Xirrus aggressively targets rival partners for channel growth

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Wireless vendor Xirrus has reported a 40 percent growth in its UK channel over recent months – claiming it is luring resellers away from bigger rivals with the offer of greater margins.

Despite trading in the UK for four or five years, Steven Armstrong, international channel manager says Xirrus has seen “a significant ramp up in partners” approaching the firm recently, with the firm bolstering its channel since launching a new partner programme in April.

He claims that aside from its technology portfolio, Xirrus’ selling point is its position as a smaller, independent vendor where there’s less competition and higher margins.

“We’ve had a lot of partners coming to us because of the margin erosion,” says Armstrong. “We’re one of only two independent WiFi vendors left – us and Aerohive – and we’re not over-distributed so we’re able to offer high margins and support our partners better.”

“Wi-Fi is Wi-Fi – there are only so many times you can sell on technology. If there are 10 – 15 resellers competing to sell the same product set – the likes of Cisco, Aruba, Ruckus – they’re highly distributed products, they have hundreds of resellers sell the products. Consequently the margins come down, down, down.”

The difference with Xirrus resellers, says Armstrong, is that they won’t be “one of 20 people quoting the same technology…In a bidding situation, our partners tend to be [the sole] Xirrus partner bidding, so you have the ability to obtain more margin and offer higher value.”

According to the exec, an increasing number of VARs and system integrators selling rival technologies are approaching Xirrus after coming up against them in deals. “They’re technically-astute channel partners – high-end VARs – who are saying ‘we’re sick of hearing about you in opportunities,’ he says.

“We’re actively targeting other vendors’ channels with what I believe is a fundamentally stronger channel proposition,” he adds.

The firm re-launched its channel programme in April, which saw the addition of a new entry-level tier of partner, Authorised, to its existing Silver, Gold and Platinum line-up. It also launched a new portal that provides partners with access to deal registration, MDF for gold and platinum partners, online learning materials and a new TCO tool that enable partners to compare Xirrus against other vendors’ solutions.

“Partners are looking at 15 – 20 points margin purely on deal registration,” says Armstrong.

The vendor says it is also picking up larger VARs – including Kelway, Insight and NextiraOne – as well as network operators. It recently signed up a UK mobile operator, which delivers Xirrus high capacity WiFi as part of its 3G and 4G strategy and enterprise wireless offering.

In addition Armstrong says the firm is “wholly committed to increasing our presence in managed service space, and have signed numerous large MSPs.”

Xirrus currently has between 115 – 120 resellers in the UK. Last year the firm, which operates a 100 percent channel sales policy, experienced 300 percent growth in revenue in the UK.

While traditionally strong in education and healthcare (education currently delivers 45 percent of the firm’s revenues in UK), Xirrus is also focusing its channel recruitment activity on the enterprise and consolidating its position supplying large public venues.

“We’re looking to build to build out in the enterprise space where we can build a significant number of channel partners because there is so much enterprise business out there,” adds Armstrong.

Christine Horton

Christine has been a tech journalist for over 20 years, 10 of which she spent exclusively covering the IT Channel. From 2006-2009 she worked as the editor of Channel Business, before moving on to ChannelPro where she was editor and, latterly, senior editor.

Since 2016, she has been a freelance writer, editor, and copywriter and continues to cover the channel in addition to broader IT themes. Additionally, she provides media training explaining what the channel is and why it’s important to businesses.