Citrix outlines partner priorities for 2010

SAN FRANCISCO – In support of the company’s go-to-market strategy with its channel, announced at Summit, this year, Craig Stilwell, vice-president of the Americas channels and field operations at Citrix Systems, is asking partners to lead with desktop virtualization and XenDesktop.

The company also encouraged its more than 8,200 global channel partners to take advantage of the trade up promotion around XenDesktop, which finishes at the end of June.

Citrix executives also mentioned that the company recently transitioned to a regional sales-based management model to help increase the company’s effectiveness in working with its channel.

David Wright, area vice-president for Citrix Canada, said previously, all sales management was done in Toronto. Now, the company has regional sales managers stationed in Calgary and Montreal too.

CDN had the opportunity to sit down with Stilwell to discuss some of these changes, and to also talk about how the company is working to help partners make more money.

Below is an edited transcript.

CDN: Give me an update on your Americas channel business in 2009 and so far this year?

Craig Stilwell: For a lot of our partners around the world, 2009 was a challenging year, however, a lot of our partners re-invested in their Citrix business and stopped focusing so much on other vendors, maybe to control expenses and to concentrate more on what they’re doing. Starting in Q4 ’09, those partners saw really good growth. That momentum carried over in Q1 this year and I’m hearing from partners that their pipelines are fantastic and are the biggest they’ve ever seen.

CDN: What sort of investments is Citrix making for its channel community?

C.S.: There have been some substantial changes to one of our flagship programs for the channel, called, Citrix Advisor Rewards, which is kind of like a deal registration program, but I think it’s a bit better than that. When partners register their deals with us, we work with the partners and the end-user customers to make sure the partner’s doing all the value-added activities like proof of concept, introducing new products and putting their own sales energy into a given opportunity. Once we validate that, regardless of who fulfills that (deal), that partner can receive up to 10 points on the back-end as part of the program. Also, since there’s been so much energy around XenDesktop, we’ve doubled down the Advisor rewards on that product where partners can receive up to 20 points when the deal closes. We’ve also put more resources out on the field ad consolidated some of the leadership. Particularly in Canada, we have David Cooper, who used to be the sales engineer manager up there. He’s now expanded his role to also include the channel (as national channels manager for Canada). Now we have more resources to be able to take care of our partners and help them to be better.

CDN: What are your plans and priorities for the channel this year?

C.S.: The biggest thing right now is really developing the channel that we already have. Across the Americas, we have about 3,500 channel partners. In Canada, that number’s probably 350-400 partners and the idea is to find within that group where the rising stars that are not maybe so ingrained in Citrix and turn them into more productive partners, as opposed to going out and recruiting thousands of partners. We think we have the right ones in the mix, we just need to do more to nurture them.

CDN: How is Citrix helping partners with branding, especially in the desktop virtualization space?

C.S.: Citrix in the second half of 2009 worldwide, spent a good deal of money on awareness and advertising around desktop virtualization and virtualization as a whole, to really get the name out there. We have a pretty strong competitor out there that’s pretty synonymous with virtualization and we found in the desktop arena in particular, going back a year, we weren’t quite at the table because people didn’t know we had a products there. We’re not seeing that so much anymore so the overall branding is having a good impact. In the channel itself and in the Americas in particular, we’ve created Marketing Concierge, where partners can go to get Citrix branded materials for advertising campaigns, or high-level awareness type campaigns.

CDN: What’s your message to partners from this year’s Summit?

C.S.: We’re asking partners to lead with desktop virtualization and XenDesktop. We’re really putting our money where our mouth is because if you lead with our products, you’ll be rewarded handsomely. The biggest help we need there right now is really driving that message and proof of concept.

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