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Ward, Mobisson and other partners said they were pleasantly surprised when SugarCRM executives agreed to virtually all of their requests, including the channel-neutral compensation plan and clearer rules of engagement between partners and SugarCRM sales reps.
Another partner who asked not to be identified said regional SugarCRM sales reps and managers can now count channel sales toward meeting their sales goals.
Mobisson said other granted requests, which he declined to detail, will result in increased profitability -- around 10 percent to 20 percent -- for partners and incentives for partners to prospect for new customers. Cross said SugarCRM has promised to invest more in improving its partner portal and to provide more joint marketing opportunities and market development resources.
"They agreed to all the things we requested," Ward said, adding that the results of the partner-SugarCRM executive meetings at the conference "suggest they are finally doubling down on the partner channel, which is very motivating for a partner like us."
"They figured out that the business partners bring a lot of value to the table," said Anthony Castle, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Plus Consulting, a Pittsburgh-based solution provider that works with SugarCRM, SalesLogix, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce.com applications. "I think they want to be a channel-friendly organization."
Castle gets the sense SugarCRM's preference is to work with fewer partners that bring more to the table and provide them with high-quality sales leads. "I think they would be happy to work with a handful of partners in each region that are doing quality work."
"I think everyone's generally excited about the new model," said Heidi Tucker, vice president of global alliances at InsideView, a SugarCRM ISV partner that develops prospect and customer intelligence applications that run with SugarCRM's software. She attended SugarCon and said the partners she spoke to were upbeat on the SugerCRM relationship.
"They began to show some real empathy," Mobisson said. "SugarCRM clearly heard the partner community." He said company executives would have to "continue to demonstrate empathy for the partner community" and execute on their commitments.
Solution providers involved in the meetings said partners, in reciprocation, agreed to measures that make them more accountable to quantifiable performance benchmarks.
Ward said he's pleased with the direction the relationship with SugarCRM has taken. "When the vendor relationship [with partners] is one of good, solid, open, honest communication, you can really build revenue with that."