Zoom also increases the number of Master Agents in the program, and will also be evolving the Zoom Phone program so that partners in geos with different regulatory systems will be able to sell Zoom Phones on their own paper.
A year ago, Zoom Video Communications announced the establishment of a Master Agent channel, together with a new Referral Partner Program which would be focused on that Master Agent channel. Now they have announced a series of enhancements to that program. They include increased partner revenue for Master Agents, and a streamlined commission system that removes complexity. Six new Master Agents have been announced in North America and Europe, although partners will soon be able to sell Zoom Phones on their own paper if they operate in geo which allow this. Zoom has also launched two new initiatives to gather feedback from partners, a Global Partner Advisory Council and Partner Perspectives survey.
While Zoom had earlier used a VAR channel to sell Zoom Rooms meeting rooms, they introduced the Master Agent channel a year ago to sell Zoom phones, which are highly regulated, and difficult for partners without the appropriate regulatory certification to sell. This model dealt with that issue by using a referral model, rather than having partners sell on their own paper. In late 2020, the company introduced Zoom United, a unified Meetings, Phone, and Chat offering, and it was sold through the same model, for the same reason.
“Those regulations around phones have not changed, and every country has had different regulations,” said Laura Padilla, Head of Global Business Development and Channel for Zoom. “That’s why we focused on the Master Agent model. But we are going to evolve over time our Zoom Phone program so that partners can resell our license without those regulations, in countries aboard which don’t have them. In ANZ [Australia and New Zealand] the U.K. and Ireland we will allow partners to sell on their paper. Look for that in the next quarter.”
Zoom announced the addition of six new Master Agents – AppSmart, Bridgepointe, eLink Distribution AG, PlanetOne, Sandler Partners, and TCG – with all but the German-based eLink being headquartered in the U.S. This brings Zoom to a total of 11 Master Agents, with more than 2,000 sub-agents underneath them in the program.
“The U.S. and Canada are the biggest markets for Master Agents, so we are adding new ones with different coverage models,” Padilla said. “Some are stronger in different verticals, while some also cover international markets.”
Another major change is an increase in compensation payments to Master Agents.
“We have enhanced commission payments to be more competitive and to be more in line with those in the industry,” Padilla said. “We have also simplified the commission structure, which was more complicated before, to make it more streamlined.”
Zoom’s overall partner bookings – not just the Master Agent channel – increased over 7x year-over-year, compared with an increase of 3x in Zoom’s bookings overall.
“We spent a lot of time last year on the service provider channel, and it grew 6x,” Padilla indicated. “That’s a channel we are actively doubling down on as well. They do integrations with our product.”
ISVs are another channel of growing importance for Zoom.
“We are opening up our platform to ISV partners who want to build a combined solution for customers,” Padilla said. “We have ISV partners today in telemedicine, entertainment, and some very vertically focused solutions. Most of these partners today are small to mid-sized companies, although there are also some very recognizable names.”
Zoom has also begun to put a new Global Partner Advisory Council in place.
“We are putting in place a council in every geo, with recommended partners as our advisors,” Padilla said. “15-20 were nominated for the Americas and EMEA. We hosted them and gave them sneak peak at what we are doing. We will replicate that in APAC and Japan.”
Zoom also introduced a bi-annual Partner Perspectives survey to gather feedback on things like partner support and ease of doing business with Zoom.
“We have also done a lot of enhancement to our training programs around Zoom Phones and Zoom Meetings,” Padilla added. “In a few months we will be adding a Zoom phone competency, as well as other changes to the Zoom Phone program.”