Quest Software Revamps Partner Program, Offers More For Premier, Elite Partners

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Quest Software is overhauling its channel efforts to create a unified program for its 4,500 channel partners and boost partner cross-selling of the vendor's broad software product portfolio.

The new Quest Partner Circle program will replace a disparate collection of partner programs Quest operates today, a legacy from the company's numerous acquisitions in recent years, including RemoteScan, BakBone Software, Surgient, NetPro and ScriptLogic, among others.

"We've really been running with a lot of individual programs, some from our acquisitions," said Michael Sotnick, vice president of worldwide channels and alliances, in an interview. The new program will unite resellers, distribution partners and referral partners under a single umbrella program.

The channel accounted for about 40 percent of Quest's $760 million sales in 2010, up from 38 percent in 2008 and 39 percent in 2009.

"They really needed to revamp it," acknowledged Geno Cenci, who manages the Quest, Microsoft and Citrix practices at ePlus, a Herndon, Va.-based VAR. He praised the nuts and bolts of the new program the company is assembling. "It's the ecosystem of how we're going to be supported," he said.

"I think what they are doing with the Quest Partner Circle will be helpful," said Curt Wheadon, a global vice president with Dimension Data, a Johannesburg, South Africa-based solution provider that resells Quest's software migration tools and other products. While he said the channel program has largely been working in the U.S., it hasn't been very effective internationally.

The Quest Partner Circle will have three tiers: Elite, Premier and Registered. Sotnick anticipates that between 5 and 10 percent of Quest's partners will make it into the Elite category with another 15 to 20 percent categorized as Premier. The remaining 70 to 80 percent will be Registered partners.

Solution providers will have to submit 10 commercial and 5 public sector customer references to become a Premier partner, and 20 commercial and 10 public sector customers to achieve Elite partner status, according to the company. Both tiers must have trained and certified sales and technical staffers -- more for Elite partners.

With those requirements Quest joins other software vendors like Microsoft and Oracle that have upped the partner certification requirements in recent years.

Premier partners also must have semi-annual business plan reviews while Elite partners are subject to quarterly reviews. Premier and Elite partners will both have annual sales quotas -- higher for the Elite tier -- and both must pay a $500 annual program fee.

Next: Quest Channel Partners See Cross-Sell Opportunities

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