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Commvault's New Channel Strategy: ‘Partner-Led’ Featuring New Rebates

Commvault is coming off a fresh channel reorg after former Puppet CEO Sanjay Mirchandani became its president and CEO, and is offering a new series of rebates to reinforce the company's partner-led strategy.

Commvault’s Riccardo Di Blasio

Data management and protection software developer Commvault Monday unveiled a major change to its channel program it said will make it easier for partners to make money working with the vendor.

The change, primarily focused around a significant increase in the way partners can receive rebates, is part of a move by Commvault to implement a partner-led go-to-market strategy, said Riccardo Di Blasio, chief revenue officer of the Tinton Falls, N.J.-based vendor.

 "Commvault's new go-to-market strategy will be partner-led," Di Blasio told CRN. "We looked at how to be impactful for our partner community, including tier-1 and tier-2 VARs. The way we serve our clients is through someone else. And that someone else is channel partners. We want to provide more benefits for them, not only paying them better than the competitors do, but much better."

 [Related: Commvault Hires Former Puppet Master Sanjay Mirchandani As New CEO]

Di Blasio in May joined Commvault in the wake of that company's hiring of former Puppet CEO Sanjay Mirchandani as its new president and CEO. That hire led to Commvault reorganizing its channel team, particularly to the departures of Ron Miiller, senior vice president of worldwide sales, and Owen Taraniuk, global head of partnerships and market development.

 Carmen Sorice, Commvault's vice president of worldwide route services, told CRN that the change in channel leadership was not an upheaval but more of a continuing development in the company's channel strategy.

 "As we rolled out a channel strategy, we decided to move the business closer to the field and to the regional organizations," Sorice said. "That resulted in some management changes. And with Riccardo on-board as our chief revenue officer, this will accelerate that movement."

 Di Blasio, who previously served as CEO of Globetouch and held executive roles in Cohesity, VMware, and EMC, said changes in a company's channel often accompany a change in CEO.

"[Mirchandani's] ready to make a second act for Commvault," he said. "The previous CEO was also the company's founder. And when there's a new CEO in such cases, you can expect changes."

Sorice said that, since last year’s Commvault Go partner conference, his company has invested on simplicity in the channel program and in improved partner enablement, and is now focusing on improving benefits in three ways.

The first is a big expansion on new customer rebates, which are additional rebates vendors offer to solution providers who sign net-new clients. Commvault is now extending those rebates to be offered to all sales to a new customer made through the partner within 180 days of signing the customer, Sorice said.

"They get 180 days to expand their business and get more new customer rebates," he said. "Andy they also continue to get backend rebates for those sales."

Commvault is taking the gloves off with partners who sign new customers, Di Blasio said. "For us, this is not about a new customer," he said. "We consider this a way to churn the water. We don't want partners to think they're transactional."

The second new incentive is what Sorice called proxy quota rebates. Commvault has been offering quarterly bonuses to partners who meet their sales quota for each quarter, but will now expand that with an additional annual bonus, with new accelerator bonuses for partners who hit 120 percent or 150 percent of their annual quotas.

"We don't want partners to just hit their target, but to do it again and again," he said. And as the year goes on, a partner might miss a quarterly bonus, but can still get the yearly bonus."

The third change is increased business development funds which enable partners to get more funds to do joint marketing and demand-generation programs with Commvault, Sorice said.

It's good to see Commvault looking at how to make rebates easier to achieve, said Glenn Dekhayser, field chief technology officer at Red8, a Costa Mesa, Calif.-based solution provider and long-term Commvault channel partner.

"It's good to see the new rebates are not an all-or-nothing proposition," Dekhayser told CRN. "Even so, we sell Commvault primarily because it's a vastly technically superior product."

Dekhayser said he will be closely watching the impact of the new partner benefits.

"It will be interesting to see how partners leverage those enhanced rebated to get their sales forces more excited about selling Commvault," he said.

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