Infusion Looks for Partner 2.0

By Sara Driscoll  |  Print this article Print


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The CRM software-as-a-service vendor launches a channel program aimed at what it calls the "true small business" market.

Infusion Software is hoping to steal a march on its rivals by launching a channel program around its CRM software-as-a-service offering,  while, the vendor claims, most of its competitors are still trying to work out how to involve the channel in their own offerings.

This week the vendor unveiled its Infusion Certified Consultant, or ICC, program, aimed at helping VARs reach what the company calls "true small businesses."   Adam Ross, vice president of sales and business development at Infusion, said the program will allow VARs to sell, implement and service companies with fewer than 100 employees. "While there are products out there—ACT, GoldMine, Salesforce.com, for example—none of these address the true small business market.  There is a big white space out there, and this is where we will be aiming our VARs," he told Channel Insider.

Although the company currently operates a mainly direct strategy, Ross said he hopes in time this will change. "By the end of this year we want to be driving 10 to 12 percent of our overall business through the channel," he said.  He added that from a services point of view, the firm is looking to offload between a quarter and half of its services business to the channel.  "We’ve built the ICC program for scalability and we only have seven direct sales people, so the ultimate goal is to have as much business through the channel as possible."  He said channel conflict would be minimized by strict rules of engagement and a revenue compensation model where both VARs and direct sales people will get compensation on certain deals.

VARs must apply to be in the ICC program and will go through five days of training on the Infusion product and sales process, Ross said.  Those who fit the criteria and become certified will then be given some customers to get them started.  He added that because the company sits in the SAAS arena, VARs can build a recurring revenue stream and a SAAS practice with the help of Infusion. 

"The channel is evolving to cope with SAAS; it does not fit into the traditional partner 1.0 model," Ross said.  "We are looking for the partner 2.0 that is the enabler and more involved in the business processes within their end users."

Sara Driscoll began her journalism career at 16 years old on her local newspaper, The Watford Observer. Working part time, she covered a range of beats. Leaving to complete her Journalism Degree at Bournemouth University, UK, Sara then went on to graduate and work for Emap. She began as a reporter on APR, Emap's construction title, being promoted to senior reporter with a year.Sara then joined VNU Business Publications as Deputy News Editor on CRN, the weekly trade title for channel players. She covered industry/business news from vendors, distributors and resellers, product announcements, partner announcements as well as market and trend analysis, research and in depth articles to predict up and coming trends in the sector. She was promoted within a year to News Editor, a year later to Deputy Editor and the following year became Editor. Sara remained editor of CRN for three years, launching the magazine on new platforms including CRN TV and eBooks, as well as several magazine and web site redesigns. She was called on for expert industry comment from various publications including appearing on live BBC news programs. Sara joined Ziff Davis Enterprise as Editor of eWeek Channel Insider. She runs the title in all formats – online up to the minute news, newsletters, emails alerts and events. She also manages the brand of Channel Insider in all formats - events, shows, awards, panel debates and roundtables.Sara can be reached at:sara.driscoll@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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