Cloud communications provider Nextiva reworks channel program to improve enablement

The program is scheduled to be fully rolled out by the time Nextiva has a set of major project launches late in the year, and will complement a planned international expansion, which includes Canada.

Chris Reaburn, Nextiva’s CMO

Today Nextiva, a UCaaS vendor which more recently has broadened out into other tools like CCaaS, service management and CRM, is announcing NextivaONE, its new partner program designed to provide more comprehensive and scalable support to partners than its existing channel program. It involves extensive redesign and is slated to roll out later in the year to coincide with the large-scale reworking and updating of the company’s product portfolio. While the precise  timing of a major global expansion has not yet been set, the new program will also complement that, and should include a major roll-out in Canada.

“We are 100% cloud, and we operate predominantly in the U.S.,” said Chris Reaburn, Nextiva’s CMO. “Our roots are in the SMB market, and back in 2006 when we started, no one was creating technology for smaller businesses. As organizations came online, they added more tools for management, and their employees were spending their day toggling between multiple applications. We wanted to make communications capability available to every business, especially on the SMB side  and then expand into contact or CRM or service management. So we are a UCaaS company, and that’s where the majority start with us, but while we start with communications, we build out into other business tools.”

Further expansion is on the horizon however, and as a result, some months back Nextiva took their first private funding.

“We have been predominantly U.S., but a lot of companies operate internationally,” Reaburn said. “That’s why we have a POP in Canada, and are looking to enter the Canadian market. We had our very first private funding event last November, led by Goldman Sachs, which raised $200 million. It’s part of our design on being a billion-dollar business.

“The money is to be used to modernize our infrastructure, and lift our partner- facing and customer-facing systems,” Reaburn added. “We are also dramatically scaling our Go-to-Market motions up, and hiring new sales people. This also involves broader coverage of the partner market, and international expansion, with Canadian expansion being significant on the road map. We are spending as well to accelerate innovation, with more AI and automation in our business tools.”

The restructuring of the partner program is tied to the investment as well.

“The channel is about half of our revenue today, and is growing faster than our direct business,” Reaburn indicated. “We are becoming more partner-led. The agent-subagent model is where we started. As we have grown in product capabilities and size, we have become more engaged to more times of partners. We are dramatically expanding what partners can do with our technology and our portal, and we are having a lot more variance on the type of partners we engage with. MSPs are becoming more important and their business model is different. Increasing the tooling enables self-service for partners, and the retooling program will support all kinds of partners.”

Areas which have been historically weak in the program are also being strengthened.

“We are building out things like comarketing programs that have not been very mature,” Reaburn indicated. “We are also introducing an entire track around training enablement and certification. There largely weren’t any certification programs before. We have had elements of training and comarketing and MDF, but they haven’t been able to scale to the partner types we are working with now in the way that NextivaONE is.”

The partner portal itself is one of those things that has been built out, to make it both more powerful and easy to use. Partners can now quickly register deals, create and submit quotes, receive automatic approval within set parameters, and close deals.

All of this will take several months to put in place.

“We have 45,000 active partners that we work with today, so the work around improved enablement will last for the next few months,” Reaburn said. “We are also working on accelerating our new product rollout in the back half of the year. We will have the new program onboarded by the time we launch the new product.”

No date has yet been set for the planned international expansion.