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FalconStor Software, a data protection and migration specialist, recently relaunched its PartnerChoice Program to offer better incentives, support and training for its solution providers, service providers, distributors and alliance partners to help expand their businesses into new markets.

The revamped partner program is one piece of FalconStor’s new vision for 2014 that will be rolled out in the next few months, said Tracy Balent, senior director, Channel Sales Americas, FalconStor. The new strategy is being driven by Gary Quinn, FalconStor’s president and CEO, who took the reins of the company less than one year ago.

Part of this new vision is the PartnerChoice Partner Program that provides a more simplified, flexible and profitable partner program, said Balent. “We realized that we needed to look at how to add more value to our partnerships and how to provide partners with greater profitability as well as the right enablement tools to resell FalconStor and support the company from a service perspective,” she added.

Part of the simplification, and one of the biggest changes to the partner program, was the move from a three-tier to a two-tier program. Each of the new levels—Premier and Affiliate—provide new revenue goals, increased discounts and rebates, deal registration, certifications and training.

When FalconStor took a hard look at its current partner engagement, it realized there were two types of partners—those making deep investments with FalconStor, premier partners, and those who resell FalconStor but are not prepared to make the same level of commitment as the premier partners, said Balent.

To attain the Premier level, partners must earn sales and pre-sales training certification as well as system engineer/solution architect certification, and participate in regular business plan reviews. These partners get the biggest benefits, including maximum discounts, value incentive rebates with quarterly payouts, 24/7 support, lead referrals, not-for-resale (NFR) trial software and improved visibility though co-branded marketing. They also have a dedicated FalconStor account manager.

Affiliate Partners also must earn sales and pre-sales certification. They also will be offered discounts, and greater access to sales and support. Affiliate Partners may be promoted to Premier Partner once they meet the program requirements.

Continuous learning is extremely important for partners, so FalconStor has made it easier for partners to attain the type of certification training they need by adding virtual classrooms in addition to face-to-face instructor training, said Balent. “We have revamped our education program to ensure that we have the right programs and delivery vehicles for the different types of partners, whether it’s for sales, pre-sales or solution architects.”

The software provider also redesigned its partner portal, PartnerPlace, to streamline and better serve its partners. The portal had become “cluttered over the years,” and it was necessary to take a look at what was relevant to the partners and to make it much easier for them to find and access the tools they need to position and sell FalconStor technology, said Balent.

These tools, including self-guided demos, presentations and competitive analyses, are designed to streamline the sales process, improve productivity and cut costs, while driving new business. The portal also allows partners to access deal registration to record and track leads to protect pending deals.

Gina Roos, a Channel Insider contributor, specializes in technology and the channel.