Extreme Networks unveils new partner program to unify Brocade, Avaya and Zebra channel community

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Extreme Networks unveils new partner program to unify Brocade, Avaya and Zebra channel community
Gordon Mackintosh, Extreme Networks
In one of its biggest channel moves in years, Extreme Networks introduced its new Extreme Partner Program, which combines existing programs and technologies acquired from Avaya, Brocade Communications and Zebra Technologies into a single unified program packed with channel incentives.

The unified program, introduced at Extreme's Global Partner Summit in Florida this week, offers the broadest solution set Extreme has ever had, said Gordon Mackintosh, senior director of Extreme's Worldwide Partner Organisation. The new program is designed to better enable and reward partners through new marketing development funds, cross-selling incentives, training, specialisations and increased margin, he said.

Extreme is increasing upfront discounts for Diamond-level partners by 8-percent and Gold partner by 6-percent, Mackintosh said, noting that the program would also offer 19.5 percent in backend rebates.

"We're adding a growth rebate. Our solution selling rebate is going to maintain, but we're going to be adding – through the new technology we're acquiring – into that solution rebate. Then we're going to continue with our new account rebate as well," said Mackintosh, in an interview with CRN USA. "All of that is going to stack up to be a really enhanced and healthy back-end for the partners. Honestly, I'd say it will be best in industry."

The new program has three levels, diamond, gold and authorised, compared to the vendor's previous program which had four partner levels. The program will also include four new specialisations for diamond partners: advanced wireless, advanced switching, advanced data centre switch and advanced software; as well as a new networking specialisation for gold partners.

Mackintosh said Extreme was allowing partners who were specialised in one area, such as in Brocade's datacentre business, to continue to sell without any new requirements. Additionally, for partners currently not selling a certain technology, such as Avaya's fabric technology, it gives them a clear roadmap of how to expand.

With Extreme's laser-focused push into the enterprise, the vendor is creating incentives to encourage partners heavily to cross-sell technologies in order to deliver end-to-end, wired and wireless networking solutions into new verticals.

To entice partners to sell across the portfolio, Extreme is launching its second Ultimate Warrior Partner Incentive Program. The program offers prizes and free exotic trips to diamond and gold partners who meet certain growth and new accounts requirements. The first Ultimate Warrior winners received a VIP trip for two on safari in Kenya.

"We'll be rewarding the partners that start selling the technology that they don't sell today. For example, if an Avaya partner starts selling Extreme Wireless, and they become a top partner in doing that, then they'll qualify for the Ultimate Warrior," said Mackintosh.

Extreme's partner program also includes new proposal-based market development funds, dubbed Extreme Development Funds (EDF).

"Our partners will be able to build more strategic plans with us, access more money to develop enablement and demand-generation around going after new customers or possibly starting to sell a different part of the portfolio they don't sell today," Mackintosh said.

One new tool Extreme is providing the channel is Talk Tracks, a cloud-based offering that aims to help partners navigate the sales conversation with customers. The software gives partners case studies, insights, exclusive content, videos and answers questions on selling into specific industry verticals.

Extreme also unveiled new sales enablement programs that provide partners with the sales and technical services, tools and skills to grow business quickly.

Tying the program together is Extreme's new Unified Partner Portal, touted by the company as more of a platform than a portal.

Partners can personalise the homepage, set up alerts and customise what information they want and when. The portal offers a one-stop shop for marketing leads, deal registration and global concierge services.

Extreme insight account managers also have access to the portal to push relevant information to partners.

Extreme said the new program was needed following its acquisitions of Avaya's networking business for US$100 million, Zebra's wireless LAN technology for US$55 million, and the purchase of Brocade's data center business for US$55 million which is expected to close within the next few days.

"We're enhancing partners profitability further. We're simplifying things. Then we're really personalizing aspects of the program and the experience uniquely to every partner. At the same time, we want to really unlock some new revenue opportunities for them as well," Mackintosh said. "It is a new Extreme."

This article originally appeared at crn.com

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