Symantec is extending payment terms for SMB VARs

Symantec Canada (Nasdaq: SYMC) is following in the footsteps of several other vendors and offering a stimulus program for its registered and silver partners because of the tough economy.

The subsidiary, based in Toronto, has developed a program for partners who have an SMB specialization to receive extended terms of 60 days instead of 30 through that reseller’s preferred distribution partner.

Symantec has partnered with GE Capital to provide these 60 day terms and has also received support from Ingram Micro Canada, Synnex Canada and Tech Data Canada. The program will end on January 29 of 2010. The only hitch is that resellers will still need to be approved by GE Commercial Distribution Finance. Symantec will be funding the finance fee associated to every transaction dollar for the first 60 days when the channel partner selects the Net 60 day program. That means the 60 day extended terms program will come at no cost to the reseller since Symantec Canada is paying for it.

Canadian channel chief Fred Patterson said that a concern voiced by many small business customers is access to credit and financing when acquiring new technology. He believes this new program will help the SMB and channel partners with the financing issue.

Symantec settled on Net 60 days instead of 90 days, which some other vendors have chosen to offer, because of the feedback from customers and partners. According to Patterson, both communities think Net 60 is flexible enough for their needs.

“We need to keep in mind that this program is not the only thing we are making available to SMBs and the partner community. There are promotions and other discounts that will pad margins or reduce costs to customers. Over time there will be additional things we shall roll out. Our program will evolve and we will add to it,” Patterson said.

How the program works is first a partner must have or earn an SMB specialization accreditation from Symantec. Then the partner contacts GE Financial and applies for the program. GE reviews the partner’s credit and approves the application. From there distribution is informed that this partner is eligible.

The partner now can place extended terms orders at distribution. Distribution processes the order and GE pays distribution at Net 30 days. But, the partner pays GE within Net 60 days. As mentioned earlier, Symantec Canada pays the fee for extended term deals.

“This program is relevant to these times and the key to this is the approach. We are trying to add value and in return those who sign up they get a unique way to finance SMB deals, get there certification in place and focus on the solution,” Patterson said.

Patterson also see this program as a way to boost SMB specialization for the Canadian operation. Symantec is increasing its focus to better align resources for the SMB in the reseller community. Currently, Symantec Canada does roughly 50 to 60 per cent in that category of 10 to 99 seats. “This is an effort to extend the membership in SMB specialization and enable partners to reach out to customers on our behalf. Symantec cannot reach far enough and deep enough in the SMB so we rely on the SMB reseller and we’ll pursuit more relationships in Canada through the SMB,” Patterson added.

To that end, Symantec Canada has developed another program called Survive and Thrive in an attempt to better educate the channel on business management.

The program has lined up noted channel guru Bruce Stuart of ChannelCorp to deliver a seminar series on maximizing cash flow, sourcing investment capital and improving the bottom line.

The program runs for a total of 24 weeks and consists of five Web-casts and 12 self-paced learning modules. It comes at no cost to the reseller partner. To register visit

Patterson said that the Survive and Thrive program addresses the business side of managing a reseller business. “Many small businesses realize they have to deal with big customer data issues and they do not want that to diminish given the resources they have. You will see more programs like this one geared towards this segment. It’s important and it requires unique programs and processes,” he said.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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