New Plumtree Program Propels Partner Effort

Under the previous program, partners paid Plumtree a $25,000 quarterly subscription fee to receive a variety of marketing, sales and support services. Membership in Synergy Alliance is free.

Designed to woo global systems integrators, regional consulting partners, VARs and developers, the new program includes 40 percent discounts for partners that sublicense Plumtree's software, 10 percent lead-referral fees, a new deal registration program and the same positioning, market analysis and ROI templates used by the San Francisco company's direct-sales force.

"We are Plumtree's very first partner and have seen it morph into many things. This is the first time we've seen this much rigor being put into a partner program," said Robert Haddad, vice president of Project Performance, a professional services and consulting firm in McLean, Va.

Known as a player in the portal market, Plumtree now pushes its software for building and implementing composite applications in a services-oriented architecture environment. "We have significant revenue opportunities around portals and composite apps," said Tony Sanders, Plumtree's vice president of Worldwide Channel Operations. "The program is designed to address the unique requirements of the different kinds of channel partners, and provide the content and education they need to span from portals to [composite applications]."

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An "evolution" of the previous program, Synergy Alliance now provides 40 percent licensing discounts for Plumtree's software. In the past, Plumtree fielded a variety of programs with a confusing array of discounts, Sanders said. In addition, Plumtree now offers a 10 percent referral fee, with no cap, on leads that generate new license revenue. "This can be for an existing account—but not for add-on seats," Sanders said.

The deal registration program, designed to handle both referrals and reseller sales, is managed by Plumtree's channel organization.

"For referrals, the leads come directly to the channel manager," Sanders said. "They look at new license opportunities, see if the account is already registered or active. If not, they input the registration and market it as a new license opportunity. And the direct rep has about three days to commit to the sale."

Sanders said Plumtree's partners can challenge a direct rep's decision not to accept the lead. Partners can escalate the decision for arbitration, bringing in Plumtree management to decide the best way to go after the sale.

"We've done our best to mitigate conflict," he said. "If a deal goes through the channel, the direct-sales organization is incented to help close that deal."

Plumtree now offers a simplified five-page partner contract, down from about 25 pages. The program includes positioning and competitive analysis, ROI templates, sales and technical training, a designated partner manager and quarterly business reviews.