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VMware's Six-Step Partner Acceleration Strategy To Drive New Deals

VMware channel leader Frank Rauch says partners will see increased customer win rates when they work with the company more closely around its framework of find, align, move, close, deploy and expand.

VMware channel leader Frank Rauch says partners are seeing higher earnings and shorter sales cycles and are better serving customers by participating in the company's six-step strategy of finding, capturing and driving new deals together.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based virtualization leader is investing in providing the channel with new leads, teaming agreements and product trials that are boosting customer win rates.

"VMware grew up in the channel, and we're going to stay in the channel. We do 80 percent of our business worldwide through partners, which hasn't changed over the last 20 years," said Rauch, vice president of VMware's Americas Partner Organization, during a session at The Channel Company's 2018 Best of Breed Conference Tuesday. "This is the way we're going to continue to go to market."

[Related: VMware's Pat Gelsinger: 'I Want To Disrupt Everything About The Security Market']

Rauch is urging VMware's partner community to work with the company more closely around its six-step partner acceleration framework of find, align, move, close, deploy and expand.

The first step is taking part in VMware's Project Voyager program that provides incentives and business leads to partners by leveraging the company's 500,000 vSphere install base as well as the partner's customer base. "We've invested in business intelligence both offshore and onshore to be able to analyze your install base and our install base to say, 'Where are they? What are they going to buy next?'" said Rauch. "We'll give you the list back, ranking the opportunities in order of, 'Who has not bought virtual storage? Who has not bought virtual networking? Who has not bought VMware Cloud on AWS?'

Through Project Voyager, VMware has improved closing rates for partners by over 20 percent and processed over 30,000 accounts in the Americas region alone, according to Rauch.

The next critical step includes teaming agreements that align VMware and channel partners to go after an opportunity together. The solution provider and vendor decide together which part of a deal each will provide, such as who will deliver services and who will lead the pursuing strategy.

"It's a great model and we need your help. So when you're in a call next time with a VMware rep, bring up this topic, 'What teaming agreement do we want?'" said Rauch. "The teaming agreements can also be a three-way deal. … We can bring in Dell EMC or HPE or AWS, so we can be inclusive of another partner because with VMware, you get a very wide ecosystem to be able to go after."

Tony Gaeta, vice president of sales for Razor Technology, a West Conshohocken, Pa.-based VMware partner and 2018 CRN Triple Crown winner, said VMware is successfully challenging partners to have the correct customer relationships and enabling them to add value.

"As long as you bring that type of fierce, 'Hey, we're in this together and we're committed and we add value' —they're providing us with a great partnership," said Gaeta. "It doesn’t matter whether it's midsize or enterprise, they challenge you to make sure you have the right relationships and that you bring something to the table."

VMware's third step in its partner framework is accelerating the sales cycle. Rauch said he wants the cycle to be under 90 days by providing partners with demos, online trials and test drives where customers and solution providers can test out the products such as hyper-converged infrastructure on-site. "We do over 1,500 assessments every quarter in the Americas. We have a great close rate," said Rauch. "That moves the pipeline along and decreases the sales cycle."

The next two steps in the framework are closing the deal and deploying the solutions. What's key for partners in these two areas of sealing the deal and implementing the products is that VMware is leaving the services opportunities up to the solution provider.

"We make more on our products and software than we do on services. Therefore, we don't have a big appetite to have this massive services group," said Rauch. "Your opportunity to be able to deliver services and gain services for your company, not VMware, is great."

The final step is all about expanding the opportunity within the customer by offering innovative and new solutions that the customer may be lacking such as virtualized storage and networking. Rauch said this also leads to shorter sales cycles and more stickiness for the channel. "We are able to say, 'What are the triggers at seven months, eight months, to be able to go back into the account and mine for that rebuy and to be able to get that rebuy,'" he said.

Gaeta said VMware has a "great amount of credibility" in the channel with a solid history of go-to-market and product innovation.

"Overall, what we really like now more than anything when it comes to VMware is the entire story," said Gaeta. "It's a story that is resonating."

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