Avaya UK boss tears UK channel partners list in HALF

Culmer bares teeth, warns direct sales force not to bypass resellers

Anyone in Avaya UK's direct sales force wanting to bypass the channel must justify it to recently landed country chief Simon Culmer.

It seems that Culmer, who pitched up at the unified comms vendor in May is staging something of a channel love-in – but not all of the current 800 resellers/integrators will be smothered with hugs and kisses.

While laying down tough ground rules for the direct sales team, Avaya plans to halve the number of UK channel partners by the beginning of fiscal 2013.

Former Huawei Enterprise UK and Ireland boss Culmer said: "Our priority is rationalising partners that do not have up-to-date accreditation or generate a base revenue for Avaya."

This means any Avaya SME accredited reseller turning over less than $10,000 a year with the vendor or any Unified Comms and Contact Centre resellers flogging less than $25,000 will be shown the door.

"To that end we expect to rationalise our partner base in the UK and Ireland region to approximately 400 partners over the next few months," said Culmer.

Around 80 per cent of Avaya UK and Ireland sales are through resellers with the remaining direct proportion largely from "legacy voice services contracts" with large global customers.

The plan is to push the channel mix to closer to 90 per cent within two years by cementing ties with the remaining bunch of partners, the firm claimed.

"We prefer to work via partners because it gives us scale and reach. If anyone wants to take a piece of business direct it has to go through me, I've made that very clear [to our internal sales team]," Culmer added.

It is also true of course that building a direct sales force is an unnecessary cost in the midst of a recession: "We can't have that breadth and level of specialist skills [in-house]," said Culmer.

There is no tacit threat of rogue sales bods being fired for pilfering offences but Avaya UK's big dog reckons everyone is clear on the strategy.

Avaya flip-flopped between direct and indirect strategies from its formation in 2000 after the unified comms and call centre units were spun out of Lucent Technologies.

But the vendor put in place a more channel friendly model from 2004 and Culmer said it remains "channel-centric". ®

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