Symantec Revamps Its Channel Strategy
As part of the Symantec 4.0 restructuring initiative launched last year by CEO Steve Bennett, the company is gearing up to revamp its channel program in 2014.
Having consolidated more than 150 separate products into 10 sets of offerings around which Symantec is concentrating its sales and marketing efforts, John Eldh, vice president of North America channel sales, said the next step is to formally unveil a new channel program in 2014 that rolls up many of the incremental improvements Symantec has been making under a single, more accessible channel program.
"We'll be rolling out our next-generation partner program in early 2014," said Eldh. "We're going to be a lot less short-term quarterly driven."
Key elements of the Symantec channel makeover include shifting as much as 70 percent of Symantec's named accounts to channel partners and increasing product margin contributions by as much as 30 percent, Eldh said. Symantec is also shifting dollars from end-user marketing campaigns to the channel, instituting new rules of engagement for its salespeople when working with the channel, changing compensation models in a way that rewards Symantec salespeople for business that moves through the channel and removing a lot of the complexity that was once the hallmark of the Symantec channel program, he added.
"We want to establish mutual trust and reduce channel conflict," Eldh said. "But we also recognize this is going to be more of a marathon than a sprint."
Solution providers in general are looking forward to the changes.
"The product lineup used to be very troubling; it was perplexing to the customer," said Kurt Klein, CEO of CMT Smarter Solutions, a solution provider that generates anywhere from $30 million to $50 million in Symantec revenue a year. "What they are doing now is transformational."
Symantec was previously engaged with the channel, but the company needed to be more focused on the needs of its channel partners, Klein said.
"It feels like a different Symantec," said Klein. "I wish a lot of the other tier-one vendors in the channel would take a look at what's going on with Symantec and the channel."
Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.