A key benefit for traditional AV partners who have sold Zoom Rooms in the past, but been largely excluded through regulations from selling phones, is that they will be able to resell Zoom Phones with Native Capabilities. This will be phased in by geos, and while the U.S. and Canada are not in the first wave, they are on the road map.
Today, Zoom Video Communications is announcing its Zoom Up Partner Program which unites its formerly separate programs for AV resellers and phone agents and subagents into a single program. The program will give AV resellers the ability, for the first time, to a unified, holistic, global partner framework that makes it simple for partners to sell Zoom Phones with Native Capabilities. Finally the program has been upgraded to a single tiered one to a multi-tiered program with much clearer requirements for advancement and enhanced benefits.
“Four years ago, when I started here, the Zoom channel was more of an AV channel, for AV integrators,” said Laura Padilla, Head of Global Business Development and Channel at Zoom. “Over the years, we also built more of a software and cloud channel. What we wanted to do with this was build a holistic framework, which incorporated them into one program.”
The new program has three levels, compared to the previous programs, which had no levels at all.
“We took out time to gather feedback, and we have been planning this for a year, while COVID also delayed getting things going, Padilla said.
“The entry tier is enrolled, which is basic and has no deal registration,” Padilla stated. “The sales tier has accreditations and training, and provides access to deal registration and more marketing benefits. Once they get their competencies, they can graduate to performance level, the top tier.
The unified program does not have formal tracks for specific partner types, but it does have different criteria for different types of partners to advance in tiers.
“There are different requirements,” Padilla said “Resellers have different requirements compared to subagents. Large VARs like CDW and SHI have volume requirements for top tiers, although we measure volume requirements for all partners.” Training is also required to advance tiers.
Similarly, the new program directly aligns partner rewards with the partner’s level of investment in Zoom – something that had not been the case before, making it unusual in a business where investing in those who invest in you has become almost axiomatic.
“We didn’t have that established before,” Padilla said. “It was flat and there was no clear definition, so partners didn’t know what the advantages were in investing more.”
The Zoom Up Partner also increases marketing benefits and resources for partners.
“There were some marketing benefits before, but we increased our investment, around the recently announced Zoom Marketing Center and our concierge system,” Padilla said.
A key feature of the new program is the ability it offers the AV channel to sell Zoom phones, Technically, this had been possible before, but regulations made it prohibitively expensive for non-telephony specialists lacking the needed regulations to sell phones. This is why Zoom established a second program in 2020 for master agents and subagents who were licensed to sell them
“Zoom phone regulations change from country to country,” Padilla said. “We came out with two license types. One is ‘bring your own carrier’ where the partner and customer connect on the back end, and no regulation is required there. The other is a Zoom Phone Native, which will be in several countries to start, which will let resellers sell the full suite of Zoom Phone licenses with Zoom calling plans. That is a huge win. North America is not part of phase one but the plan is to eventually have the US and Canada involved. We expect it will be 30 to 40 partners to start and then once we learn how things work best, it will go from there.”