Google To Funnel More, Bigger Deals Through Channel

Google has made changes to its direct sales organization in a bid to push more deals through its Google Apps resellers, give partners a crack at larger deals and reduce channel conflict, CRN has learned.

Michael Lock, Google vice president of enterprise sales for the Americas, said the tweaks, which were made recently at Google's annual sales confab, has "more sales reps working with resellers to close business."

Calling 2012 the "tipping point" for Google's reseller program, Lock said Google wants to give partners a larger stake. Historically, Google's midmarket unit was the most partner friendly and where customers worked almost exclusively with resellers. With the sales model changes, Lock said more partners will be able to target larger Google accounts as well.

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Lock added that by reorganizing the sales force the midmarket teams and managers that worked with resellers will not be responsible for sales in larger organizations, meaning partners will have access to bigger deals.

"The net impact may be more resellers being brought into more large deals more frequently," Lock said. "The changes that we're making will move [partners] further and further up the stack."

The changes also include a new compensation plan for direct sales reps who bring in partners. While Lock could say the exact compensation figures, he said the changes make it "advantageous for reps to move sales through the channel."

Google also invited its premier Google Apps resellers to its Google sales kick-off this month to show it's serious about the channel and to ensure its partners "are not treated as a tier two channel," Lock said.

Allen Falcon, CEO of Westborough, Mass.-based Cumulus Global, a Google solution provider, said the changes will also make it easier for partners who served the SMB space to tap into the mid-market as well.

"They've realigned their market definitions more along the lines of how resellers see the market," he said.

Additionally, Falcon said, the changes simplify the communications and the structure of the sales force in a way that makes it easier for partners to be brought into deals. Sales reps now can be sure they engage the right partner based on competencies and practice areas.

Falcon noted that incentivizing the sales force to push deals through the channel will also likely reduce Google channel conflict, a major issue for some Google resellers who have said that they feel Google is wooing larger deals away from partners and taking them direct.

"For me as a reseller it's going to be easier to tap Google resources as I have more business in larger organizations," he said.