Riverbed Fortifies Global Partner Program

The San Francisco-based company is putting a keen focus on North America as it builds up its global Riverbed Partner Network for VARs, integrators, service providers and distributors. In North America specifically, the new program includes VAR categorization, forward investment and new channel rewards that Johnna Bowley, senior director of channel and partner marketing, said will increase partners' business opportunities.

"We've had a partner program since our inception," Bowley said. "This is taking it to the next level."

According to Bowley, the program enhancements target high-performance partners that have a strong reputation in four key practice areas: application acceleration, IT consolidation, disaster recovery and WAN acceleration.

In North America, Riverbed launched four new categorization levels -- Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond -- which build upon the original two designations the program had in the past.

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The enhancements also add new levels of channel enablement, introducing two new training programs for VARs: the Authorized Training Program (ATP) and the Riverbed Sales Accreditation Program (RSAP).

ATP gives VARs that have completed the program the ability to offer Riverbed training courses for other solution providers and customers, giving VARs a new source of incremental income along with localized training classes to build out their competence.

RSAP offers free, online, self-paced training for Riverbed partners, an offering that lets VARs boost their Riverbed knowledge without incurring the costs of sending resources out of the office for additional training.

"Competence, we feel, is the crux of working with us effectively," Bowley said.

Bowley said Riverbed has also built up its channel sales model, adding in joint business planning for partnership development to provide inside and outside sales team support. Riverbed will also work with partners on marketing initiatives, including lead generation and new awareness programs, she said.

Riverbed is also paying strong attention to channel rewards to facilitate future revenue growth and reward current success, including a new discount structure and continued focus on strong up-front margins. The rebate structure will be created around growth goals and reward performance, she said.

"We've added several million dollars in investment in this program to drive initiatives; it's a much more robust program," she said. "We want to get our partner community feeling that they're sharing in the growth we've had to this point."