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Breaking away from the pack of VMware resellers

Virtualization's rising popularity is both a challenge and a perk for the channel. Here's how the top VMware resellers set themselves apart from the competition.

Here's how the top VMware resellers set themselves apart from the competition.

Virtualization represents a large financial opportunity for IT resellers, and nearly all have taken notice. So what was once a market represented by a few large resellers is now a crowded space occupied by thousands of companies, all looking to capitalize on the popularity of virtualization solutions. VMware resellers that have broken away from the pack often point to the following key values of their services:

  • Reference accounts
  • VMware partnership
  • Relationships with VMware technology partners
  • Training

Prospective clients want to see proof that a reseller has "been there and done that." Reference accounts allow resellers to highlight their experience in VMware sales and integration. Organizations that are moving to virtualization are usually looking for systems integrators that will deliver the right solution for their needs. This often involves architecting solutions that include identifying and virtualizing servers that are best suited to run in a virtualized environment, well-defined network and storage integration, effective data protection and recovery and thorough understanding of the organization's security requirements.

VMware partners can leverage close relationships with VMware on sales visits. While saying "We're a VMware partner" is nice, that alone may not distinguish your organization from other VMware resellers. Under the VMware VIP Partner Program, resellers can differentiate themselves based on their partnership tier level. VMware VIP Partners fall under three tiers:

  • Professional partners
  • Enterprise partners
  • Premier partners

Professional partners are on the first VMware partner tier, which is the fastest path to becoming a VMware partner. Professional partners, as with all partner levels, are indexed on VMware's Web site and can be found by prospective clients using the VMware Partner Search page. Professional partners have access to VMware sales and marketing collateral, as well as not-for-resale (NFR) VMware software to use in sales demos and access to the Partner Central Web site.

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Enterprise partners realize all of the benefits of professional partners, but also have the ability to offer volume discounts, business planning assistance and access to sales promotions. VMware resellers wishing to become enterprise partners will need to have two VMware certified partners (VCPs) and two VMware sales professionals (VSPs) on staff. Enterprise partners have documented competency in VMware platforms and thus are often viewed with higher credibility among prospective clients.

Premier partnership is achieved by invitation only, and is offered to resellers that have demonstrated superior sales and support in the VMware sales channel. Today, VMware premier partners represent the VMware reseller elites.

The best VMware solutions are typically architected using VMware products along with those of VMware technology partners. Resellers that have strong relationships with VMware technology partners and full awareness of the VMware ecosystem are best equipped to offer end-to-end solutions that incorporate best-of-breed products.

VMware reseller training

Top resellers will also ensure that a client is comfortable with managing the new virtualized infrastructure by providing in-depth training that encompasses all technologies that were part of the deployed virtualization solution. Training is typically the icing on the cake. Not offering training often spoils what could have been a very good reference account. Those providing the training should not be "slide readers" with cursory knowledge of the products involved in the solution. Instead, anyone sent in to provide training should have deep knowledge of those products. Often, this is best accomplished by having the integrators that deployed the products do the training themselves.

In the end, there's plenty that VMware resellers can do to distinguish themselves from their competitors. Ultimately, success boils down to credibility, ability to execute, and happy clients that often turn into references. Resellers who partner with VMware use best-of-breed supporting products from the VMware ecosystem, and wrap-up projects with outstanding training and support; they will find success and along the way carve out their own little piece of the multi-billion-dollar virtualization pie.

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