In an analyst event on Apr. 22nd in London, Symantec outlined their new Partner Management concept – increased focus on a decreased number of partners.
Channel partners are the lifeblood to Symantec’s sales and already contribute ~85% of the business in EMEA – which is expected to increase. This is split into segments; Small Business, which Symantec simply classifies by deal sizes below $5k, Commercial Business, which is above that threshold, and Enterprise Business with named accounts. To better execute on this segmentation Symantec has introduced a new dedicated SB (Small Business) organization and the cross-segment role of Business Development Managers to their ranks.
· The Plan Is To Focus More On Fewer Partners
Currently Symantec counts more than 18,000 partners in their Global Partner Program in EMEA including ‘registered’ partners, representing the bulk, and 3 other levels of increasing partner status (Silver, Gold and Platinum), based on partner performance and other criteria. Within CY09 Symantec is planning to reduce the number of partners in the top 3 categories by 31%, 20% and 3% for Silver, Gold and Platinum partnerships, respectively. With the top 10% of partners contributing ~65% of the partner business, the idea is to focus on fewer partners that deliver higher value and performance to Symantec.
But Symantec is taking it one step further. In the future the company plans to build strong partnerships around certain selected solutions of their portfolio and expects partners to build up the required solution expertise, to successfully position and then sell this to the market. Of course partners are not left alone in this effort as Symantec will significantly invest into partner enablement from their side.
This is not going to happen over night and Symantec plans to implement the new partner program over the next 12 months. It’s also fair to note that this will not apply to the whole Symantec portfolio or business channels and small distributors in the mass market are not expected to mutate into solution experts.
· This Is An Opportunity for Symantec's Partners!
Here is the opportunity: Committed partners should consider investing into solution expertise in the coming months in exchange for a stronger partnership with Symantec, including exclusive terms, special support, joint marketing and dedicated programs.
The planned changes will strengthen Symantec’s partner eco-system. It will relieve the company from significant sales support efforts, strengthen the bond with high value partners and increase Symantec solution expertise in the market overall. As a mission critical factor, Symantec will need to find a scalable and efficient way to deliver the required expertise to the eco-system. Partner enablement via traditional class room training won’t be sufficient and other forms of eLearning and self-certification will be required.
What do you think how the changes will effect Symantec’s partner eco-system? Please leave a comment or contact me directly.