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Chip Thompson, general manager at LevelOne Technology, a Waco, Texas-based solution provider and Enterasys partner, said the new ECSE certification and trainings will help partners rely less on Enterasys' Systems Engineers Account Executives (SEAE) when finding and closing deals.
"In the past, [partners] have relied heavily on the SEAE teams," Thompson said. "So the partner community will now be able to act a big more independently and then use the SEAE teams as a closing tool, or when they get into a more technical installation or configuration or application."
Thompson also said he liked that the ECSE certification would allow partners to take over the demo process at end-customer sites, as it creates more stickiness between partners and their customers.
"Typically, the partner would find the deal, and then the SEAE teams follow up and go do the demo," Thompson said. "Partners would go with them, but I would rely on the SEAE team members to really drive the presentation."
In addition to the new ECSE certification, Enterasys this year has committed to a tenfold increase in partner MDFs, along with additional margins on partner-initiated deals. Specifically, North American partners will be eligible to receive an additional 10 percent discount on any deals they independently find and register. There will be a $10,000 minimum order to qualify for the discount.
"Partners don't want to have deals just flipped to them," Van Pelt said. "They want to be part of the process. So this year we are focused on that."
According to Van Pelt, the changes being made to the Enterasys partner program in 2014 are the latest in a series of changes Enterasys has made to sweeten the deal for partners.
Last year, for instance, Enterasys implemented a new Sales Development Representative (SDR) team exclusively focused on driving leads for the channel.
"We have had the team in place over the last two quarters, and it is amazing the number of leads that we have. We have now hundreds of leads that we are providing to partners as a result of this," Van Pelt said. "And when I say a 'lead,' it's not just a name. We actually have our SDRs set an appointment with our team, and with a channel partner team, to go out to that [potential customer]."
Enterasys in 2013 also created a new packaged demand generation program that lets partners pick from a "menu" of different demand generation initiatives, including lunch-and-learns and other marketing events.
As a result of these efforts, Van Pelt said, Enterasys in 2013 saw a 20 percent year-over-year increase in the number of partners it has, making over $1 million in annual revenue. The company also saw a 225 percent increase in North America partner technical training attendance compared to the previous year.
Van Pelt said Enterasys has roughly 1,300 active worldwide partners and 450 active partners in North America. The goal now, he said, isn't necessarily to grow that number, but to enhance the relationship Enterasys has with its existing partner base.
"Where we find success is not in quantity," Van Pelt said. "We find success in those partners with which we have a mutual commitment."
PUBLISHED OCT. 4, 2013