When Mike Fouts took over as Citrix Systems’ channel chief for the Americas, he listed building up the company’s SMB partner program as one of his top priorities.
Now, to be fair, he did so just weeks after the company signaled that a separate and discrete SMB partner program was coming, at the European edition of its Citrix Summit and Synergy events last fall.
But still, Fouts can put a big check mark next to that item on his to-do list as the company has outlined the details of its new global partner program for the SMB market.
While Citrix has long sold into the SMB market, it has put increased focus on the area since its purchase last May of Kaviza, the maker of a VDI-in-a-box product for SMB which has since been brought under the Citrix brand.
“This program is ideal for the Canada, with its large SMB market,” Fouts said. “That’s an opportunity that has been untapped.”
To make its partner program more attractive to SMB-focused VARs, the company has cut the price to get involved (partners pay $300 per year to get into the SMB program) and the time involved to get authorized (a 30-minute online course on the details of VDI-in-a-box and how to position it will get you through) when compared to its primary channel program. Fouts said creating the new program was all about trying to reduce barriers for smaller partners.
“We want it to be simple and easy for partners to pick up and start making money with it,” he said.
He said he expects the company has set goals of 1,000 SMB partners for this year in the Americas, and the company is expecting it to be about 50 per cent existing Citrix partners and 50 per cent new partners to Citrix. In Canada, that translates to about 100 partners in total – 50 new and 50 familiar. And after a month of talking to its existing partners about the program, Fouts said Citrix is about 40 per cent to its year-end-goal.
“New partners are seeing the market and seeing the potential for it,” he said.
The company is working with distribution partner Ingram Micro to identify and onboard new partners for the program. Fouts paints a pretty broad picture of the kind of partner Citrix is looking to work with on the SMB program. Basically, it seems to come down to a focus or practice on SMB, and a solutions-sales approach.
“We’re looking for folks who can offer a turnkey solution,” Fouts said. “We want to make sure they’ve got the resources to sell the product and to install it as well.”
The goal for the first half of the year is to get the partner base built, and then to “have a good selling motion” with the channel for the latter half of the year. He stressed that while it has goals in terms of the numbers to bring board (at a minimum,) there’s no real upper limit – the company is looking to engage with as many partners as possible to grow the VDI-in-a-box footprint.
Resources in place to support the launch include a Canadian team member dedicated to getting partners signed up, and an SMB-focused inside sales team that works exclusively through partners. The company wants to be clear, Fouts said, that in the SMB, the channel is its entire route to market. Its SMB inside sales reps are measured, and compensated, on the work they do with and through partners in the SMB market, while its field sales team is not compensated for SMB opportunities.