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IGEL Gets Serious With New Velocity Partner Program

‘IGEL had a good partner program, but it needed a revamp. For instance, having different rebates on the front end and the back end doesn’t just help sales reps. Instead, it shows us that IGEL is a profitable product line. That’s important for business owners in the channel, especially as customers’ budgets get tight,’ says Paul Kunze, vice president of sales at IntraSystems.

Cloud workspaces technology developer IGEL has completely revamped what has been an inconsistent and almost invisible channel program with the addition of capabilities to make it much more comprehensive.

The new IGEL Velocity partner program, which quietly launched Jan. 1, replaces a hodgepodge of partner benefits IGEL has been providing partners until now, said Balaji Subramanian, senior vice president and global channel chief for the San Francisco-based vendor.

“We had regional programs, but nothing consistent or global,” Subramanian told CRN. “Now we are being consistent, global, and more meaningful for partners.”

[Related: Solution Provider CPC Creates New IGEL-Focused Business Group]

The biggest difference between IGEL Velocity and the company’s previous approach to the channel is a shift from a focus on transactional relationships to being jointly aligned with partners on go-to-market initiatives, Subramanian said

This includes moving from offering only front-end discounts to now including back-end rebates for solution providers and distributors, he said.

“This makes our entire program more profitable,” he said. “And we’re not cutting the front-end for partners.”

IGEL is also now offering to help its focused partners build business plans for the first quarter through the fourth quarter of 2021, Subramanian said. “The plans are not just focused on revenue, but also on the enablement, on how to get partners the skills and training they need,” he said.

Those skills and training are for the first time also being offered to partners free of charge, Subramanian said. “We’re adding learning paths for sales, technical, and architectural professionals, all free,” he said.

Also new are market development funds, or MDFs, as well as deal registration discounts, Subramanian said.

“When a partner registers a deal, we ask the partner upfront if they were the source of the deal,” he said. “If so, we reward them more. And, if a deal is registered, we will protect the partner. If at the end the customer decides to go with another partner, we will make sure the incumbent partner gets paid.”

IGEL is now focusing on different partner types, including advisor partners, traditional resellers, MSPs, and systems integrators, and offering them a consistent program no matter where they are located, Subramanian said.

“Before, the implied front-end margins were all over the place,” he said. “Now, regardless of what type of partner one is, they know what they are getting up-front. And the same with the back-end rebates.”

Overall, the IGEL Velocity program is one aimed at increasing the ease of doing business for partners, Subramanian said.

“We’re also focused on the operational excellence behind the program,” he said. “We launched a new portal with a single point of view so that partners can see how they’re doing, what rebates they earned, what they earned them on, when they get paid, were MDFs approved, were they paid, who in their company is certified, and how they are doing to maintain their partner level. Now it’s all in one portal. This will make it easier for us to engage with each other.”

IGEL has come a long way in its channel relationships over the past few years, especially since it brought in former solution provider executive Jed Ayres in as CEO, said Paul Kunze, vice president of sales at IntraSystems, a Braintree, Mass.-based solution provider and IGEL channel partner.

“IGEL is now a success in the U.S.,” Kunze told CRN. “The company has great people, and executive sponsorship across all the players. And the fact that the company is a software-only developer helps. It makes the company much better received among clients. The seven-figure IGEL deals we do are software-focused. Customers don’t have to replace hardware devices. The cost to replace hardware is painful.”

Overall, the IGEL Velocity program shows the company has graduated into the big leagues of partner-friendly companies, Kunze said.

“IGEL had a good partner program, but it needed a revamp,” he said. “For instance, having different rebates on the front end and the back end doesn’t just help sales reps. Instead, it shows us that IGEL is a profitable product line. That’s important for business owners in the channel, especially as customers’ budgets get tight.”

The new MDFs and other changes are important to show partners that IGEL is serious about working with them, Kunze said.

“The MDFs help us show that we have a critical offering for customers,” he said. “This, combined with help in business development, helps open doors to new customers. And it’s getting harder to open doors via phone or email.”

A lot of the success IntraSystems has had is because of the work Ayres did, Kunze said.

“Jed has done a lot to increase IGEL’s visibility,” he said. “The company is the best in the market. Jed has great teams, and has brought in a lot of new people. But the visibility of the company is phenomenal. People want to hear about IGEL because it is more visible.”

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