Juniper Easy 8 Gets Easier For Partners

The modifications, which primarily affect the vendor's Easy 8 deal-registration initiative, are among the first visible changes to the J-Partner program since Frank Vitagliano, vice president of worldwide channels and U.S. enterprise operations, came on board, partners said.

Vitagliano told solution providers attending the company's partner conference in May that he planed to implement changes to improve channel-field relationships and make it easier to do business with the company.

Among the changes, Juniper has removed the requirement that a Juniper Territory Account Manager (TAM) had to meet with the end user involved in every qualified Easy 8 opportunity. That requirement was onerous and created the perception that partners needed a Juniper TAM to help handle all new accounts, which is not the case, Vitagliano said.

"Philosophically, it reinforced behavior that isn't necessary. I'm very comfortable with partners driving these transactions end-to-end, and while the Juniper direct sales team will be engaged in many of them, particularly the larger ones, we have lots of opportunities that our channel can drive end-to-end without the TAM necessarily involved," he said.

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Jeff Hiebert, CEO of ROI Networks, a San Juan Capistrano, Calif., solution provider, said the TAM requirement had been cumbersome, particularly in competitive deals, so its removal should help speed the sales process.

"There could be latency in that process, and if you're in a heavily competitive bid situation, the last thing you want to do is chase around somebody's calendar," Hiebert said.

After listening to Juniper's channel partners, Vitagliano said he also saw the need to open up the program to include smaller deals and expand the definition of the type of deal that would be eligible for Easy 8, which provides partners an extra 8-point product discount on registered sales opportunities.

To that end, the program will still provide an extra 8-point discount off list price on registered deals of $75,000 or higher but will now also give partners an extra 4-point discount on deals between $30,000 and $74,999.

In addition, the program is no longer as strict in its definition of what types of deals qualify. Now a sale to any customer that hasn't purchased Juniper gear within six months is eligible, as is the purchase of a new technology within an existing account. Sales to new locations within existing accounts are also now eligible, Vitagliano said.

The changes will improve margin on a large number of Juniper deals for ROI Networks, as 70 percent to 80 percent of its Juniper product sales are less than $75,000, Hiebert said.

"The program changes should add 20 percent to 30 percent revenue growth over the next 12 months and drive competitive margins," he said, noting ROI Networks is on track to sell $750,000 worth of Juniper products and related services this year, compared with less than $100,000 last year.

Said Rich Tear, vice president of managed services at Iomega and former CEO of CSCI, a solution provider and Juniper Elite partner that's now a wholly owned Iomega subsidiary: "A midsize SSL VPN sale usually comes in around $50,000 or $60,000, and it was crushing when it came in just below the limit."