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Growing together

Gamma extends partner support as Microsoft Teams continues to drive new opportunities

With employees returning to the office but also expecting and demanding more flexibility and a better work-life balance, organisations of all sizes are having to reappraise their working practices and reassess their long-term IT and communications needs. This presents opportunities for resellers who over the last two years have helped clients navigate the shifting sands of serial lockdowns by accelerating their digital transformation.

As businesses seek to build stronger and more secure foundations for the new era of hybrid working (not forgetting the ISDN switch-off in 2025), resellers will continue to have an important role in consultancy and delivery, not just of infrastructure, cloud and applications, but also of voice.

Many suppliers are well equipped to have these conversations with customers. Others, for example those that have Microsoft 365 applications as their starting point, may be less confident about their ability to deliver an all-encompassing voice and data solution.

This, says Neil Taylor, Head of Direct Partner Sales at Gamma, is why more and more potential partners are talking to the company about its Dealer proposition, in which Gamma provides unified communications as a service (UCaaS), SIP trunking and connectivity directly to the end user customer, including billing and first-line support. With the alternative Wholesale model, the reseller assumes responsibility for service delivery, billing and communications.

“There are various reasons why people might want to have a Dealer relationship rather than a Wholesale one,” explains Taylor. “Often, it is because the business is brand new to voice. Convergence, the blurring of the lines between IT and telephony, has already happened – we’ve got IT organisations that have gone through that transition and are now Wholesale partners. What we’re finding now is that we’re getting more interest from organisations that manage the customer software environment with applications like MS Teams, who may find voice alien and scary and simply want to refer customers to us.”

He adds that in about 80% of his conversations with new dealers, the driver is Teams.

Last year, Gamma strengthened its proposition for these partners with the launch of Operator Connect. Available as a direct-only product, Operator Connect essentially plugs the Gamma IP telephony network into Microsoft Teams environment, giving users the benefits of Gamma’s network that they can manage via their teams client along with proactive account management and a more cost-effective option for integrating voice into Teams.

“Other reasons for wanting to work with Gamma are end-to-end control – Gamma is the network; we deliver the end to end solution to the customer which means transparent service and support. Then there is the ability for a partner to go on a journey with us. Dealer has been a proving ground for many Wholesale partners in the past. Some Platinum Wholesale partners started on the Dealer side; we helped train them and get them experienced in selling telecoms until they were ready to be a Wholesale service provider.”

New structure

To help partners profit from voice, Gamma recently restructured its Dealer proposition, introducing Dealer categories such as Introducer, Core and Aspire, and providing more resource and support, especially for Aspire dealers – Gamma’s main target for partner recruitment.

“We still have Introducers – they’re ad hoc; they’ll bring us an opportunity and we’ll work with them. Then we have what we now call Core dealers who bring us regular opportunities and have access to our Dealer Asset Library of marketing collateral and a quarterly campaign that we run for them. And we have Aspire partners.

“These partners get access to more tailored content, to what we call Kickstart, where we do bespoke campaigns for them and provide our own outreach team to make phone calls and follow up on those campaigns to generate opportunities. We then work with them to convert those opportunities into wins by aligning the right sales resource to a particular opportunity. We really do throw a lot more resource at Aspire partners. We incentivise them with monthly and quarterly incentives to reward their salespeople for finding opportunities, but the real value is the marketing resource and the sales resources we give them.”

Gamma piloted Kickstart successfully with a few dealers last year and is now extending it to qualifying partners, typically Aspire partners with the right customer bases to target.

“We really need a decent sized customer base for a Kickstart campaign to work. We’ll generally run a quarterly campaign for a partner, with quarterly outreach activity. If we’re calling 250 customers, it probably takes us between three to six months to get all those customers called and qualified in or out.”

Mini campaigns

Gamma is now piloting mini campaigns to help existing partners with smaller customer bases to grow – effectively giving them the benefits of Aspire for the duration of the campaign.

“We’re doing one now for a partner with a small customer base of 50 to 60 customers, which has generated 10 upsell opportunities, three of which have closed already. I’m looking for partners with the appetite to add new revenue streams to their business by cross selling voice and data solutions into their customer base who want a partner that can support them every step of the way,” explains Taylor.

In the meantime, Gamma is continuing to expand its product offering. Last year, it launched Horizon Contact, a contact centre for Gamma’s hosted telephony solution, which Taylor says has gone down ‘really well’, and Phone Line Plus, an IP-based single line analogue replacement solution for micro SMEs that Gamma gained with its acquisition of cloud contact centre start-up Missions Labs.

Over the last 12 months, Gamma Dealer has extended its partner network by 10% and increased its share of total company turnover. With businesses needing to support flexible working in the long-term and prepare for ISDN switch-off in a few years’ time, its Dealer proposition will continue to attract IT and comms resellers and, increasingly, a new breed of partner that is happy to let Gamma do the heavy-lifting.

To find out more about Gamma Dealer, please email n.taylor@gamma.co.uk.

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TechnologyReseller: 2021