video providers, such as  8×8, RingCentral and others. All of these are enabled differently. All of them have four tiers – Platinum, Gold, Silver and Registered partners.”

The new Poly partner portal launching on April 10 will replace Polycom Partner Connect and Plantronics Plantro.net.

“Today there are two portals, but we are quickly moving to a very robust PRM platform, tailored to the specific type of partner, around those four routes to market,” Tidd indicated. “It will create a curriculum customized to the partner and designed to help them be an advisor rather than a supplier to their customer.”

The new Poly partner portal will also provide a comprehensive library of images, marketing assets and co-brandable templates.

“I’m really excited about these  ustomized co-branding capabilities around white papers, and marketing materials,” Tidd said. “They can deliver key assets that are easily defined and relevant to specific marketplaces. The portal will also improve ease of doing business with a single deal registration and a single MDF.”

Tidd said that the new program comes at a time of heightened interest in the company’s products.

“The market is growing in enterprise headsets, voice, and video and our portfolio is very uniquely aligned,” he said. “The attendance rate at our webinars is the highest in years. The portfolio of Poly products fits working at home well, and will accentuate working from home and having adapt to that environment.”

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