5 Key Symantec Channel Program Changes

Significant Channel Program Changes In North America

Symantec partners are praising the company's new channel program as a much-needed improvement over the previously more complex model. The company unveiled its streamlined program at its Partner Executive Summit, describing the details to many of its key partners at Symantec Vision 2014 in Las Vegas. The goal is to get partners to fully carry out sales and deployment of Symantec products and reward those that hold the most certifications and can sell across more product lines in the company's portfolio. It formally launches in October with Registered, Silver, Gold and Platinum tiers for partners, based on their achievement of a skills competency. CRN pulled together five significant changes under the program.

1. A Dozen Core Competency Areas

Partners must first achieve Principal status before attempting to get validated as an Expert in a core competency. Systems integrators can achieve expert competency in Enterprise Backup and Recovery; Archiving, eDiscovery, Dynamic Storage and Continuity; Data Security, Security Monitoring and Management; Mobility and Endpoint. Resellers can gain specialist status in Midmarket Backup and Recovery; Endpoint Security; Gateway Security; Website Security Solutions; and a new area called Cloud Services. Managed Service Providers can get validated on a new Managed Services competency. The plan requires organizations to be thoroughly evaluated and regularly reviewed against established goals.

2. Expert Competency Validation

A partner must first have achieved Principal level competency within a solution area before applying for Expert level competency, according to Symantec. To achieve Expert validation, Symantec will evaluate a partner’s business and technical capabilities. The evaluation will review sales, marketing, and technical pre-sales and post-sales capabilities that map to the customer sales cycle, Symantec said. Performance is reviewed against set revenue targets, and customer satisfaction is measured. Principal partners have an annual threshold of $10,000 annually. Expert partners must meet an annual $300,000 revenue threshold.

3. Some Partners To Face Technical Review Board

A Technical Panel Review is required for certain areas that have complex solutions, Symantec said. The company said the panel will provide an objective assessment of the technical skill of partner staff to confirm the partner’s industry knowledge and ability to support a variety of customer challenges. The panel is comprised of "Symantec subject matter experts," a Symantec spokesperson told CRN. Expert level partners are measured quarterly on different components of Expert Competency Validation. Partners will need to re-validate if they fall deficient in quarterly measures for more than two quarters, Symantec said.

4. Advanced Accreditation Reaps Biggest Rewards

Partners validated in one or two competency areas will obtain Gold level status and can get 20 percent margin for registering opportunities; renewal incentives up to 2 percent of the rebate on total renewals performance; a growth acceleration rebate of 4 percent on products sold within the Expert competency; and an opportunity to apply for development funds of up to 5 percent of sales on products. Getting expert status in three or more technology areas can result in achieving Platinum status, earning an 8 percent rebate on products and guaranteed development funds.

5. New Focus On Managed Service Providers

Symantec is establishing a new Managed Services competency for partners that want to offer customers managed services and hosted applications using Symantec on-premise or cloud-based software. The program competency will enable rewards for sales on a subscription or perpetual basis with little up-front investment. "Through this competency, partners -- including pure MSP partners -- will have equal opportunity to advance to the highest tiers of the program," a Symantec spokesperson told CRN. The company is still ironing out how to align Symantec's buying programs with the competency requirements but plans to share details later this year.