Intermedia launches free marketing automation platform for partners

Intermedia arms partners with a free marketing automation platform and new Intermedia University courses to boost sales; more IT channel news from the week.

Cloud company Intermedia has ramped up its partner sales and marketing resources by introducing a free marketing automation platform. Additionally, Intermedia has expanded its training hub, Intermedia University, with more courses for selling Hosted Microsoft Exchange, Email Archiving and SecuriSync backup and file sharing.

Partners can use the marketing automation platform to schedule month-long campaigns created from Intermedia's customizable templates for emails, landing pages and social media posts. A typical campaign will include a multi-touch landing page with white papers, videos and ROI calculators; four email blasts; and 25 Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn posts. Partners have access to campaign metrics and lead alerts to track the impact of each campaign, as well as a built-in lead-scoring system that measures prospects' "digital body language."

Jon Borgese, senior director of channel marketing at Intermedia, said that while many partners understand "they need to take their sales and marketing efforts to the next level," many believe their efforts aren't where they should be. He cited a recent CompTIA study that revealed only 32% of partners consider their sales and marketing efforts highly effective.

"When I looked at that statistic, it wasn’t surprising, for a couple of reasons," Borgese said. "First, it’s very challenging to be sales and marketing experts for all of the products tied to the dozens of vendors that channel partners work with." Second, marketing requires human resources to do research, design and curate content, and operate sophisticated tools like traditional automation platforms, which can be costly.

"We wanted to help solve this problem for our partners in respect to our services," he said.

Technology & Beyond, a managed service provider (MSP) based in Pittsburgh and a member of Intermedia's advisory board, was one of the first companies to adopt the marketing automation platform and has blasted about 25,000 emails through the platform so far.

Felix Yanko, president of Technology & Beyond, said he favors email campaigns over other types of marketing efforts, especially Google AdWords. "Email is a medium where if you look better than the other guys and you magically make it through the spam folder, you have the chance of being noticed," he said. Many MSPs focus their marketing efforts on Google AdWords, which makes it an increasingly expensive marketing tool to use each year, he added.

Before adopting Intermedia's marketing automation platform, he said Technology & Beyond created its email campaigns with whatever it could come up with in house. Intermedia's email campaigns offer a much more sophisticated look than what the MSP previously achieved.

"Just from the email blasts that we've done, we've gotten 70 or so leads ... A third of them were actually quoting, but, still, that's pretty good," he said. "I think as we tweak [our campaigns] and Intermedia gives us more campaigns, we'll definitely be able to generate a lot more revenue."

Avaya bolsters customer contact center offerings, launches Breeze

Avaya announced new capabilities for its customer contact center offerings, an application development platform and an e-commerce marketplace.

In one product thrust, the company said it has fully virtualized the core communications platform behind Avaya's Customer Engagement line. A company spokeswoman suggested this development will simplify cloud migration for partners and their end customers.

In addition, Avaya unveiled Breeze, an application development platform focused on customer engagement software. The company also took the wraps off its Avaya Snapp Store, which will provide an online marketplace for applications developed on the Breeze platform. Avaya refers to those applications as "Snap-ins."

The company spokeswoman said Breeze will let partners more easily develop applications and/or embed them as Snap-ins into their customers' workflows. She also noted partners can develop apps and sell them through the Avaya Snapp Store to generate revenue. She said partners can set pricing with Avaya charging what she described as a small fee for Snapp Store hosting.

IT channel news roundup for the week of March 7

Here's a look at the channel news highlights from the week:

  • Alfresco Software, an open source enterprise content management and business process management software provider, launched its new Global Partner Program. The program will recruit "global and super-regional solution providers" and streamline Alfresco's OEM program.
  • Talend, a big data integration software vendor, said it has recruited 30 reseller partners in France, Germany and the United Kingdom. The company's Value Added Reseller Program in Europe launched in March 2015.
  • Unified Office Inc., a managed service provider focusing on hybrid cloud-based unified communications (UC) and virtual office services, said it has expanded its Visual Performance Suite capabilities by adding a WebRTC management portal. The company sells through channel partners.
  • In another UC announcement, Masergy Communications Inc. said its Unified Communications as a Service offering now integrates with Microsoft Office 365 desktop applications, a linkage the company said provides an integrated UC experience for Skype for Business users.

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