ShoreTel Taps ScanSource as First VAR Distribution Partner
IP telecommunications vendor ShoreTel has signed on with ScanSource to work with its reseller channel partners and distribute its full line of IP-based business communications offerings, incorporating a two-step model in North America that has worked well for the company outside the United States and Canada.
“We don’t compete with our partners. We have a 100-percent channel model … and we have 550-plus VARs we manage directly,” said Don Girskis, ShoreTel’s senior vice president of worldwide sales. “Our go-to-market strategy outside the U.S. and Canada is a two-stop model, and we see the benefits in using a two-step model for us and for our reseller partners.”
“Part of our decision comes from partner request. Those partners of ours who are also ScanSource partners said they buy everything from ScanSource except ShoreTel. This will certainly help them,” Girskis said.
The company plans on moving its lowest-tier partners – Authorized Partners – to ScanSource for product fulfillment in August or sooner if they want, he said. Resellers at the current Certified and Certified Orange Champion Partner levels – the company’s two highest partner tiers – can choose whether they want to continue getting product direct from ShoreTel or work with Scansource.
“Though we’ve been growing 30 percent on annualized basis, we think a move will help accelerate and scale our business,” Girkis said, noting also that its relationship with ScanSource will also open the company to a population of potential partners to help propel its business.
ShoreTel also has deepened its distribution relationship with Westcon for the company’s large service provider partners, which normally like to work with both the manufacturer and value-added distributor, Girskis noted.
The company also is making changes to the branding of the tiers of its Champion partner program, changing them to Authorized, Silver and Gold to reflect the general nomenclature of other channel partner programs. “We wanted to eliminate the confusion that existed and go with a naming structure that was consistent with other channel programs out there,” said Annette Lorenz, senior manager of worldwide channel marketing.
For almost any other company out there, changing the taxonomy of its channel program would be big news, but ShoreTel has been on a tear of late in its quest to take its place among the Top 3 IP telephony vendors.
“Markets crave three leaders in every technology, and in IP telephony it used to be Cisco, Avaya and Nortel,” said Kevin Gavin, ShoreTel’s vice president of marketing, in an interview in October 2010. “Now, with Avaya picking up Nortel, there are two seats at the table. We feel we are capturing that third seat.”
The company in November scooped up mobile technology vendor Agito Networks, enabling channel partners to offer a solution that enables enterprise employees to use any device in any location on any network as their office phone line.
And in December 2010 ShoreTel named Peter Blackmore as its president and CEO. Blackmore is former president, CEO and a member of the board of directors of UTStarcom, a national IP-based network service provider, and a veteran of both Unisys and HP.