5 Things Nutanix Partners Need To Know About Its New Channel Program

Nutanix Evolves Channel Strategy

Nutanix is upping its ante in the channel with the launch of the new Power to the Partner program, which revamps how partners are incented, tiered and sales-enabled.

The San Jose, Calif.-based hyper-converged infrastructure pioneer, which unveiled plans last week to acquire desktop and application specialist Frame, said the new program is part of Nutanix's technology evolution and maturing channel business.

"This new channel charter allows our partners to be more successful in this modern, multi-cloud era, where we're looking to capture more market share," said Rodney Foreman, vice president of global channel sales for Nutanix, in an interview with CRN.

Here are five things partners need to know about the company's new program.

Transaction Versus Revenue

The biggest change to Nutanix's channel strategy with Power to the Partner is that it emphasizes incentives around training certifications and new deals rather than solely revenue. The program's partner tier status is based on the number of deals closed and depth of Nutanix skills rather than revenue targets.

"We have a high rate of repeat customers. So if we can enable our partners to win new customers, once we win a new customer they buy again," said Foreman (pictured). "So once we're in, customers see the ROI and expand those environments and then start moving other workloads to Nutanix. So we're rewarding partners, not on revenue, but more on transactions and their overall investment in selling our products across the portfolio."

Foreman said the program enables "partners of all sizes" to become highly profitable selling Nutanix.

Xtribe And Xpand

Partners can leverage two new Nutanix partner incentives inside Power to the Partner: Xtribe and Xpand.

Xpand is a marketing platform that goes deeper than traditional campaigns by providing analytics to the markets a partner is focused on, their existing customer base, as well as how they can effectively sell to existing customers who haven't purchased Nutanix yet.

Xtribe is a rewards system where partners can earn points for running marketing campaigns, winning new customers and for achieving different levels of certification.

"Xtribe is fun and it creates a little army that goes out there and spreads the good word," said Rick Gouin, chief technology officer at Winslow Technology Group, a Waltham, Mass.-based Nutanix partner. "It turns it almost competitive -- there's a leader board and prizes. Everybody is really incentived to take these actions on Nutanix's behalf like, "Tweet about this great thing that Nutanix did. Post on LinkedIn about this great thing that they did.'"

Must Be Authorized

For the first time, Nutanix is now requiring all solution providers to become Nutanix-authorized to sell its offerings. The hyper-converged software specialist did not have an authorization program prior to Power to the Partner. "We've come to a level of maturity as a business and with our portfolio that we now need to make sure that our partners have a certain level of skill and are certified before they're representing Nutanix in the market," said Foreman.

Certifications, New Tools

Nutanix certifications are a key ingredient for partners to achieve top-tier status and incentives, especially around new products like Flow, Era and Beam. New tools are being provided to partners to land, adopt, expand and renew customer deals, including full-service demand generation platforms. Nutanix is also providing resources for partners to run Nutanix demos and an enhanced automated sales support processes to enable partners to deliver rapid and smooth implementations.

"It's positioning us for long-term success by providing partners with a different level of sales and marketing support," said Foreman, who joined Nutanix in January. "I've been in the channel business for a long time -- I haven't seen a program that really provides this level of detailed marketing and sales support to a partner. It's about making partners of all sizes being successful."

Three Tiers

Power to the Partner has three tiers: Master Partner, Scaler Partner and Pioneer Partner.

Master status is for partners who close the most deals and hold the most certifications focused on selling Nutanix's core hyper-converged products as well as new solutions like Flow and Beam. The Scaler tier is for partners who are developing integrated solutions around Nutanix's Enterprise Cloud OS software ecosystem and have increased the number and level of certified staff and deals. Pioneer is for solution providers who are moving their first customers to Nutanix hyper-converged solutions and gaining initial skills in core products.