The Canadian subsidiary of Storage Technology Corp. has launched its first tiered channel program that requires partners to be certified in sales and technical training within the next nine months. This move comes a few months after StorageTek Canada de-authorized one-third of its partners. The company
now has 40 Canadian partners.
The Total Channel Program, which replaced the Envoy program, offers VARs training, pre-sales support, product seminars, marketing materials, qualified lead programs. TCP is divided into two tiers — Alliance Resellers and Premier Resellers — to reward top VARs for their training levels, formal certification and product sales. Enhancements to TCP were announced in the U.S. in March 2003.
Michael Mercer, director of Canadian channels, said the nearly five-year old Envoy program was in need of a change.
“”Our business was spread too thin across too many VARs,”” he said.
“”We were not critical to our partners’ business nor were they to ours. It was time to have justification within our channel. We’re looking to build channel partnerships with the right VARs.””
Premier and Alliance resellers are now required to have certification in tape, disk and SAN sales and technical training, quarterly update training and PowerTrack Web seminars.
Premier partners are also required to participate in semiannual business reviews with StorageTek representatives.
While the sales training is free, resellers must pay for technical training.
Partners are required to sell a minimum of $250,000 in net annual revenue of StorageTek hardware, software and media at the Alliance level and minimum $1 million at the Premier level. Net annual revenue is taken from the distributor.
If the VAR meets the financial prerequisite for a specific tier but does not meet the training, they will be placed in the lower tier for which they have attained the training certification.
Benefits for partners include: distributors pass through one per cent for use as Co-op marketing funds, discount demo products, two per cent rebate for Premier VARs and one per cent rebate for Alliance VARs.
TCP also rewards partners for selling StorageTek installation and maintenance services. Resellers can receive from 10 per cent to 20 per cent discounts from list price depending on how much service they sell.
Irene Dawe, director Western Canada at Charon Systems Inc., said StorageTek understands the difference between a vendor-supplier relationship versus a partner relationship.
“”StorageTek is trying to find those relationships where it’s mutually beneficial for both parties,”” said Dawe. “”It allows organizations to start developing an overall strategy for growth.””