Veritas Aims To Beef Up Partner Sales Training

The storage software vendor is working on repackaging the consultative sales training that it offers its direct-sales force for partners, Burton said in an interview with CRN. He said Veritas recently hired Julie Parrish, a former 3Com executive, as senior director of channel marketing to drive the partner sales training initiative.

The sales training initiative is aimed at getting sales reps to act like storage architecture sales consultants doing initial return-on-investment assessments for customers by asking the right questions, Burton said. "Ultimately, that is going to help them get up the food chain a bit, and they are going to sell more solutions," he said.

"Once we feel like they are trained, then we can put some MDF [market development funds] dollars together, or we can run a few programs together and maybe open some doors for them," Burton said.

Mark Teter, CTO of Advanced Systems Group, a Denver-based solution provider and longtime Veritas partner, said the sales training may be too little, too late for his company. He said he has grown increasingly frustrated with Veritas and is now looking for alternative vendors. "They used to be a very strong channel-focused company, but in the past 12 to 18 months that partnership has deteriorated," he said.

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Teter said he has seen increasing channel conflict as Veritas has moved to aggressively sell enterprisewide site licenses. "Veritas has got to become more aligned with partners," he said.

Burton, however, said he does not see much conflict between partners and Veritas' direct-sales force. Sometimes channel players bring Veritas into an account, and other times Veritas brings partners into an account, he said. "There are big accounts where the channel partner has better relationships with IT and the CIO than we do," Burton said. "And there are accounts where we have a better relationship. My sense is that the customer has made the decision as to when they want a direct relationship."

Burton confirmed that Veritas recently laid off a number of account reps, systems engineers and channel reps. "Although there were people moved around and certain positions were eliminated, the desire was not to cut back on overall support for the field and cut back on overall support of the channel," he said. "Our view was it is kind of a tune-up and moving people around and less overlays."