ShoreTel's recently appointed EMEA boss is looking to assemble a crack team of partners to forge ahead in the enterprise market as part of plans to double regional sales inside a year.
The vendor also recently sent out a request for proposal (RFP), with the aim of identifying a clutch of distributors it can work with across the region to help drive its expansion.
Adrian Hipkiss joined the vendor as EMEA managing director in October, arriving from Vodafone. He told ChannelWeb he wants to replicate some of the top-end enterprise success ShoreTel has enjoyed in the US.
"We need to subtly shift and make people aware of the depth of solution that we have and the kind of solutions that we deliver with our partners," said Hipkiss.
He claimed he had identified five to 10 partners in EMEA that had a functional transactional relationship with ShoreTel, with whom he wanted to deepen ties.
"Maybe we are a small part of something much bigger," he said. "I want to try to enhance [those relationships] by investing in distribution and the way we support those partners."
On top of these, there are a further five to 10 resellers with whom ShoreTel may have worked on one or two strategic deals, but that Hipkiss wants to establish a more formalised relationship with.
"We need to go back to those [resellers] and say, ‘we would like to do more of this – how can we make bringing our solution into your portfolio as gentle and pain-free as possible?'," he explained.
ShoreTel will also look to ramp up demand-generation activities for five to 10 of its most committed EMEA partners, with a view to doubling the business they do together.
"I want to sit down with them and write a strategic plan – how do we accelerate to that next phase of growth?," said Hipkiss.
Finally, the new channel boss wants to identify five to 10 partners that can help drive ShoreTel in the 1,000- to 5,000-user market. He explained that these may be existing partners that are serving the 500- to 1,000-seat sector with ShoreTel. The vendor's financial stability may make it an attractive alternative to resellers' current enterprise vendor of choice, claimed Hipkiss.
"There is a lot of debt in this industry, and a lot of financial problems. But we are debt-free and cash-rich. That makes us an interesting proposition to consider bringing into [the enterprise] space," he said.
"So many organisations out there are driven by this results-orientated quarterly behaviour and they impose this on their resellers with those end-of-quarter deals: ‘yes, we will agree to a price, but you have to take all the equipment upfront'.
"If [one of our partners] has a two-year rollout, we will support them for a two-year rollout. I am determined that we will never have that end-of-quarter behaviour to enable us to meet targets."
ShoreTel recently sent out RFPs to look for distribution partners it can work with across the EMEA region to facilitate its ambitious growth plans. Hipkiss stressed this would not be "to the exclusion" of more localised or niche players.
"We are looking [for partners in which] to invest significant resource, and we will expect them to invest significant resource," he said.
Hipkiss' plans include "doubling the business inside 12 months".
"We are not sitting here worrying about our cash levels or the next tranche of redundancies we are going to make to keep the Street happy," he said. "We are identifying the opportunities where we can really get traction and grow."
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