Q&A: Aryaka Channel Chief Craig Patterson on the New Accelerate Partner Program

This is Part 2 of a two-part series announcing Aryaka Accelerate.  The first part posted yesterday, Monday, November 1.

This week Aryaka unveiled the new Accelerate Partner Program for sales agents at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo. Aryaka has always been channel-friendly, but the new program takes it to a new level. We interviewed Craig Patterson, Channel Chief and Vice President of Sales – Americas, for Aryaka, about the new program and what it means for Aryaka partners.

What is the vision behind the Aryaka Accelerate Partner Program?

When I joined the organization seven weeks ago, I began an assessment and had conversations with the team internally and with people in the partner community. I quickly determined that we needed to make some changes in our partner program and our go-to-market strategy.

Looking at our historical performance, where nearly 90 percent of all sales have been derived from the channel, it was clear that we needed to go all-in with the channel. So, we pivoted to 100 percent partner-led go-to-market motion where the partners are the center of everything.

The vision behind the new Aryaka Accelerate Partner Program is to create a frictionless environment that sets partners up for success. Our goal is to come to market with something different.  There are a lot of partner programs out there competing for mind share, but most of them don’t truly drive value to the partners themselves.

What’s different about the Aryaka Accelerate Program?

We’re trying to eliminate all the unnecessary guardrails, rules and mouse traps in other partner programs. We’re not going to hold you to a quota. We’re not going to protect accounts. We’re not going to create approvals for channel teaming and channel integration. We’re not doing any of that.

So, it’s all about this frictionless environment without a bunch of rules. When you look at our value proposition, we want to be the “un-telco.” We don’t want to be the telco that’s sort of slow; we want to be nimble and agile. We’re the un-telco because we don’t have all these complex rules; we’re very easy to work with and have centered people and resources around the partners.

What are the elements of Aryaka’s un-telco approach?

Our program is simple. The partners are the center of the universe. We’re going to surround them with all the support resources they need.

  • Our channel sales directors facilitate partner training, onboarding and teach them the Aryaka value proposition.
  • When they have a customer opportunity, we then engage one of our strategic sellers. These folks have multiple years of experience with managed SD-WAN.
  • We’ll also engage sales engineering for complex deployments when needed.

Together, our channel sales director, strategic seller, sales engineer and partner join forces shoulder to shoulder to talk to customers about their particular needs.

What partners are you targeting?

Within Aryaka Accelerate, there will be several go-to-market partners – agents, resellers, alliances and a marketplace. That’s the overarching program. Beneath that, we have a Foundation Program for partners that are truly engaged and committed to Aryaka at the executive level. These companies also are willing to pay their sales reps to drive deals, certify their sales and technical staff, and participate in joint business planning and quarterly reviews.

Foundation Program partners are willing to do the things we need to be successful together. For them, we’ve created an account-based platform that truly drives value to the partners. We call it ABX, so it’s not only account-based marketing; it’s account-based everything.

We understand the customers that are a good fit for Aryaka in terms of their use case, locations, bandwidth, etc. We know who these accounts are. We understand that they have the intent to buy. We know what solution providers they’re currently using. We know who the key decision-makers are. More importantly, we know what solutions those decision-makers are looking at on a weekly and monthly basis. So, for those who intend to buy and are actively looking at Aryaka, there’s a high probability they’ll buy from us.

That’s when we employ the account-based everything approach with customer outreach, digital campaigns, banner ads, LinkedIn engagement, outbound calling, etc. — all to engage with those customers.

When does a Foundation Partner become involved in the sale?

At Aryaka, we’re 100 percent partner-led. Every sales motion we do always involves a partner. So, when we create customer engagement, we’re always bringing that back to the partner community. That’s where the value comes into play for the partner because we’ve done all the heavy lifting, we’ve identified the customer, and we’ve got them interested. Then, we introduce the partner to the customer to facilitate the sale.

How does a partner join the Foundation Program?

There’s no formal application. We’re looking for partners that want to be committed to Aryaka, want to offer a fantastic value proposition around SD-WAN and wish to offer their customers an amazing experience.

Once customers come on board, they love it, which is validated by Gartner, and they don’t leave us. Our average customer lifecycle is seven or eight years. So, partners can trust that their customers will not leave, which is critical to helping them build their businesses.

Why should partners take another look at Aryaka?

You may have known Aryaka in the past, but this Aryaka is way different for several reasons:

  1. We’ve got the new Accelerate Program.
  2. We’re going to be driving a lot of value to you as a partner.
  3. The use case around Aryaka has evolved. We’re not just a solution for people with global needs; we can also help partners’ domestic customers. So quite honestly, with the MPLS market being as ripe as it is to disrupt, we’re an option that partners should be looking at for every single opportunity.
  4. We have rolled out some amazing incentives for existing and new partners of Aryaka.
  5. Our team is simply the best in the business. I’ve brought in the best talent in the industry to ensure partners have an unreal experience working with Aryaka.

And we have some next-generation solutions coming out very soon. We’re going to be incorporating SASE into our global SD-WAN architecture.

About the author

David Ginsburg
Dave is currently VP of Product and Solutions Marketing at Aryaka, bringing to the company over 25 years of experience spanning corporate and product marketing, product management, digital marketing, and marketing automation. Previous marketing leadership roles included Cavirin, Teridion, Pluribus, Extreme, Riverstone Networks, Nortel and Cisco. His expertise spans networking, cloud deployments, and SaaS. Dave lives in Los Gatos with his wife, two daughters, and two dogs.