Tuesday, December 11

Adtran Pushes for Partner Quality

By The VAR Guy

What if you could buy a Cadillac for the price of a Chevy? That’s the basic approach to business at Adtran, which is gaining momentum as a low-cost/high-quality alternative to Cisco network solutions. Sure, The VAR Guy spends most of his networking energy blogging about Cisco. But Adtran has a bit of buzz in the market.

One case in point: During a call with a major solutions provider last week, The VAR Guy heard about multiple Midwestern municipalities that are deploying VoIP networks using Adtran’s networking gear.

That’s not the only example. Roughly 1,700 VARs are now promoting Adtran solutions to their customers, up from about 700 partners last year, according to Ted Cole, VP of  channel sales at Adtran. At the same time, Adtran has increased its North American channel territories to 13 from 9, and each territory now has two dedicated Adtran specialists rather than one, Cole adds.

Looking ahead to 2008, Adtran’s goal is to ensure its partners are both engaged and empowered. Cole estimates that it takes VAR anywhere from 9 to 18 months to get into a rhythm selling Adtran solutions.

Cole will also get “back to basics” with partners in 2008, striving to segment them into the appropriate target markets and support levels. One of Adtran’s challenges is to push harder into the mid-market, where customers with 500 to 1,000 seats are ideal targets for Adtran solutions.

Is Adtran ready to slay Cisco? Certainly not. But sometimes the press — and The VAR Guy — forget multiple companies can succeed in the same market.

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