Preventing partner flight

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28 January 2016 | 0

Billy MacInnesThere’s a story on TechTarget about the way in which EMC has made some alterations to partner programmes in the US in response to feedback from partners.

The storage giant has made a number of adjustments to its business partner programme (BPP) including raising rebates to certain partners, keeping revenue thresholds the same (or, in some instances, reducing them), removing the requirement on platinum partners to specialise in three solution paths and simplifying the product portfolio competencies for silver partners.

It has also replaced two separate quoting systems for channel partners and the direct salesforce with a single system, MyQuotes, which EMC believes will drive tighter collaboration between sales and partners. In addition, it has simplified deal registration and the market development fund claims process for partners.

While these changes aren’t exactly revolutionary, it’s good to see a vendor responding to channel feedback and making changes to its partner programmes accordingly.

It probably helped concentrate EMC’s responsiveness that it was potentially vulnerable to partner flight during the uncertainty and upheaval caused by its forthcoming acquisition by Dell. Mind you, that’s not to say some of this might be subject to change again following the Dell acquisition. Such is life when it comes to mergers and acquisitions.

Nevertheless, given the huge improvements in communication and collaboration delivered by the Web, mobile and social media in recent years, it’s perhaps more surprising that partner programmes aren’t subject to changes and tweaks more often.

There is a balance to be struck, obviously. No partner wants to spend more time monitoring and adapting to changes in vendor programmes or to face the uncertainty of the foundations of the relationship being messed about with every month.

In many cases, changes to partner programmes are (or should be) based on common sense. The underlying principle is to make it simpler for vendors and their partners to do business with each other while, at the same time, having a structure in place that will help to strengthen their relationship over time.

Vendors and partners are practiced at talking to their customers about removing complexity. It shouldn’t be so hard from them to understand that the best way to achieve a successful channel strategy is to keep working at removing the complexity between themselves.

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