Equinix expects that the new program, designed to end channel conflict and properly reward partners, will attract new partners and significantly raise channel revenues.
Redwood City CA-based Equinix, which offers colocation, traffic exchange and outsourced IT infrastructure solutions to enterprises, has announced its first partner program, to provide support for partners who are, in large part, some of their customers as well.
“We provide colocation services, and our typical customer is looking to expand their data center footprint,” said Pete Hayes, Equinix’s Chief Sales Officer, who runs both direct and channel sales.
Equinex sells mainly direct, but Hayes estimated that between 10 to 20 per cent of their business comes through sales made by partners, who are typically their own customers referring, reselling or building Equinix into their own solution.
“This channel has always been there, but it hasn’t been supported, so that we didn’t know who was being sold to, which would create conflicts with our direct sales, particularly as the direct rep got no credit if a partner sale was made in their area,” Hayes said. “There were contractual agreements allowing reselling, but we didn’t offer any special prices. We did create a referral program for partners to give a referral and get compensated, but there was nothing programmatic, and the referral payments weren’t very competitive.”
Hayes said that Equinix has been working on this program for a year.
“We had to do a variety of things at the same time, although we also had the luxury of starting with a clean sheet of paper,” he said. “We had several goals, with the key being eliminating conflict with the sales team. We also wanted to have consistent pricing around the world, to have training materials available for our partners, and to have channel reps to support partners and help them with joint selling.”
Now the direct sales are compensated for partner sales that go into an account that the rep has, so they will get credit as if they sold the deal.
“This will make sure our sales people are just as motivated to sell a partner solution,” Hayes said.
“The program is flexible and gives partners several options – referral agent, reseller or cloud technology provider,” said Chris Rajiah, Vice President Worldwide Channel Sales and Alliances at Equinix. “Having a lot of product offerings and a market-leading brand enables partners because it lets them maintain trusted advisor status and gives them more mindshare with the customers.” Equinix also has strategic partnerships with leading cloud service providers, including AWS, Cisco, Google Cloud Platform, IBM SoftLayer, Microsoft Azure and NetApp, to give partners more choice.
“Partners like the ability to be able to offer our services as part of their solution,” Hayes said. “Now that we are channel friendly and won’t compete with them, it makes us more attractive. Us not competing with them is where partners will see the biggest change. We have people who will support them and call on them and help them in joint selling. We have gone to a channel-friendly company in very short order.”
Equinix has gone from six channel-focused people a year ago to about 60 globally.
“The company has made a significant commitment to the channel, not just in programs and marketing but investing in talent,” Rajiah said. “We have increased resources sixfold in the past year, including dedicated channel sales reps and account managers and program managers. It’s a pretty significant people investment.”
Hayes indicated they expect Equinix will see a significant return from the investment.
“Within a three year time frame, the channel could be half the revenue of the company,” he said. “We think many more partners will be interested as they see our value proposition.”