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Carbonite Makes Big Changes to Partner Program

Change

Edward Gately**Editor’s Note: Click here for a list of March’s important channel-program changes you should know.**

Carbonite, the backup provider, on Wednesday announced significant changes to its partner program as the company looks to expand its footprint in the SMB market and become an “ideal” vendor partner.

Carbonite's Chris DoggettWith the updated program, Carbonite is: offering incumbent renewal protection; flattening the discount structure; removing revenue and deal-registration gates; and increasing partners’ profitability on SMB products.

Carbonite has more than 8,500 partners, ranging from VARs to MSPs. It also has partnerships with distributors such as Tech Data and SYNNEX, and national service providers including CDW, Tiger Direct and PCC.

Chris Doggett, Carbonite’s senior vice president of channel sales, tells Channel Partners his company is making “very significant changes” to how it goes to market with partners, both in terms of how its team is structured and the structure of the program itself. The vendor is placing more emphasis on engaging with partners rather than recruiting them, he said.

“We’ve had a lot of success with strong growth in our business products segment, and the biggest growth driver for us in our business products has been the channel,” he said. “The change that we’re talking about today is really for the core channel program for traditional resellers, more specifically VARs, national resellers and distributors. Since that’s been such a strong driver for growth for our business product lines and because we’ve made some changes to our product lineup, and we’ve acquired a few companies since we started the program a few years ago, we really felt it was the appropriate time for us to make changes to the program to reflect the broader lineup of products and also to provide some improvements for our partner base.”{ad}

The changes are aimed at simplifying the channel program, making it easier for companies to engage with Carbonite and become a partner, reducing channel conflict and increasing profit potential for partners, Doggett said. Also, the program now includes only two tiers: basic and premier.

“We’ve removed any minimum revenue requirements or any investment requirements on the part of the partner to become a basic partner,” he said. “Premier partners are partners that not only signed up with us and started doing business, but also who we are engaged with on an ongoing basis. What’s really important in terms of generating value in the partnership is to … have the respective people on each team …

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… get to know each other, to work together to generate some joint business and ultimately to develop an ongoing pipeline of opportunities that they can work on together.”

The premier tier provides more dedicated personnel and resources for partners, Doggett said.

“We have leveled the playing field for partners,” he said. “So it doesn’t matter whether you’re a basic or premier partner, everybody works from the same pricing and discount structure. That’s one way that you can eliminate channel conflict because a lot of programs provide escalating discounts and advantages to partners that are higher in a program to the detriment of the lower-tier partners. So you see crazy things like a lower-tier partner who’s getting started with a vendor and might be doing all the work to generate a sales opportunity only to lose it to some other partner who swoops in at the 11th hour because they’ve got better pricing.”

Partners that generate an opportunity have pricing protection so no one can come in and undercut them, Doggett said. This prevents conflict and preserves profitability for partners so that it’s worthwhile for them to work on those opportunities, he said.


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