Fresh Thinking

Lee-Marsden-of-Zyxel2

In March this year ZyXEL unveiled a new way of rewarding and incentivising its channel partners, one that moves away from the industry-norm of only rewarding the biggest resellers with the biggest deals. Comms Business caught up with Lee Marsden, President of Europe, ZyXEL, to find out more.

Lee Marsden, President of Europe for ZyXEL says that partner programmes have traditionally been the best way for vendors and resellers to collaborate, creating strong business relationships and paving the way for future sales and mutual benefits for both parties.

“This is typically because channel partner programmes add another layer of commitment to a specific vendor on the side of the reseller.

While channel partner programmes are usually a mutually beneficial system for many businesses, increased levels of transparency for customers and the emergence of new sales arrangements have altered the needs of resellers and vendors alike.

These changing demands have created two major challenges for vendors, that must be addressed. Firstly, how to effectively increase the levels of support and expand collaboration, and secondly, what kind of additional support can vendors give channel partners to sell and manage products? Addressing these questions has now led to a change in how vendors can cooperate and maintain relationships with resellers and partners.

In the first stages, it should be the collaboration between the vendor and reseller that needs an overhaul. Channel programmes cannot continue operating according to the old-fashioned way of rewarding completely on volume and value of purchased products. New models that ensure all reseller partners are included within the programme will be a huge part of this restructure. Instead of volume or value based levels of collaboration, purchase frequency is a much better measure as it’s more inclusive.

Using records of resellers and their purchase history can also serve as a basis for entry into restructured programmes to ensure established relationships don’t have to start at zero. As a result, long lasting loyalty is rewarded while the removal of entry barriers ensures that all partners can receive the benefits and perks.

In terms of the help that vendors can give channel partners to sell and manage products, it is clear education is vital. Although technical support has always been part of traditional channel programmes, resellers are looking to develop their own solutions. As a result, vendors need to find a way to step up and help resellers add more value to products. Additional schemes such as a rewards points system can be put in place where resellers can earn against every product purchase, no matter what the price.

This is why ZyXEL has launched its new Partner Programme – offering a unique way of rewarding and incentivising its channel partners. This overturns typical partner programmes by replacing the focus on revenue tiers with a ‘purchase frequency’ based approach, opening up the benefits to all resellers instead of just the ‘biggest and best’. Resellers will also receive on-going commitment to invest in partners in the form of technical support, information and training.

For those looking to reform and revolutionise their partner programmes, efficient support is crucial – there’s no sense investing in improving the relationship with resellers if this is lacking. From education and training, through to deal registration and technical support, resellers need the full suite to get the most from products and drive business. Combining this support with a new programme that values all resellers and offers defined, appreciable benefits will enable a closer collaboration for all involved.”

Ed Says…

It’s hard to be really innovative and break the mould and depart from ‘the norm’ for almost any aspect of channel activity. If you have been around the block a few times like myself often what someone enthuses over as being revolutionary you remember from 20 years ago. However, we think Mr Marsden may have something to shout about here.