5 Stars: Taking our BizConnect partner program to the next level
Ricardo Warfield is Ciena’s Senior Director, Global Services Channel Sales, responsible for the development and execution of our global enterprise services partner strategy with the primary objective to drive incremental growth and profitability strengthening Ciena’s Channel Sales network.
For the second year in a row, Ciena’s BizConnect partner program has been recognized as one of the industry’s best, receiving a 5-Star rating in The Channel Company’s CRN 2016 Partner Program Guide. This annual guide is the go-to listing of technology vendors that service solution providers or provide products through the IT channel and the 5-Star rating is the highest attainable grade.
As someone who strives to build engagement with our Ciena BizConnect partners every day, this recognition gives me and our entire team great pride. But we also know that we have much more to do to support our partners in the best way possible. Let me tell you what we’ve done and where we’re going.
A Focus on Partner Enablement
Since last year’s announcement, our BizConnect program has made important strides to better prepare our partners for the changing face of the industry. Across verticals, end-users are demanding custom tailored networking solutions to remain competitive. With this in mind we have placed a strong emphasis on partner enablement over the past year. We want our partners to not only understand the technical specifications of our products but to also realize the specific use cases where our products can add value to an organization.
The current training offered through the BizConnect program has evolved into a combination of in-person and online where different learning tracks can be explored. Technical, sales and marketing learning tracks offer tailored training for different kinds of partner experts. In 2015 we trained 1000+ individuals; increasing our average number of experts we have with individual partners allowing them to identify more business opportunities.
Where We’re Going in 2016
Although we received a perfect rating, headed into 2016 we will continue to identify and implement new initiatives – after all another 5-Star rating certainly would be nice.
In 2016 we will continue to decost the partner investment to operationalize new solutions available to them. Continuing to develop an engaging online learning environment is a priority. Some of the logistic realities of our training program today mean that partners are often unable to sell the day of a product launch and our new training initiatives are removing unnecessary barriers. By increasing alignment through proactive engagement ahead of product introduction we are better educating our partners to enable them to sell the day a solution becomes GA, increasing their profits and footprint in the industry. A year from now you can expect a program that is easy to use and more efficient than ever.
Beyond the immediate future we are scoping out activities that will excite our partners. Re-launching our global Champions program, which recognizes the contributions of not just technical champions, but we’re expanding this to include sales and services champions as well. When provided the opportunities our champions deliver on creating innovative solutions for complex challenges and we want to ensure that they are given as many of these opportunities as possible.