While Mitel’s channel has recently gone through some structural changes, the focuses, including an emphasis on Customer Lifecycle Management, have remained consistent, and Mitel is doubling down in those areas.
Unified communications vendor Mitel has always been a channel friendly organization, but the form that its channel structure has taken over time has varied. When Mitel named Daren Finney as their Senior VP of Global Channel Sales in 2021, he became the company’s first such person in the global role. Previously, the focus had been at the local geo level. Since then, however, Finney has been promoted to the role of Senior Vice President, International Sales, which has brought further changes to the organization. Despite those changes however, Mitel continues to emphasize and build on the changes that Finney brought to the program.
“Daren is now in more of an international sales leader role,” said Fiona Hills, Director, Americas Global Partner Program at Mitel. “From a global partner perspective we have rolled up under marketing. Some times in the past, we have been under sales and sometimes under marketing, although having a close relationship with sales in either instance is a critical component of our success. The partners are a critical component for that, and we have close alignment internally with sales, including meetings right down to the CAM level.”
While April Miller came on board at Mitel in April from 8×8 as VP of Global Partner Programs, she replaced Lana King, not Finney, so the top global channel role remains unfilled.
In his brief channel leadership tenure, Finney did bring greater emphasis to Mitel executing with their partners in Customer Lifecycle Management [CLM], something where Mitel had not been that focused previously.
“One of the things that is a critical component for our channel is the Mitel brand, and particularly how they engage and treat end customers is now seen as a critical component of success,” Hills said. “Partners who are truly engaged become an extension of the Mitel brand. Many of our partners’ relationships with Mitel is decades long.”
Hills noted that even after Finney changed roles, Mitel’s emphasis on CLM continues to strengthen.
“We are belatedly going through work on further implementing this in the channel program,” she said. “With Customer Lifecycle Management, the key aspect is that we are bringing in a measurement association so that partners can more effectively manage that.”
A second, related aspect is improving partners ability to make Mitel’s partnership with RingCentral around UCaaS more effective, and better able to complement their traditional UC offerings.
“We want to make sure that partners are actively looking at RingCentral UCaaS options, as well as how effectively they are managing software renewals for stickiness,” Hills said. “We will be providing rewards through an enhanced discount structure for customers who are the most successful in that area.”
New rewards are also being put in place for a technical product index score, especially in North America.
“We want the partner to be able to resolve these issues themselves, rather than have the customer get in the line with Mitel to get it done,” Hills indicated. “Partners who score high on this get advantages around marketing branding, as well as an enhanced discount structure.
“Things always continue to evolve, but over the years you have seen us more integrated with our channel partners, and we have a strong partner advisory council,” Hills added. “Our channel has been relatively stable because of that long history of great loyalty. We have grown a lot of our channel through acquisition, with another one [the Unify platforms from Atos] coming up in the next few months.”
Coming up, Hills said Mitel expects to do more around its vertical specializations.
“We have recently relaunched some vertical specializations,” she said. “We have had a long history in hospitality, measuring expertise within the vertical structure. Now we are looking to expand hospitality and health care more into international markets, and are really trying to structure partner program and reward them for aligning with Mitel through CLM.”