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EMC also has implemented a new partner capabilities grid to make it easier for its sales reps to introduce the right partner to a deal. The partner capabilities grid is a search engine the sales reps use to check customer needs against multiple partners' skill sets and certifications to find the right solution provider early in the sales cycle, Ambulos said.
"They type in their opportunity in hand, and out comes a list of partners that have [the right] capabilities," he said. "They click on the partner, and the resources are there. They can go through and see all the certifications. It's a way to bring the right partner in early in the cycle so we can get the maximum amount of leverage."
Once the partner is involved, it is time for the EMC rep to move on, Ambulos said.
"At this point, we go off and try to find another opportunity," he said. "We know this partner is trained, has the ability to drive and conduct sales campaigns."
Should the partner capabilities grid identify more than one partner as suitable, the sales rep may work with the territory's partner development manager to make a decision based on factors such as who may be tied up with other jobs. Or it could be turned into an opportunity for the sales rep to visit partners with whom they are less familiar to understand their capabilities, Ambulos said.
"Our whole goal is about keeping our partners and their technical resources busy," he said. "It's not just about certifications. We have measurements in there about their ability to position our EMC solutions. Not just design work, but how to position it, how to close the deal."
The partner capabilities grid is clear evidence of how well EMC's new rules of engagement work, said Keith Norbie, vice president of Nexus Information Systems, a Minnetonka, Minn., solution provider and EMC partner.
"We're pretty much caught up on our certifications as part of getting our competencies in consolidation and BRS [backup and recovery services]," Norbie said. "In my experience, the grid is a way of doing account alignment. We and EMC talk about XYZ account, they say we're in there doing this, and you're in there doing that, so let's talk about how to work together."