A year after Zoom Video Communications launched its first-ever referral partner program, the UC and video specialist is expanding its program for master agent partners following a year of unprecedented growth.
Zoom for the past three years was working with VAR partners in a reseller model, with partners selling Zoom on their own paper. The impetus for the one-year-old referral partner program came as Zoom Phone, a highly-regulated cloud-based voice offering introduced in 2019, was announced.
To sell such services, VAR partners needed to obtain a carrier license which is prohibitively expensive and thus restricted to top tier telecommunications providers.
Partners needed help selling the solution to avoid having to handle telecom taxes on their own, Laura Padilla, head of channel and partners for Zoom, told CRN last year.
The referral partner program announced last March paired Zoom with a handful of US-based master agents and expanded into Australia and New Zealand in July through a partnership with Tradewinds.
Tradewinds local boss Tony Heywood told CRN in August that the master agent model pays partners evergreen commissions for business transacted by the vendors, unlike traditional distribution.
"The model allows partners to focus on consultative selling, building strategy and providing advice to their customers, without the need for high implementation and management costs, he said.
"It is a net profit model; increasing EBIT percentage with little or no cost of goods sold. The partner community is diverse, comprising consultants, agents, resellers, MSPs and subject matter experts."
Zoom's Padilla said in a blog post that the company added six new master agent partners to the program, including AppSmart, Bridgepointe, eLink Distribution, PlanetOne, Sandler Partners, and Telecom Consulting Group (TCG).
Zoom does about 10 percent of its business through the channel, the company told CRN US in October 2020. Padilla said that Zoom was committed to investing in its partner community in 2021.
That commitment will look like increased dedicated headcount across sales, operations, programs, and marketing, she said. Additionally, partners can expect improvements across operations, system improvements and automation, and more training and qualification tracks.
The program is also being enhanced with increased partner revenue on qualifying deals with Zoom Phone and Zoom United, the company’s meetings, phone, and chat offering, and a simplified commission structure for increased predictability, she said.
“Our end goal is to deliver a platform that partners can build a profitable business around. Whether that’s through our opportunities for app development with APIs and SDKs, software integration, or sales and delivery services, we’re dedicated to providing innovative programs, and you will continue to see our partner offerings grow in the coming year,” Padilla said.