EMC To Unveil Three-Tiered Channel Program, Ups Investment In Channel By $20M

The new program, dubbed the EMC Velocity Partner Program, includes a significant increase in co-op funds and channel incentives, said Terry Richardson, vice president of global resellers at the company.

It is important that EMC use the channel to reach markets it cannot reach alone, Richardson said. "One of the design points in the definition of our channel strategy was making sure that we can truly leverage partners and channels to help drive down our cost of sales," he said.

The Velocity program splits EMC's partners into three tiers.

A key part of all three tiers is that partners must get one or more of their sales and presales technical personnel accredited by EMC to gain the benefits of the program, Richardson said. "Up until now it's been encouraged," he said. "Now it's required."

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Solution providers at the Velocity Reseller level must commit to minimum annual sales of $250,000 in EMC sales, said Richardson. They must offer at least one EMC-focused marketing program per year and have at least one EMC quota-carrying sales rep and one EMC presales engineer per region. Such partners will be eligible for 1 percent in co-op funds and other performance-based rebates.

VARs at the Velocity Partner level are expected to sell $5 million in EMC products annually and put on two or more EMC-focused marketing programs per year, Richardson said. At least one-fourth of its sales people and one-fourth of its presales engineers per region must get EMC certification. In return, EMC will offer them 2 percent co-op funds, a 1 percent rebate for attaining sales goals and a 3 percent rebate for meeting stretched goals.

At the Premier Velocity Partner level, solution providers must commit to $15 million in annual EMC sales and must get at least half of its sales reps and presales engineers certified, said Richardson. EMC will offer such partners 3 percent co-op funds, a rebate of 3 percent for reaching sales goals and a rebate of 5 percent for reaching stretched goals.

All three levels are also eligible for agent fees, as well as a 5 percent deal registration incentive, which is up from 1 percent to 2 percent in the past, he said.

Sales certification will be offered over the Web free of charge to solution providers' sales personnel, Richardson said. They will have to pass nine tests to get certified and then take one test per year to maintain that certification.

Presales engineering personnel looking to get certified must take 12 tests based on over-the-Web training and one instructor-led session, he said.

About 20 channel partners have already received the necessary accreditations to join the program, but Richardson said he expects a large number to get accredited by the end of June and be ready when the program takes effect.

Richardson said that while solution providers that register deals are eligible for the 5 percent incentive, such registration does not protect them from other channel partners, including Dell, taking the deal away at the last minute.

However, he said such registration does protect against poaching by EMC's direct-sales organization. "If the deal is registered, and an EMC sales rep takes it, we pay the partner 12 percent and penalize the direct rep," he said.

Also starting in July, EMC plans to roll out a storage configuration program called Channel Express, Richardson said. The program, referred to in the past as CPQO, short for configure, price, quote, and order, will implement the latest available technologies for configuring systems, placing orders and checking order status.

EMC currently splits its market into two segments--direct and commercial, said Richardson. In the direct space, the company has 1,800 named accounts, but partners are allowed to work with these accounts, he said.

In the commercial space, EMC has about 3,000 accounts and active potential accounts in which EMC direct reps and channel partners work together, he said. There are also about 51,000 accounts and active potential accounts in the under-$500 million companies in which EMC's direct reps are not allowed, he said.

In North America, EMC currently has about 300 channel partners that either work directly with the vendor or via one of three distributors, either Avnet Hall-Mark, Arrow Electronics or Bell Microproducts, Richardson said.

EMC currently has 25 field-sales reps supporting the channel, up from about eight in December, he said. That number is expected to increase on a quarterly basis. The company also has about 40 direct-sales reps who work with commercial solution providers, and that number is expected to double by year-end, he said.