Symantec Preps Partner Program Changes Ahead Of Conference

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Symantec is readying a new channel program that it says will reward partners that are committed to the software maker and can sell a more integrated set of products.

The company plans to roll out a retooled channel program next month when its closest partners meet with the vendor at its North American Partner Exchange in Scottsdale, Ariz. Speaking to financial analysts Wednesday, Symantec CEO Steve Bennett said the company has transitioned its sales team to conduct more field engagements with partners and recently took the wraps off multiyear engineering road maps, which will also be presented to partners.

"In the past, we treated everybody the same, and everybody sold everything. All of our incentives were volume based," Bennett said. "You're going to see a strategy much more aligned to having franchises of our products based on the channel's ability to sell and have the technical ability and capability to sell and service the customers and create demand."

[Related: Symantec Blames Sales Model Changes For Second-Quarter Losses]

Few details have been released, but the channel program economic structures, Bennett said, will be changed to better reward committed partners and enhance margins for partners that can go to market with a broader set of integrated Symantec products. Symantec is coming off a quarter with lackluster sales that was caused, Bennett said, by disruption to its sales force, which has been retrained into information management and information security specialists.

Michael Goldstein, president of LAN InfoTech, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Symantec partner, said field engagement during Symantec's restructuring has been "nonexistent." The lack of communication prompted a discussion about whether or not to consider reaching out to another security partner, Goldstein said.

"There's a very in-depth product line so having a local contact come by to explain what's going on is important," Goldstein said. "The relationship becomes very different when you get pushed to go through distribution." 

Margins have been good under Symantec, Goldstein said, but any improvements to Symantec's channel engagement that reward vendors for their technical capabilities would be welcomed. "We shouldn't have to worry about our overall volume is," he said.

In addition to announcing a complete overhaul of the Symantec product lines to focus on streamlining and integrating a set of more than 100 point products, Symantec told CRN in January that it would retool its go-to-market strategy based on further embracing channel partners for sales.


NEXT: Committing To Program Changes, Partners

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