Today at Symantec Vision 2014, held May 5-8 in Las Vegas, Symantec Corp. shared the long-awaited details of its next-generation partner program, which is slated to go live in October. Symantec announced its intentions to revamp its partner program at Symantec Partner Engage in October 2013, and has engaged in an iterative program redesign since that time.
Symantec shared with partners that it is rolling out 12 new solution competencies at two competency levels -- Principal and Expert -- that map to four partner program levels: Registered, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Partner compensation and benefits are tied to partner program tier levels.
"We listened to our partners, and they told us that they want to be held to a higher standard; that they want us to make the program more challenging, and if we make it tougher, they want to be rewarded accordingly," said John Emard, senior director of North American channel programs and operations at Symantec.
The 12 new competencies fall into three categories: information management, information security, and user productivity and protection.
There are five Symantec information management competencies: Archiving, Dynamic Storage and Continuity, eDiscovery, Enterprise Backup and Recovery, and Mid-Market Backup and Recovery.
There are four competencies that fall into the information security category: Data Security, Gateway Security, Security Monitoring and Management, and Website Security.
In addition to those 12 competencies, Symantec said two additional competencies will be "coming soon" -- Symantec Cloud Services Competency and Symantec Managed Services Competency.
"Our new program is not just based on competencies. It's also based on the partner commitment and customer satisfaction," Emard said.
There are three key elements that Symantec will hold partners accountable for in the program: the partner's capability for managing sales cycles, marketing dollars, and technical sales and consulting efforts; performance as measured by revenue; and customer satisfaction.
"Now, we have a very simple, easy-to-understand framework where partners are tiered and we recognize them at different levels based on the expert competencies that they hold," Emard said.
The channel executive also noted that the competencies are grouped by complexity of the solution -- those solutions that are integrated, those solutions that are resold, and those solutions that are sold as a managed service.
Symantec designed the program to fit how partners choose to go to market.
The program is ready to roll, the company said at Symantec Vision 2014, so partners who are ready and capable can begin the process of achieving the new competencies. Symantec will help partners map their existing competencies to the new ones to understand how to move forward.
Partners can aspire to either the Principal or Expert competency in each of the 12 solution competencies. The difference between the two levels is that a Principal competency is achieved via baseline testing and by meeting a baseline performance threshold based on revenue. To achieve the Expert competency level, partners have to go through a technical validation, business validation and annual business-planning process.
Partners have from today until October to complete the transition. This is an investment choice each partner will have to make.
Partners who do not choose early validation will be re-leveled as a Registered partner. However, those partners who do choose early validation will get recognition for the financial benefits that they accrue during the transition period at either the Principal or Expert level.
Partners who achieve Principal- or Expert-level competencies receive additional benefits -- as much as 20% -- through the company's opportunity registration program. This is a bump up from the maximum 8% opportunity registration benefit in the previous partner program.
Additional financial incentives include:
- Renewal incentives, in addition to rebates of up to 2% for Gold and Platinum partners based on renewal performance.
- A growth acceleration rebate: Four percent for Gold partners and 8% for Platinum partners. This is based on revenue growth for the partner's chosen expert competencies.
- Market development funds (MDF): For Gold partners, MDF is proposal-based. Platinum partners receive 5% investment funds calculated off of the new license bookings for products within the competency the partner has achieved.
The Registered, Silver, Gold and Platinum partner tier levels are based on competencies: Registered partners haven't earned any competencies; Silver, one Principal competency; Gold, one Expert competency; and Platinum partners must earn three Expert competencies.
In addition, the new partner program eliminates "restricted products," which means all partners will be able to sell across the entire Symantec solution portfolio.
The company also announced at Symantec Vision 2014 that the next-generation partner program provides all partners with access to a more comprehensive enablement, in addition to sales, marketing and technical benefits to bolster their success. Partners who invest in achieving at least one Expert competency will gain exclusive access to new Market Intelligence Reports.