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Solution providers will find several other enhancements to EMC's Velocity channel program.
One of those is a new partner relationship management system to bring better leads to partners and to better track those leads through to closing the deal, EMC's Ambulos said. Partners that closed deals in the past will automatically get first crack at new opportunities stemming from future technology refreshes, he said.
"Right now, we're tracking the close rate," he said. "We're tracking who gets the leads. I go to a partner sometimes and they say, 'Hey, I never get any leads.' I can say, 'Wait a minute, I see you got 25 leads in the last three quarters.' Sometimes, it may not be communicated up that they're getting leads. Sometimes we'll have a focus group with a partner and say, 'Hey, you just got five leads, now let's go do something with this.'"
Ambulos said EMC is also rolling the separate channels that EMC inherited with multiple acquisitions over the years into a single channel. For instance, there will be no more separate channels for EMC’s backup and recovery systems and for its Isilon line. However, EMC will keep separate business development specialists for certain products, all of whom will report to the partner development managers in individual territories.
Within each territory are EMC technical consultants focused on helping partners develop their skill sets, managers who help partners build out their implementation and professional skill sets, and field marketing managers who help with demand generation. EMC also created new business unit specialists around its Isilon and backup and recovery services offerings to help partners build out their capabilities in these areas, Ambulos said.
Ambulos said EMC currently has about 11,000 solution provider partners worldwide, of which about 50 percent are active partners in any given quarter. The company picked up about 5,000 new partners, one-third of which are in the U.S., in 2011 after its huge January 2011 product launch, Ambulos said.
Two years ago, EMC got rid of revenue-based tiering in its channel program and focused instead on competency-based tiering in order to make it easier for partners, particularly those with a regional focus, who invested in the EMC program to compete with larger national solution providers, Ambulos said.
"So we said, 'Hey, if you're making the investments in the territory, we want to make sure you're able to capture any kind of benefits and compete on an equal footing if you built out your competencies,'" he said.
The result has been an increase of 40 percent in year-over-year technical certifications for solution providers that took advantage of face-to-face and online training. Partner individuals spend an average of 16 days a year on getting those specialties, he said.