Zendesk Overhauls Partner Program
Zendesk, the provider of customer service software, is overhauling its five-year old partner program in an effort to make channel partners central to the company’s go-to-market strategy.
A global company that sells multichannel customer service and engagement products, Zendesk wants to increase the business it does with partners and expand its channel. Zendesk’s solution serves a range of customer types from new economy customers to traditional ones, including B2B and B2C across a range of vertical industries.
“Zendesk made the decision to invest more in partners, a decision that comes down to a few drivers,” Ricardo Moreno, vice president, worldwide partners and channels at Zendesk, told Channel Futures. “We know that we’re at our best when we work with closely with partners to deliver solutions to customers, so partners are important to our growth. Additionally, when we think about our expansion to sell and expand more into the enterprise and our coverage needs, we need partners to help do that.”
About a year ago, Zendesk announced its open CRM platform – Zendesk Sunshine – powered by Amazon Web Services. Since the initial introduction less than a year ago, the company announced new partners and integrations to make it easier to connect siloed data and deliver better results to customers. To get more product impact, and deliver a more complete solution, Zendesk began turning to system integrators.
In addition to working with system integrations, Zendesk is looking for solution providers, consultants and contact center outsourcers.
“We’re putting together a better platform for our partners to work with us,” said Moreno. “It’s a modern platform that rewards partners based on value. So, if [partners] do more, provide more and are better qualified then they’re going to get better rewards.”
Zendesk says its flexible framework allows partners to refer, resell, implement, develop, integrate or any combination of these services depending on the opportunity, and what suits the partner business.
That wasn’t the case with the vendor’s previous partner program that didn’t differentiate between partner types and offered flat rewards.
Improving the partner experience is key to Zendesk’s new partner program. In addition to more training and education, as well as a new training platform, Zendesk is providing better content, an improved solution directory, and better contracting with partners. The partner portal has also been redesigned to make it easier for partners to do business with the company.
“We’ve also improved our communication with partners, and I have expanded our team to support our partners,” said Moreno.
The new Zendesk Partner Program is now value-based and has three tiers: affiliate, select and master. Level attainment will be based on a partner’s abilities, demonstrated capabilities and the business they’ve done with Zendesk.
Partners get paid on skills and application of those skills — the more a partner does, the more the partner is rewarded.
“Partners with more capabilities, partners who contribute more and drive the sale, bring in deals — we’ll pay them more, get higher rewards, MDF [and so on],” said Moreno.
Partners will also see Zendesk put more branding and communication around the program promoting higher-level partners, giving them more visibility with potential customers.
Zendesk has begun briefing existing partners on the new partner program and will transition them into the new program on Feb. 1. Starting immediately, new partners will be onboarded into the new program.