Enterasys Tweaks Program, Focuses On Gaining Customers


Enterasys this week confirmed several updates to its partner program, hoping to catalyze solution provider business through a combination of financial incentives and more strategic partner engagement.

"2010 was a very good year for Enterasys, and really set the stage for 2011," said Bill Przybylinski, director of North America channels and distribution at Enterasys. "We want to motivate partners to acquire new customers and become fully enabled and self-sufficient."

Enterasys' 2011 Advantage Program adds a new partnership tier, Diamond, through which partners can receive Enterasys' highest available discounts, particularly if they bring new customers to the company. In addition to the discounts, Diamond partners also receive the most market development funds (MDF), priority prequalified lead assignment preference for opportunities that require advanced capabilities, and two free presale technical specialization classes.

Diamond partners have annual revenue requirement of $1.5 million in Enterasys business. Twenty percent of that, or $300,000, is required to come from new customers and new deals, which Enterasys defines as customers who have not purchased from the vendor in the past 24 months. Diamond partners are also required to have at least three Enterasys-certified sales reps and three technical specializations.

Requirements for Enterasys' lower tiers, Platinum and Gold, are respectively $1 million in revenue with $150,000 in new customer deals and $500,000 in revenue with $50,000 in new customer deals. The Registered level, its entry-level partner tier, continues to offer basic reseller privileges like eligibility for special pricing and access to the partner portal.

Overall, Enterasys now defines deals in every categories as "new customer, new deal," "existing customer" and "prequalified lead," with partner discounts successively lower depending on deal type and partnership level. The pre-sales technical specialization courses are also new.

Many VARs already earn a percentage off of Enterasys' list price if they buy through Enterasys' distributors, Tech Data and Synnex. At a Diamond level, however, a partner that registers a new customer deal where the partners have uncovered the opportunity and it's been approved by Enterasys' sales support can receive up to an additional 20 percent off list pricing, or between 6 and 8 percent if it's an existing account or pre-qualified lead.

Enterasys is also promising deal protection against volume-centric partners, Przybylinski said.

"We have some partners that vary in size, and we do have relationships with DMRs," he said. "But the partners have the best pricing offered on products. If a CDW wants to come in and register the opportunity, its registration will be rejected if it has already been registered to a partner."

Enterasys has already named nine Diamond partners in North America. The company's goal is to grow revenues by 20 percent this year, and hopes to double its business in select areas like wireless networking.

"Our sales team is our partner community. We have a high touch model," he said. "That's how we scale our company: with the right partners."

Enterasys remains an underdog, especially in its primary networking and data center businesses, to the Ciscos, Junipers and Dells of the world. But has spent much of the past year focused on versatile products and aggressive incentives to help enable Enterasys partners to push its wares.

Enterasys in July 2008 was merged with Siemens Enterprise Communications as part of a joint venture between Siemens and the Gores Group, which was also Enterasys' previous owner and now controls a 51 percent stake in the parent company.

In the past, there had been talk about Enterasys' partner programs and products being absorbed into the Siemens brand, but according to Przybylinski, the programs will remain separate, even though Siemens and Enterasys will both provide resources for larger partners that sell both Enterasys products and the broader Siemens line card.

"We look at partners together that have the desire and the need to build a complete portfolio, but our programs are separate," he explained. "But those partners with which we can show some synergy can receive a high return on their investment with us."