Reseller additions fuel ShoreTel aims

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Company targets 20 resellers as it looks for channel partners better prepared to extend its reach further into the enterprise market

Communications hardware and software vendor ShoreTel is aiming to expand its dealer channel with the addition of about 20 resellers, as it seeks to target bigger enterprises with its IP-based unified communications solution.

ShoreTel has already expanded its reseller base by 42 firms over the last 12 months, but ShoreTel Europe, Middle East and Africa marketing director Tom Perry said the firm is now targeting channel partners better equipped to extend ShoreTel’s reach further into enterprise.

The expansion will see some smaller, poorer-performing resellers trimmed from the firm’s channel, and while the firm hopes to bring in new recruits, Perry said he wants to retain a “level of exclusivity around being a ShoreTel reseller”.

He said: “We probably want to get rid of some seed partners, the smaller one-man-bands who probably drop one or two deals a year, and replace them with resellers who are used to talking more IT, more apps, more managed services.

“That’s a reasonably selective group of resellers you are targeting. They’ve got to be good resellers by being good on other products. We are always going to be the second or third product in there; to get in we have to change the hearts and minds of the sales people and say sell ShoreTel over one of the other vendors.

“That’s hard work, but it’s work we have to do if we want to get into these bigger enterprises.”

ShoreTel currently reaches just over 100 resellers via three distributors: Avnet, ScanSource and Cohort. However, the firm is directly engaged in recruiting and training new resellers. Perry said ShoreTel has no plans to recruit more distributors.

ShoreTel has roughly 120 resellers across the rest of Europe, but about 60 per cent of the firm’s European business is based in the UK, and the UK is the firm’s fastest growing market in the region.

Perry said that ShoreTel sees itself as a challenger to the big three firms providing business communications equipment and solutions in the UK. These are Cisco, Mitel and Avaya.

Avaya recently became the biggest provider in both the UK and the US as a result of the acquisition of the telecoms business of Nortel Networks in 2009.

However, Perry said that ShoreTel and Cisco had both gained market share from Avaya as the firm has had difficulty effectively integrating its two product portfolios.

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