Comms Business Magazine Editor Ian Hunter met up with David Petts, ShoreTel’s SVP for Worldwide Sales, on his trip to Europe last month during which he made a presentation to Solar Communications who have become the first non North American partner to achieve Platinum status.
David Petts was in Europe to meet resellers and get reaction to his new Global Champion Partner Program where new enhancements had been introduced at the start of 2014.
Comms Business Magazine: How significant is EMEA to ShoreTel and what areas of the market will you be placing focus on?
David Petts (DP): EMA is a very important market for us. Our main areas of focus are Western and Northern Europe with particular emphasis being on the UK, the DACH region, France, Spain and the Nordics. Our philosophy is not to spread ourselves too thinly, preferring rather to develop each market first.
CBM: What is you global strategy for bringing your products to market?
DP: Our global strategy is based upon three pillars, Firstly the bringing together of both our cloud and CPE based solutions so that our customers have a flexible mix and match choice in how to consume our products. Whereas most vendors have either one or the other ShoreTel will provide better choice for our users.
Secondly, our ‘brilliantly simple’ approach to the design, implementation, deployment and management of our products. We achieve incredible simplicity in all these areas and drive this towards our end users. For example our ShoreTel Mobility applications.
Lastly, is our channel only strategy which applies to both CPE and cloud based deployments. Consequently all our focus and investment is channel based.
CBM: We will be looking at your platform virtualisation announcements in detail next month but for now, how significant do you see your move here?
DP: ShoreTel has enjoyed phenomenal success with our distributed architecture that works well for most businesses but certain users want a single infrastructure and virtualisation, which will enable them to scale more readily. For ShoreTel and our partners this means that we can address a larger and growing part of the market and support partners that want to host the platforms themselves and add their own applications.
CBM: What will we see more of in 2014?
DP: ShoreTel will be delivering more delightful user experiences. For many users, with other vendor products, the adoption of unified communications is not exactly a simple process for some applications however we will make collaboration a truly simple application to deploy.
2014 will also see ShoreTel make further application integrations where, for example we can drive salesforce.com from within that application. Overall we want to address more and more of the market with our partner model.
CBM: Tell us more about the new Champion Partner Program
DP: The Champion Partner Programme has been designed to offer infrastructure support to overseas partners that sell ShoreTel products in order to help businesses across the globe. The programme is divided into four tiers: Authorised, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
The changes I have made to the program for 2014 will deliver four key benefits for partners; self-sufficiency and the ability to compete with competitors and the right investments through better MDF marketing, more hunting, and deeper knowledge. Thirdly the right growth as partners move up tiers and lastly the right rewards – volume, funnel building, and advancing the sale value.
We recently announced that Solar Communications is the first EMEA partner to be promoted to the Platinum level of our Champion Partner Programme.
In leading up to this level, Solar has been included in ShoreTel’s Circle of Excellence for the last four years, and in 2013 it was the largest purchaser of ShoreTel products outside of the US and achieved an annual growth of 20 per cent. Solar also earned a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 75 per cent – NPS scores are widely used in the industry as a key indicator of success, and any firm scoring above 50 per cent is considered to be a world class company. These achievements elevated Solar to the Platinum position in November of 2013. It has been a very impressive performance.
Mark Colquhoun, CEO of Solar Communications, was invited to the Williams F1 facility in Oxfordshire to receive his award from David Petts where he told Comms Business Magazine that he was really excited to have been promoted to Platinum status.
“We have been a ShoreTel reseller for many years now and invested consistently over the years in the relationship. Today we have some 15 engineers accredited and trained in the product and our sales team has sold many many systems. This is a reward for all that investment.”
Colquhoun continued, “We had been a Gold level partner for some time but the gap between Gold and Platinum is significant in terms of the business volumes required so this new status really differentiates us from other EMEA resellers and is fully justified from the results we have achieved.
We are also working within the ShoreTel Circle of Excellence where we have the opportunity to network with other partners and share best practices. This, combined with our new Platinum status gives our sales people a far greater level of confidence when in front of customers.”
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