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ADTRAN Revises Channel Partner Program

The new offering, which features just two membership tiers and a simplified discount structure, is designed to be both easier for partners to understand and more profitable for them to join. By Rich Freeman

Networking vendor ADTRAN has rolled out an updated edition of its partner program that’s designed to be easier for partners to understand and more profitable for them to join.

Rules and rewards under the revamped offering, which went into effect on October 1st, replace the earlier program’s five tiers with two and its roughly two dozen product-specific discount bands with a significantly simpler margin structure.

“Our previous program that had been around for about 15 years had gotten to a point where it had become pretty complex,” says Patrick Foster, manager of distribution and enterprise partner programs at ADTRAN. “We see this as a fresh start.”

Members of what’s officially called the ADTRAN Channel Partner Program can now participate at either the Authorized or Premier level. Any partner who resells ADTRAN products can join at the Authorized level. Partners who generate a minimum of $50,000 in revenue annually qualify for the Premier level as well.

The earlier partner program had Registered, ADvantage, and ADvantage Plus tiers, the last of which contained two additional sub-tiers. ADTRAN has now reassigned all of its existing program members to one of the two new levels.

“Anyone in any of the levels that was generating $50,000 this year, or over the last two years, we moved into the Premier level,” Foster says.

Members at both levels can collaborate with ADTRAN, which is a channel-only vendor, on sales leads. “We have a sales force of both regional sales managers and sales engineers that are available to our partners to help them in the entire opportunity, from understanding what solutions might be applicable to pricing to even coming in and helping to close the opportunity in meetings with the partner’s client,” Foster says.

All program participants get access to co-branded marketing materials and technical support as well.

Discounts in the new program, in addition to being fewer in number and therefore easier to digest than before, are more consistent across product families as well. “The bulk of our hardware that our partners are going to utilize is all in the same discount band,” Foster says.

In particular, he continues, Premier partners now get higher discounts on ADTRAN’s Wi-Fi products. “We shifted our Wi-Fi pricing structure to be more in line with—and the discounts the same as—our switching and routing discounts,” Foster explains. 

Authorized members who were Registered partners previously will receive a “double-digit” discount increase under the new structure, he adds.

ADTRAN expects the new discount model to help drive interest within the channel for a steadily growing product portfolio. The company unveiled a forthcoming family of gateway appliances for Internet of Things solutions and a 60GHz HPv2 CPE device last month, for example, and has more new hardware coming soon.

“Our product roadmap is pretty exciting right now, and bringing those to our partners at a price point where they can be profitable is something that we see as definitely being mutually beneficial,” Foster says. In a further bid to boost partner profits, he adds, ADTRAN will run promotions in conjunction with product launches more regularly in the future.

Other future plans for the program include the launch of enhanced training materials later this year, the introduction of a partner advisory council next year, and the possible addition next year of resources for partners selling into specific vertical industries. 

ADTRAN, which has about 800 partners worldwide today, used to have thousands, according to Foster, who says an accelerating wave of mergers, acquisitions, and business closures in recent years are responsible for that decline. Streamlining its channel program and increasing margins are both aimed at helping the company broaden and deepen its partner roster.

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