San Diego, Calif. — Although Julie Parrish, the vice-president of the global channel office at Symantec, is pleased with the company’s current channel and customer reach, she says there is still room for improvement, particularly when it comes to building and enhancing upon its partner programs and incentives.
Symantec recently launched the Authorized Consulting Program (ACP) and the Technical Assistance Partner Program (TAPP), two new service programs for partners. To coincide with these programs, Symantec has also created rebate programs in addition to other incentives which help partners increase their revenue and sales opportunities.
CDN‘s Maxine Cheung sat down with Parrish during Symantec’s annual Partner Engage event this week to discuss Symantec’s channel strategy.
CDN: How is Symantec working to attract partners to advance in your Partner Program?
Julie Parrish: Partners move up into our program by taking training, passing tests and by selling and marketing our products. There’s a motivation to take the training and to participate in the program because the more requirements they meet in the program, the more they move up and the more benefits they receive. Also, most partners understand that they’ll be more effective selling, installing and porting the products if they take our training. In some cases, there are additional incentives at play, such as opportunity registration. You can’t participate at the highest level of discount and opportunity registration unless you’ve taken the training and certifications. We also have the Partner Rewards Program, which is for products where partners have actually taken the training and certifications.
CDN:What’s Symantec doing to expand its reach and overall market in the industry?
J.P.: Every year in the January-February time frame, we take a look at where the markets are that we want to play in and how many sales reps that we have. From there, we then go on to build our plans to understand how many channel partners we need. For the most part, we have excellent channel coverage in all major markets, so we’re not necessarily looking for new resellers to touch those customers. We really want to focus on working with our current partners to ensure products and coverage as opposed to always looking for new ones.
CDN:How is Symantec working with the channel to ensure the new Endpoint Protection software will get to the right customers?
J.P.:We’ve done a huge amount of work ahead of time to help prepare our partner community for our new Endpoint Protection software which includes, sales training, tours throughout various cities in North America and throughout the world, technical training and marketing materials. So we’ve actually had June, July, August and almost all of September to pre-train and to get the messaging and training in place for our partners.
CDN:You said Symantec already has a great deal of partners and coverage already, but for those partners who have not yet come to work with Symantec, why should they want to work with you and what’s in it for them?
J.P.:Our total number of partners is around 60,000. 5,000 may go and 5,000 new ones come in, so there’s quite a bit of turn at some of the lower levels. So we’re comfortable bringing new ones in. The number one reason to want to work with us is because we sell stuff that customers need. Every company needs their data and infrastructures completely secured and protected. We also have market leading products that span throughout our portfolio and the fact that we’re truly a channel-focused company will be beneficial to those partners who are looking to get in.
CDN:What can partners and end users expect to see from Symantec moving forward?
J.P.:Partners will see, in the coming year, a continued emphasis on building and delivering programs that really enable them to deliver more services. Partners can choose to resell Symantec services, they can take our IP and then add their own things to it, or they can access service providers on our behalf selling their own services. What partners would really like to see is more rebates. How partners can really make money and their margins is through being able to solve problems through the service areas.
CDN:Let’s switch gears and talk about Dell. What do you think of Dell in the channel and how do you think Symantec will be affected?
J.P.:They’ve been doing this for a while and I think it was a natural extension for them to do this. In terms of impact on Symantec, I don’t really see one. They’ve been in the market for such a long time that I don’t see it shifting our business. On the direct side, they’ve had a very efficient cost structure which has allowed them to compete. I don’t know if they will be able to maintain this when they sell through the channel. They’re such a big player and they’ve been kind of quietly touching on the market so I think we’ll just have to wait and see, carefully.
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