Wireless equipment solutions provider Meru Networks today (27 November 2012) launched a new European partner programme involving a new channel structure, tiered programme levels and partner training programmes for the UK and European markets.
Speaking to Wireless ahead of the launch, David Kelly, VP International at Meru said: ‘The new channel programme is designed to help differentiate our partners in the community, to recognise their skills and capabilities and to reward them. It is something the channel has been asking for and we have been working on this very aggressively for the last six to eight months.
‘It is being rolled out across the EMEA region and Asia-Pacific,’ explained Kelly, ‘so Meru has a worldwide programme with a consistent look and feel. It is designed to reflect the challenges partners have, not least in the current economic climate. But not one size fits all, so we are providing a framework, but mature and emerging markets are different, so this will help us understand the dynamics of bringing new partners on board. It sets out the criteria, training and exercises each type of partners in a particular country has to go through to be certified.’
Meru is introducing three levels of partner: Authorised; Gold; and Platinum. The idea is that it will give dealers a clear idea of how they are seen by Meru and the market as a whole in terms of their skills, training levels and capabilities. The aim is to establish clearly recognised standards of performance that the market can recognise and to which potential and existing dealer partners can work towards.
‘This way, partners can clearly understand what they need to do to get to the next step; it will help them understand where and at what level of capability they want to play; and how we can reward them,’ said Kelly.
Meru does all its business through distributors and their dealer networks, so putting in place a simply channel structure is important. ‘We will work with our distributors to recruit new partners, but this is not designed to drive thousands of new partners to us, but to get us the right ones. They need to understand where Wi-Fi fits in terms of overall ICT infrastructure being used by enterprises and help differentiate them in the market,’ explained Kelly.
‘The idea is for them to look at where they are: if they are new to Meru we don’t want it to be an onerous process. We will look at their revenues, ask what are their sales requirements, what are their capabilities and skills, how many people do they have, what training do they need and so on,’ said Kelly.
‘We will also assess our assessing existing partners too to see what level they feel comfortable and where we feel comfortable with them. Then place them in the market in terms of geography and vertical markets. Where there are gaps either geographically or in vertical markets will go and recruit partners and say these are the benefits we can bring you.’
Meru will provide all training for free and will supply each Gold and Platinum partner with one demonstration kit a year, so they can refresh their demo capability and help drive incremental opportunities.
To become an Authorised dealer one Meru sales specialist, who will do a free training course and one technical person, who will complete the Meru engineering course (they can be the same person) is required.
The Gold tier requires two dedicated sales and two dedicated technical people, while the number rises to three of each for the Platinum tier, but these people will be certified at Meru’s highest levels.
Meru will then agree revenue achievement targets, work with them bids and pricing and provide collateral help through its dealer portal.
The company has been particularly successful in the UK, a mature market, especially in education. The healthcare and hospitality markets are two other key verticals being targeted by Meru Networks.
Kelly explained that the new structure was not a big jump, but it helps to put partner capabilities into context. ‘It lets them know where they sit in the market and they know where they play with us, where we recognise them and their skills to be and the market does too.’
He added: ‘The UK is a strong market for us, so a lot of the partners will want to differentiate themselves; they’ve been waiting for this. A lot of them believe they have the skill set today, but now we have a way of recognising that and the market will too.’
Key benefits of the partner programme
New programme levels: Authorised, Gold and Platinum – will delineate the expertise of each reseller, reinforcing Meru’s commitment to maintaining and rewarding its most customer-focused and technically advanced partners.
Deal Registration Incentives Programme: Meru’s Deal Registration program recognises and rewards partners for generating and bringing opportunities to Meru.
No-Cost Training Programme: All qualifying Meru Partner Training – Instructor-led or online – will be available at no charge to Meru’s Authorised (online only), Gold and Platinum partners. This enables partners to maintain the expertise required to specify, install and support Meru solutions.
Demo Kit Programme: Under the new programme, Meru’s top tier partners – Gold and Platinum – will receive demonstration equipment at no charge, with Authorised resellers receiving a significant discount. The demonstration kit programme helps partners educate prospects and close sales by demonstrating Meru solutions wherever they might be required.
For more on Meru Networks see: Meru Networks launches new higher capacity and performance Wi-Fi products