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Veritas Partner Link 2015: Streamlining partners to produce an aggressive channel

Veritas Partner Link 2015: Streamlining partners to produce an aggressive channel

Will be reassessing its channel globally to focus on the profitable

Mark Nutt, Veritas global head of channel

Mark Nutt, Veritas global head of channel

Mark Nutt, Veritas' SVP of global channels, took to the stage at the company's annual partner conference to discuss the company's new channel vision, which will focus on aggression, enablement and streamlining its partners.

Nutt said that the focus is quality, speed of delivery and getting global consistency.

"Organisations that do well in the channel, end up being leaders," he said.

"85 per cent of our business globally is through our partners, in EMEA 96.5 per cent of our business is through our partners. So it's a tremendous opportunity that we share."

The company's new mission goal is to "achieve sustainable, profitable growth, greater than the market, for both partners and Veritas, by leveraging joint assets to deliver value to customers."

Nutt believes that the market growth, depending on territory, will average 7-9 per cent, "and we're looking for partners who want to go beyond that."

The company wants to focus its strategy in three areas in order to achieve these goals, and that will include culling partners if necessary.

"We want the right partners for the right market, our objective is not to partner with everyone. Our distributors do a great job of managing the very many partners who want to work with Veritas. In terms of the partners we do want to manage, we will invest our time and our resource," he said.

The feedback from the company got from the market is that it had too much going on, and too much of it was low quality. It needed to improve its communications skill set.

"We believe that by investing with fewer partners, the right partners, we can deliver real value to our customers, and we can provide growth," he said.

"Distribution is absolutely key to us, we're optimising and consolidating our landscape around distribution, to ensure we give our distributors the opportunity to invest in their business to deliver value through to our partners."

He wants Veritas to focus on the business only processes, and this includes the way it works with its channel partners, to enable them to be successful.

"One of the messages that I've put to the team at Veritas is that our partners are our 'commission only salesforce'. We've got to make our products easy so they want to sell them, and then we've got to make sure that our programme is profitable."

The key measures for whether Veritas works with partners will be profitability, and Veritas' performance will similarly be measured against that yardstick.

"Everyone on my team will carry a measure based upon our partners' profitability. We measure partner profitability with rapid rebates, so do our partners have more GAR, RPR and more ORR than they did in the previous quarter? And if they did that's a good indicator to me that we have a sustainable partnership," he said.

"We want to make sure we narrow our focus on partners that can deliver growth. We've reduced our distribution coverage in EMEA by 50 per cent. We've reduced our distribution coverage in the Americas for the first time in five years. When it comes to APJ, we've already started the process of distribution optimisation, making sure we have the right number of distributors for the market we are covering.

"We have consolidated around 40 per cent of the distributors that we had historically worked with. We are looking for the right distributors to give us scale and reach in the market."

As part of this streamlining, the company will also bring its technical sales organisation (TSS) into the sales process, which will see engineers and technical staff assisting in the more complex sales. This also includes a channel division.

"The old Veritas was aggressive, and the new Veritas will be aggressive too. My message to our partners is: be aggressive with us."

The company will also heavily be focused on enablement - and will have a dedicated channel enablement team. Historically, what the internal sales team dictated to partners stood.

"We've now turned that on its head. What's good enough for our partners, is good enough for our sales team.

When ARN asked if Veritas was perhaps unnerving partners by announcing a round of partner culls, Nutt disagreed.

"Firstly, we're not culling any partners. We welcome partners. But what's important is that we understand the partners we're going to manage through our distributors, and the partners we're going to manage ourselves, in addition to our distributors," he said.

"We have over 20,000 partners, we're not looking to cull that. If anything, over time that will be added to. But the additions will be managed by our distributors.

"Distributors need to make a return for the work they're doing. If you find yourself in a over-distributed state, the best thing to do is to optimise that landscape.

"You work out which distributors are doing the best job for you, and you sort them. And what that means is that in some instances you are optimising and consolidating in some marketplaces. As long as you are doing that with a clear methodology, and you do it professionally and you communicate effectively, we've found that it is received very positively by distributors. They may end up losing in one market, but gaining in another.

"Most importantly, they're set up so they can deliver value to partners in terms of their customers, and more importantly, they can make money.

"So we aren't culling anyone, but we are optimising distribution to give the opportunity to get a better return."

In a market where several major vendors have gone down the 100 per cent channel route, Veritas' Pacific MD Paul Simos told ARN that the Australian market is approximately 96 per cent channel. ARN asked Nutt if there were any plans to go 100 per cent channel.

"Some of the largest global customers will want to buy direct from Veritas. It's important that we recognise that and we support that where it's appropriate. We aren't actively encouraging that. But if that's their preference, and there's logic and good reasoning support for that, then we will support them," he said.

"There is a trend, and that trend shows that year over year, Veritas is doing more business with its partners."

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