The new ‘Business Elite’ level will enable VARs to gain pricing discounts in sub-segments of Linksys’ portfolio – including routing, switching and wireless – upon completion of an online training course.
The higher accreditation will in turn be carved into Foundation and Specialised levels, with the latter offering resellers even higher discounts and rewards.
David Kelly, EMEA sales director at Linksys, told CRN: “We’ll ask partners to migrate to the system over the next 12 months. Either they will be comfortable with where they are or they will want to become a partner in one of the new areas to differentiate themselves.”
Kelly said he expected half of Linksys’ 500 UK LPC partners to gain a Business Elite Foundation accreditation in the next 12 months. He predicted that about 100 would go on to earn a Specialised status.
All of Cisco’s partners will automatically be given access to the Foundation level, Kelly added.
“The strategy is to build a channel programme that enables us to align with Cisco,” he explained. “There is now a path for resellers to follow if they want to start selling Cisco, so a lot of partners will welcome this.”
The programme is set to roll out in the UK and Europe this autumn, following its debut in the US last August.
However, Linksys’ move was immediately slammed by rival Netgear, which operates a one-tier programme in the UK.
Peter Airs, UK and Ireland channel director at Netgear, told CRN: “We certainly wouldn’t contemplate a tiered programme because you can’t start favouring one reseller over another based on their size.
“We offer training and accreditation to resellers that want to go for it, but give no financial rewards because we want to maintain a level playing field.”
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