Symatec Corp. has modified its channel program to categorize partners by the size of the customer they sell to rather than the VAR’s technical skills.

The partner category names haven’t changed – in fact one has been added – but they will more closely reflect the markets they serve.

For

example, no longer will an Enterprise Security Partner be allowed to sell to small companies.

“”In the past we had a number of technical certification and knowledge requirements in security that got you to a certain level in the partner program,”” explained Kevin Krempulec, Symantec Canada’s national channel manager.

“”Now we’re mapping it to the size of customer the partner typically deals with. That allows us to create a set of marketing tools and programs that will drive that activity for the typical customer.””

Among those is an increase in Symantec’s technical support hours for larger resellers from 9-to-5 to round the clock, seven days a week, and an online lead-registration program which will give price rebates to encourage VARs to hunt for opportunities.

The company’s resellers like the approach.

“”We view it as very positive,”” said Michael Quartarone, national director of software sales at NexInnovations Inc., an enterprise-level security reseller.

He particularly likes the extended hours of support, which a VAR doing a complex installation may need. The lead registration program is “”a great step forward,”” he added, because not only does it give rebates for confirmed deals but also gives some reward for lost competitions.

“”In certain areas we might have walked away from a opportunity because there were too many competitors, or a stronger one, so doing a business case or a demo might not yield a reward to the sales rep,”” agreed Michael Doron, vice-president of marketing and sales at Edgetech Services Inc., a Toronto-based Symantec Enterprise Solutions Partner. But, he said, the deal registration and rebate programs will encourage the company to keep trying.

“”It shows Symantec’s commitment to companies who make a strong investment into being a solution partner, not just being a reseller of software,”” said David Botterill, director of business development at Metafore IT Solutions of Calgary.

With resellers able to undercut each other on price, the rebates and deal registration programs now offered by Symantec is another way of giving a break to solution providers, he said.

Under the new program:

— Enterprise Security Partners must have 80 per cent of their business in large accounts; a dedicated security professional services organization with the ability to provide first-line support; and have at least two employees with Symatec technical certification and two Symantec sales specialists;

–Enterprise Administration Partners is a new category of VARs who sell Symantec’s enterprise administration products such as the company’s newly-acquired PowerQuest line, pcAnywhere and Ghost. “”With the acquisition of PowerQuest (Corp.) last year we wanted to carve out a place in the partner program where the partners that are focused on providing information availability have a program as well,”” explained Kruempulec.

They can sell only into medium and large markets, and have at least two employees with a Symantec technical certification and two sales staff specialists.

Security and Administration partners are the only levels eligible for 24/7 support;

–Enterprise Solution Partners sell to small and medium businesses and have at least one employee with a Symantec technical certification and two sales specialists;

–Enterprise Sales Partners (such as Softchoice and Software Spectrum), who are named and managed corporate resellers and director marketers who sell volume licences medium and large enterprises;

–Software partners, who sell to small business and consumers. They are separate from premier software partners, who are mass merchant and mail order resellers.

Among the new and enhanced benefits to Symantec resellers is free two-day technical training at its Toronto office for implementations – although out-of-town resellers will have to pay for transportation and accommodation.

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