Data protection vendor Arcserve has announced a new partner program, the latest step in its strategy of reorganizing and enhancing its go-to-market mechanisms since it spun off from CA Technologies last year.
The new channel program comes on the heels of a major restructuring of Arcserve’s distribution strategy a month ago, when they changed from working with all three broadline distributors to working exclusively with Ingram Micro in North America. At that time they emphasized that they intended to use Ingram’s business intelligence capabilities to enhance their channel, and that is reflected in parts of the new program.
“This is the second part of a one-two punch after the distribution announcement,” said Christophe Bertrand, Arcserve’s VP of Product Marketing. “It will roll out initially in North America, because that is an area of great focus for us.” The program will subsequently roll out in other geos during 2015.
Arcserve has been sold through a 100 per cent channel model for years, even as part of CA, when it was in the slightly awkward position of being one of the few channel-focused elements in a company with a hybrid go-to-market model, but where the emphasis was decidedly direct. Arcserve is, however, emphasizing its 100 per cent channel model, and guarantee of zero conflict as part of the new program’s value proposition.
“We have architected a program based on looking at the competition and talking with industry specialists and analysts,” Bertrand said. “It eliminates the risk of conflict, and we want to be easy to do business with as well. We know it can be difficult to be simple, but the program is designed to do that, and to let partners transact with us simply and fast.”
Bertrand said the program has five fundamental rules of engagement, designed to make this happen. First, all opportunities will be treated as indirect, and must be sold through the channel. Secondly, Arcserve will respect partner incumbency, and then allow customer preference for other partners. Third, Arcserve will inform partners quickly of potential opportunities, and engage early in the sales cycle. Fourth, Arcserve will always have the channel partner deliver the quote to the end customer. And finally, Arcserve will maintain confidentiality regarding each partner’s accounts, opportunities, margins and pricing.
“We have also developed and deployed new systems on our end to facilitate this, and accelerate our ability to transact quickly,” Bertrand said. “We came from somewhere [CA] where systems were not well adapted to selling to SMBs, and we worked to rectify this. Working with Ingram Micro has also helped from a systems point of view.”
The new Arcserve program has three levels – Platinum, Gold and Silver. That’s down from the four tier program that had been inherited from CA.
“We scaled the program down to three tiers from four, dropping the old bottom tier out, to simplify the program and make it easier to categorize partners in a way that works for them,” said Stephanie Nalick, senior director, North America Channel Sales, Arcserve. “Partners told us that they don’t need a lot of tiers, and that they wanted a simple program.”
Tier eligibility is determined by a combination of booking revenue, and sales and technical accreditation.
“We also have a Jump Start program for partners who haven’t met the booking criteria, but who have invested in training,” Nalick said. “Ingram Micro has helped us identify those partners, partners we hadn’t been working with in the past, but who could be at a higher level. They will advance to the benefits of the next tier, and this will last for six months, during which time we will work directly with the partner on a scorecard on accreditation and overall pipeline build, to help them qualify permanently.” Nalick also indicated that no partners were being downgraded at this time from the tier they had held in the old program.
Input from partners in the program design found that among VARs, the most important program elements were deal registration, technical and sales training accreditation, and leads – in that order – while partner portal automation, volume incentive rebates and marketing materials were less important. Among Large Account Resellers, the priorities were different, with deal registration [unanimous number one], volume incentive rebates and SPIFs, and tech and sales training accreditation and MDF being the priority items, and leads, partner portal automation and marketing materials being of lesser importance.
Those priorities are reflected in the programmatic elements, including deal registration, top-line and bottom-line incentives like new logo acquisition bonuses, lead generation assistance, dedicated field support for Platinum and Gold partners, and free technical and sales accreditation through distribution. MDF support is provided to Platinum and Gold partners, with Silver also eligible based on their business model.
“Platinum partners also have renewal and incumbency protection, which is entirely new,” Nalick said. “They also go to the top of the queue in pre and post-sales support. Before, this prioritization was not to top partners, only to top customers.”
An automated SPIF rewards program using a debit card is currently in the final stages of development. It is scheduled to go live June 1.