Along with the debut of its new specializations-focused partner program, Symantec rolled out a slew of enablement tools and incentives to help partners demonstrate products, access information and cash in rewards points for prizes.
Executives said that the enablement initiatives, launched Wednesday at Symantec's PartnerEngage conference held in Las Vegas, also complement Symantec's new specializations-focused channel program, driven by the need to further establish additional partner loyalty.
"The more enabled our partners are through accreditation and certification, we see that the more satisfied and loyal they are to us," said Toni Adams, Symantec vice president of global channel and alliances marketing. "Enablement is also a key component of the specialization initiative, which in turn, differentiates our partners and helps them maximize opportunity."
The enablement tools will be delivered via Symantec University, the company's primary conduit for educating and disseminating information, which includes technical training, knowledge and intelligence and communications components.
Executives said that the new tools found on Symantec University were designed to help partners throughout the entirety of the sales cycle, from presales to postsales support. The tools would also allow partners to become accredited in their chosen specialization, with sales, presales and technical training, as well as proctored tests.
Next: Symantec Rolls Out New Demo ToolSpecifically, the new tools include the launch of Symantec's Virtual Labs, which gives partners access to a cloud-based, preconfigured virtualized demo for Symantec products and solutions, giving partners the ability to exhibit products to customers with just a laptop and an Internet connection.
Randy Cochran, Symantec vice president of Americas channel sales, said that the company's existing sales demonstration tool, SymBrain, comes equipped with a search engine that enables partners with suggestions of products to sell customers, qualifying questions and answers customers might need. SymDemo works in conjunction with SymBrain to provide a realistic online demo that eliminates the need for partners to manually build their own VMware images.
"Everything's in one place, which makes it easy for us because we have one place to update it," Cochran said. "Now that you have the customer hooked on that, how do you demo that?"
Symantec also enhanced its enablement portfolio with Symantec IQ, a repository of information for partners, allowing them to easily access product and solution content generated by experts. The database allows partners to search for documents, presentations and tools designed to give them an extra boost when it comes to sales or support.
The new Symantec IQ site also provides partners a forum on which they can communicate with each other regarding niche areas of expertise or specialization.
Next: Symantec Rewards Partners With SymPointsIn addition, Symantec added a new incentive program, dubbed SymPoints. Like a travel mile program, the free SymPoints program provides partners with reward points, which are then totaled in each partners' personal account. Partners can redeem the points for prizes -- which have included an iPad, and other technology toys -- or save them for higher dollar items and travel opportunities. Cochran also said that partners can donate SymPoints to their favorite charitable organization.
Looking back, solution providers contend that Symantec is doing a better job of enabling partners, in part, because they have increasingly considered partners' feedback.
"The best example is the Partner Advisory Council. They're not just feeding us, they're actually wanting to be fed information that's relative. The things that we're talking about actually get implemented," said Kurt Klein, president of Santa Clara, Calif.-based CMT. "With the commitment and the success that we've had, we've probably had louder voice than somebody that's not selling as much. But through our efforts, we're enabling the partners below us."