This week, we announced our new Plantronics Partner Program, and I’m very pleased to be able to share some details about it with you now. To sum it up briefly, our new channel program is designed to help partners increase growth and profitability, improve customer satisfaction and speed up their return on investment.

The main difference between our new program and the Connect Program we launched in 2007 is that we’ve added new classifications and are making structural changes. A major structural change is the addition of a new track for integrators, alongside resellers. These changes will modify our program from one designed chiefly for hardware resellers who sell headsets as peripherals, to one that provides support and incentives to high-growth partners like integrators and managed service providers.

The new program features access to product training and certification, sales and marketing tools, deal registration, marketing development funds and rewards depending on the partner’s level of engagement with Plantronics. We’re offering three levels with increasing features and benefits: registered, gold and platinum. Our former program was volume and revenue-based. Now, revenue is not the main focus. It’s about what elements a partner brings to the table. It’s about pre- and post-sales support, alliance vendor certifications and certifications with Plantronics, in addition to revenue. The three Plantronics certifications are Unified Communications, Contact Center and Plantronics Manager Pro (our SaaS offering). Of these three, Plantronics Manager Pro is available only to the Integrator Track.

While we’ve been the leader in audio devices for more than 50 years, our strong growth in UCC, the strong alliances we have with UCC vendors and the growth of Plantronics Manager Pro have made us look at how our partners can support the needs of our customers and their variety of communications needs. There’s a certain expertise that’s required to sell Plantronics Manager Pro, so this was the perfect time to re-evaluate our program and invest more with our system integrators, solution providers, managed service providers and our born-in-the-cloud partners.

In the next six to nine months, we will also roll out more marketing resources and more incentives. It will be an evolving process rather than rolling it all out on Day One.

We’ve always been a channel-first company. We believe that by always improving our partner programs and investing more in partners with higher value to our customers will support and speed up our partners’ and our growth. We’ll continue to invest, enable and reward the partners of the future for the success of our products of the future.