The changes reflect the wireless networking vendor’s transition in the last several years from a direct seller to a company that sells entirely through the channel, where the internal sales force now works to drum up business for partners.
Thousand Oaks CA-based Xirrus, which makes high-performance wireless networks, has announced the Xirrus Xcellerate Partner Program, a completely retooled partner program which revamps their deal registration program, introduces a new lead generation engine with new partnering with outside companies, and adds new co-branded vertical marketing resources and a redesigned partner program.
Xirrus has been making high end networking gear since 2005. K-12 is a strong market for them – it’s the majority of their business. Higher education, hospitality, large public venues, apartments, health care and SME businesses are also significant. Xirrus’ engagement with a channel to sell them to them is more recent, however, as the company originally sold direct.
“Over the last five years, we have been building out a channel,” said Malissa King, Xirrus’ Senior Director of U.S. Channels. “A year and a half ago, we changed to a model where all sales go through a partner, and our inside sales team’s role changed. We now help the partner sell to the end customer. We touch the end customer, but will bring the partner in, and won’t sell direct. Our inside sales people also call end users to generate new opportunities for partners. We are making them aware we have this sales development team, so they don’t have to set up their own call center to do this, and that we don’t charge them for it.”
Xirrus presently has close to a thousand partners enrolled in North America.
A common thrust through the changes to the program is to make Xirrus easier to do business with, something that tends to be front and centre in many program designs these days.
“We have completely overhauled the entire portal experience to make it easier for partners to do business with us,” King said. “We have recrafted it from ground zero. It has been streamlined from before, so it’s now more of a guided tour.”
A major change involving portal content affects the deal registration program.
“We decided to put more protection into deal registration,” she said. “The overall discounts are the same as before, but now more of it is in deal registration and not up front, in order to give the partners more protection.” Deal registration has also been made simpler.
New marketing tools with customizable content are now available as well. These include co-branded vertical marketing campaigns, vertical sell sheets, hot sheets to differentiate, brandable templates, and other online resources to assist marketing and sales of Xirrus products.
“This is something we had not offered before, so it is a net new asset for partners,” king said. “Partners have been asking for this.”
Some other resources have been enhanced. A new lead generation engine, which leverages the inside sales team, also incorporates new marketing initiatives for the program to raise awareness.
“This is something that we had before, but we are now doing some different things,” King said. “This includes partnering with Data.com and Social123, companies that do lead generation and email campaigns. We are trying to do some fresh new things here. We will also be doing a lot more digital marketing.”
Xirrus has also overhauled and rebranded its financial justification tool for partners. Now called Xirrus Edge, it dynamically quantifies Xirrus’ value and ROI versus the competition.
“It lets you compare with the competition in a fair manner, and looks at street pricing plus discounts, on a product to product basis, to give the customer accurate TCO information,” King said. “We have rebranded it and made it look a lot cleaner. It’s now a better tool to show value.”
Xirrus University, the company’s free online sales and technical certification program, has also been upgraded.
“We have enhanced it, and are really good at keeping information current,” King said. “We also reward them with a free access point for taking and passing the certification.” Demo equipment is also available for qualified sales opportunities.