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Citrix partner program updated for midmarket push

Citrix has revised its channel partner initiative with program updates and incentives that aim to help the company grab more midmarket share in keeping with its strategic focus.

As emphasized during Citrix Summit 2016, held earlier this year, the midmarket is a strategic focus for the vendor, which today announced new Citrix partner program updates and incentives to grab midmarket share. The news also ties into Citrix's focus on partner outcomes in three areas: growth, profit and predictability in doing business with the vendor.

Addressing partner profitability, Citrix introduced the Net New Partner Sourced program -- set to launch on May 9 -- that rewards Citrix Solution Advisor, systems integrator, and independent software vendor partners for identifying and qualifying new opportunities, particularly in the midmarket.

How it works, according to Citrix, is that partners will be eligible for an incremental 7% upfront discount on all new partner-qualified opportunities. And it's additive to existing upfront suggested discounts for the Specialist Citrix Advisor Rewards (CAR) Plus and Opportunity Registration for Networking programs.

"We're making this shift to increase the upfront discounts, so that our partners go and hunt in the midmarket. It gives them the resources to invest in marketing to identify those opportunities," said Kimberly Martin, vice president of partner strategy and sales at Citrix.

In the past, incentive programs were more heavily weighted on assisting sales engineers and technical resources to help with proof of concept.

We're making this shift to increase the upfront discounts, so that our partners go and hunt in the midmarket.
Kimberly Martinvice president of partner strategy and sales, Citrix

The vendor also noted that partners selling in all market segments through the CAR program, regardless of whether they're a fulfilling partner, will continue to receive rewards and can earn an increase in overall incentive payout of up to 10%.

Addressing partner growth, Citrix announced the Strategic Development Fund for Citrix Solution Advisors and distributors, which is set to roll out in July 2016 in the Americas and EMEA, and later this year in the Asia Pacific and Japan region. This new effort within the Citrix partner program will replace existing market development fund (MDF) programs, according to Citrix.

"We used to keep MDF in individual lockboxes for each individual partner. Going forward, what we're going to do is pool the MDF and make it proposal-based," Martin said.

Additionally, Citrix will help partners coordinate and run joint marketing events, which is particularly advantageous for partners who don't have their own marketing organizations, she added.

This new effort is designed to drive midmarket-focused demand generation and enablement activities that specifically target high-potential opportunities, while decreasing the cost of planned and documented marketing activities. The midmarket, a $6 billion total addressable market, is a huge targeted opportunity on which Citrix has set its sights.

Finally, addressing predictability, Citrix is simplifying its CAR program evaluation criteria by making it more black and white, and less subjective. "We're focused on making sure there is standard criteria and partners see decreased service-level agreements for when they will know whether they got the CAR," Martin said.

When the simplification goes into effect in May, partners can expect to see a five- to seven-day SLA, rather than a nonspecified SLA, as exists today. This change will help partners predict sooner in the process their Citrix revenue and have a more predictable business with the vendor.

"Citrix is currently training its salesforce on today's partner program updates, so they understand what we're committing to externally and so that we can deliver on that," Martin said.

While today's announcements focus on on-premises components, expect announcements -- in the September timeframe -- from Citrix around its cloud program. "One-third of the [small and medium-sized business market] wants solutions on premises, another third want a hyper-converged appliance and another third want it in some cloud consumption model," the company channel chief said. The formal launch of upcoming cloud announcements will be in January 2017.

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