Unified communications vendor 8x8 has launched a new partner programme which includes three types of funding.
The Business Partner Programme had a soft launch about a month ago and is the first "formal" programme for the vendor. It is the first programme to include levels, putting partners into Accredited, Gold and Platinum tiers.
Partners in the Accredited and Gold tiers are given the option of fast-track funding, new for this programme.
Charles Aylwin, director of channel and public sector at 8x8, said the funding is designed to help partners who want to do marketing, events and campaigns designed around 8x8 but do not have enough funds to do so.
"It does what it says on the tin," he said. "It is designed to take a partner that is pedalling hard and give them a lift. A partner may come to me and say 'I've only got a little bit of my marketing budget left but there is an opportunity, and I need your help'."
NASDAQ-listed 8x8 specialises in unified communications in the cloud. Based in San Jose, California, 8x8 reported a 29 per cent increase in revenue year on year to $209.3m (£157.6m) for its fiscal year 2016.
As part of its new programme, Gold partners also receive fixed-amount quarterly marketing development funds, along with Platinum partners.
Joint marketing funds are available for Platinum partners, which are designed to be an equivalent of the fast-track funding available for lower tiered partners.
Debbie Robertson, marketing director at 8x8, said: "This is pound-for-pound funding. It is when the Platinum partners say they will put in X amount, and we put in X amount as well."
Robertson explained that the funds are a way of making sure there is accountability from 8x8.
"If you distribute the money outside a programme, there is no accountability," she added.
Another feature new to this programme is PR support for Platinum partners. Partners have access to 8x8's PR agency and Robertson said the agency will write and distribute releases for the partners as part of the programme.
"Our Platinum partners have their own marketing teams already but they don't seem to invest in PR agencies," she said. "That's why we added this to the programme, which I believe is unique."
The original programme had over 100 partners, said Aylwin, and around 25 to 30 of those partners have already moved to the new programme.
Partners on the old programme will still receive access to collateral but will not have access to the funding and benefits that come with the new programme.
Aylwin said: "The new programme is about enabling partners who want to grow their unified communication and contact centre practices to do so as fast as they can, with as much support from 8x8 as possible."
Reseller partner du Pré is the first Platinum partner in the new programme. Its CEO Barry Anns said: "The great thing about Platinum partnership for us is we always had benefits of the academy which is very useful for training our staff but now there is increased sales training.
"The PR support is great. It's something we've never been able to do as a business, so we are hoping it will be really good for us. In terms of marketing support, we have already started to take advantage of the new funds."
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