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NetGear will increase its discounts to its top-tier partners to 12 percent
from 8 percent in a series of improvements to the company’s partner program,
announced this week at Networld+Interop, along with a series of products
designed specifically for the SMB space.

The changes are part of the company’s improvements to its PowerShift Partner
Program and include better discounts, enhanced training and more support.

The four-tier (Silver, Gold, Platinum and Platinum Plus) partner program offers
upfront stackable discounts with another 5 percent for deal registration
and another 5 percent for the government/education program, according to Matt
Dargis, senior director of SMB sales at the company.

Overall, partners are eligible for each of the tiers based on their annual
sales revenues and become eligible for added benefits based on the tier. Benefits
include upfront product discounts, dedicated account managers, advanced network
configuration technical support and Market Development Funds.

The program excludes direct market resellers such as CDW or e-commerce sellers,
Dargis said. In addition, it offers channel-exclusive products such as the
Pro-Safe product family, which is only available through authorized PowerShift

NetGear is also offering a "FastCash spiff promotion" of up to $5,000
per person for salespeople at channel partner companies. Dargis said the
company will also offer volume incentive rebates, a risk-free evaluation
program and new demand generation programs.

In addition, NetGear put a focus on ensuring pricing parity across the
company’s channels.

"You won’t see a situation where a product is being sold by a VAR
for X where it’s being sold elsewhere for X minus Y percent," he
said.  "We can’t tell them they can’t do it, but we will withdraw
some of their marketing funds."

The company has also brought its technical support back to the United
States for all SMB products, with call
centers in Utah and Southern
California and tier three support remaining at the company’s
headquarters.  In addition, NetGear is offering a lifetime warranty on all
ProSafe products.

NetGear is investing in training for its channel partners by developing
on-demand courses in a number of topic areas, so that partners can select a
"major" and then different "tele-electives," Dargis said.

"Partners don’t want to participate in training programs that cost five
figures and take them away from their offices for two weeks," he
said.  "Training is a benefit, and we want to incentivize people to
take it."