Cohesity, a data management solution provider, has enhanced its channel partner program to meet the growing opportunities for partners globally. The program focuses on simplicity and transparency, with streamlined processes for incentives and market development fund (MDF) management, generous bonuses for bringing in new customers, as well as the ability to clearly differentiate partner capabilities.
“Our enhanced program opens up a world of opportunities for partners, many of which are already benefiting from selling our disruptive data management solutions to customers around the world,” said Bill Lipsin, vice president of global channels, in a press release. “Last fiscal year, nearly 70% of our active channel partners grew their business over 100% and many partners grew their business in excess of 200%.”
The company sells through a number of authorized distributors and has relationships with large technology companies including HPE and Cisco that allow their partners to sell Cohesity solutions. Cohesity, itself, maintains a stable of select partners, less than 200. “If you look at our overall partnering strategy, it’s not to have thousands and thousands of resellers, but rather to find those partners that really do identify how big this market opportunity is,” Lipsin told CMR.
“Rather than peanut butter our go-to-market strategy with too many partners that may not yet find the business, we’re hand selecting them and they’re hand selecting us as to how we’re going to work together.”
Partners are becoming more selective about the vendors they choose to represent, Lipsin said. He related a conversation in which a partner said “We’re looking for someone who really has a strategy to select partners that they’re going to invest with and that means enablement, that means marketing funding, that means collateral and it also means making things as simple as possible.”
The Cohesity partner program has been divided into three tiers that provide clear direction to partners and make it easy for Cohesity customers to identify knowledgeable and experienced channel partners that have a proven record of success.
Premier level partners have the opportunity to work directly with Cohesity executives on joint business planning and custom growth programs. Premier partners can provide feedback through several vehicles, including the Partner Advisory Council. Preferred level partners, those that complete specific trainings, gain access to Cohesity partner teams, MDF for marketing and enablement, along with instructor-led training courses and not-for-resale (NFR) software for customer demos and education.
Associate partners are provided access to the Cohesity Partner Portal where resellers can obtain pre-built marketing campaign kits, access sales tools, and gain access to web-based sales and enablement training.
Cohesity has launched a new tool to streamline MDF management. Integrated into the portal, the tool automates processes so that partners can easily request, manage, and submit claims for driving business growth. Help desk assistance is available around the clock.
The MDF program is designed to enable effective territory planning and account planning, and to choose strategies for account, marketing, or more territory marketing. A dashboard allows partner to see where their funds are and what kind of return they’re getting. “We want to have our partners focus on the areas where they really can drive more leads, more revenue, more customer differentiation, and more customer satisfaction.”
Cohesity channel managers and partners collaborate on developing business plan and choose the activities and investments both agree to make, Lispin explained. “From there, it’s not just planning once, but now it’s reviewing what’s working, what’s not working, where should we double down, where should we pull back, what should we just keep on going forward with. It’s that maturity and that connection with target partners that really makes the difference. It’s not the old traditional accrue and expect certain funds. Instead, let’s determine how we really can drive success.”
“I believe the real lever is for us to start working together to provide the tools and automation that can allow our targeted channel partners to use marketing in a much more strategic fashion to address both their own install base as well as prospects,” added Lipsin. “That’s where I really think there’s some untapped opportunity.”
Enabling partners to go to market with their brands first may be a more a more effective way to reach customers, said Lipsin. “We’re eager to be in the backseat when the partner is leading the opportunity. Often, that’s not just driven by the partner, but by the customer who has that relationship, that trust and belief in value that the partner has built over the years. We’ll continue to build our brand,” he said, “but we’re also making sure that we leverage the partner’s brand.”