Eighteen months into the launch of its ACE (Accelerate, Captivate, Engage) Partner Program, Versa Networks is celebrating its win of ChannelVision Magazine’s 2022 Overall Excellence Visionary Spotlight Award in the Channel Deployments of the Year category. Launched in early 2021 to address the rapid growth in SASE, the Versa ACE Partner Program is the company’s formal global channel partner program for VARs, SIs, SPs and MSPs.
“It is an honor to be recognized for channel deployments of the year with this Visionary Spotlight Award,” said John Atchison, Versa’s Head of Global Channel Marketing, in a press release. “Our comprehensive program enables partners to capitalize on the rapidly growing SASE market opportunity and become their clients’ full-service provider of the industry’s leading SASE solutions. Versa ACE partners benefit from a program structure which fosters a synergistic relationship for growth, new opportunities, and prosperity both today and into the future.”
One of the features of the ACE Partner Program is the provision of a ramp-to-revenue plan that enables partners to quickly onboard and successfully start generating pipeline within 90 days. The program structure requires that partners complete the prescriptive sales, pre-sales and technical training and certifications to successfully facilitate customer engagements that deliver unique customer value.
The program was created to generate new recurring revenue opportunities and increase profitability and margins through the creation of new partner value-added services, enabling partners to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
When launched, the ACE program focused on providing partners with the information and technical training that would boost their identity as a trusted advisor. As partners are getting up to speed on technologies, Versa starts to work with them on a demand generation program, discussing which marketing activities they may prefer and working on a partner-driven press release that announces the new alliance. “In addition, we talk about activities such as joint webinars or a social media campaign. Within 60 days, we can have a plan in place to execute the activity,” said Atchison.
One of the key components of the marketing program that Versa provides its partners is support for social messaging. Social media syndication is a key component of any go-to-market plan, said Atchison. “And if the vendor does the heavy lifting, the partner then is more willing to take the curated content and make it available to their customer base. We’ve been very fortunate that our partners are really leveraging our social media platform to get the word out.”
Using the GaggleAmp social media syndication platform, Versa shares curated content with partners that they can automatically share through Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Atchison estimates that about 40% of the partners allow content to be shared on their social sites without review. The remaining partners examine the posts and pass along those that are more relevant to their audiences.
Larger partners with their own social media programs appreciate the access to high quality, curated content, said Atchison. The smaller partners truly benefit from the efficiencies afforded by leveraging the automated platform.
Partners have access to an ample library of materials to share. “When I joined Versa two years ago, I was really impressed with the amount of content that the company creates,” said Atchison. “Within our partner portal, we have playbooks that, depending on the solution and depending on the product, have case studies, vertical case studies, data sheets, and third-party reports.”
Third-party report are especially influential marketing assets, said Atchison. “The icing on the cake are reports by third-party organizations about Versa products, such as the Gartner Magic Quadrant reports. They tell partners that they are engaging with a leader. And because a lot of customers look at them – especially C-suite decision makers – these reports make it easier for partners to get their attention.”
All marketing materials are organized in a way that makes it easier for the partners to consume. Versa offers a platform that allows partner to co-brand assets and add their value proposition. The company is transitioning to a new platform that will enable partners to access assets, upload their mailing list, and then distribute them. The new marketing automation tool should be available later this year, said Atchison.
Whether a partner’s organizations is large or small, Atchison said Versa is determined to provide engaged partners with the support necessary to succeed. “If their leadership is gung-ho about going out there and finding opportunities, we’ll provide the tools they need,” he added.