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Citrix partner strategy targets enablement, specializations

At Citrix Summit, the company said it is targeting field collaboration, enablement, marketing, and demand generation and specializations as the four pillars of its partner strategy.

LAS VEGAS -- At last year's Citrix Summit, the vendor inched toward closer partner ties by promising to reduce the number of high-touch enterprise accounts that Citrix held close to the chest from 900 to 500. As of today, all accounts in the high-touch segment are open to partners as a joint selling opportunity, essentially marking the end of the high-touch account segment at Citrix.

Speaking at the "Americas Breakout" session here today at Citrix Summit 2016, Fernando Campo, vice president, Americas sales and services at Citrix, got a round of applause from Citrix partner attendees, as he outlined areas of focus in 2016 for Citrix -- one of which was market sectors, and the other was the four pillars of partner focus.

As heard both in the morning keynote session and the afternoon "Americas Breakout" session, Citrix drove home its goal to grow market share in the midmarket space in 2016, while providing partners with the enablement, incentives and products to do just that. In fact, several top Citrix executives, including interim CEO Robert Calderoni and Carlos Sartorius, senior vice president of worldwide sales and services, acknowledged during the keynote session the hurdles and disappointments Citrix faced in the first half of 2015, followed by a greatly improved second half of the year.

And for 2016, the name of the game for Citrix is focus. "We're putting our focus back on what has made Citrix great: the secure delivery of applications and data," Calderoni said.

In the midmarket, the white-space opportunity is big, according to the vendor. In North America, there are 9,000 companies that belong to the midmarket, with 12 million seats available across Citrix's top-five targeted verticals -- healthcare, education, government, financial services and heavy industry.

Citrix's plan to grow with its partners in 2016 -- Citrix has about 1,600 partners in North America -- was defined by four pillars of focus: field collaboration, strong investments in partner enablement, robust demand generation and specialization programs.

Campo drilled down into the four pillars.

Field collaboration

Calling it the centerpiece for partnering for success, Campo said that the focus on field collaboration means more engagement -- not just with the partner account managers (PAMs) and channel development managers, but also with the company's sales reps for more predictable engagement with partner teams. He also talked about more joint marketing activities, getting Citrix PAMs more aligned with partners.

Rafael Garzon, managing director for the Americas channel, emphasized the importance of joint selling. He also noted that Citrix is changing the way it compensates its sales organization to show that it's serious about driving closer alignment between the channel and its internal sales team.

Enablement

Citrix's goal is to help partners build service offerings and find new service areas for their business, as well as enable a partner's team. The company will make big investments in this area. So, for example, the company is taking its hands-on workshops to the next level -- hands-on workshops 2.0 -- with a bull's-eye on the midmarket. The company will offer midmarket use cases and specific service offerings; a lab-focused approach, so partners develop skills they can use; and more access and communication with both Citrix sales and product engineers.

Citrix also introduced Simple Content, or bite-size content, in the form of tech talks, webinars and white papers on specific topics, for example, designed to answer partner questions and supplement training.

Marketing and demand generation

Citrix will launch channel-focused campaigns on the midmarket small and medium-sized business (SMB) sectors around verticals and services with a use-case message.

This year, Citrix will launch the SolveIT with Citrix campaign -- the biggest campaign the company has launched to date, according to Campo. There will be 12 use cases that focus on the SMB and midmarket sectors, and will offer comprehensive collateral.

Specializations

While Citrix recognizes that partners make a significant investment and commitment when pursuing specializations, Campo noted that the rewards are great and encouraged more partners to pursue specializations. Calling specializations a unique path to success, the vendor launched Citrix Specializations at last year's Citrix Summit. And today, a small number of partners have attained specializations.

Citrix is our bread and butter, and we help support a successful IT infrastructure that supports Citrix as well.
Justin Valdessenior account executive, Convergence Technology Consulting

These partners reap higher Citrix Advisor Rewards, profitability and growth, according to Campo, who noted that partners with specializations grew 15% faster than those without specializations.

Justin Valdes, senior account executive with Convergence Technology Consulting in Columbia, Md., Citrix's 2015 Public Sector Partner of the Year and Platinum partner, was happy to hear that Citrix will focus on its core strengths, as well as make more investments in its partner program, which he considers one of the best.

"Citrix is our bread and butter, and we help support a successful IT infrastructure that supports Citrix as well. Citrix is the easiest vendor to work -- sales reps, demand generation. We have a great account manager now; she's available and resourceful, so it's good to see Citrix continue to work on the things they've always done so well, and for them to deepen their success with partners is something we really appreciate," Valdes said.

Next Steps

Read about Citrix's focus on partner growth and profitability

Learn more about the new Citrix partner channel chief

Get the background on Citrix's GoTo spin-off

Dig Deeper on Technology Vendors-OEMs

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