IBM Launches New Incentives in Next Phase of Partner Plus Program

IBM ecosystem general manager Kate Woolley says partners can find more benefits with IBM’s new Value Seller tool.

Jeffrey Schwartz

April 13, 2023

3 Min Read
Businessman chasing after a dangling carrot incentive

IBM has rolled out the new incentive program aligned with its recently launched IBM Partner Plus Program. The implementation of the incentives comes three months after IBM replaced its longstanding PartnerWorld with the new channel program.

Dave La Rose, IBM’s general manager of ecosystem sales, outlined the incentive program Wednesday during IBM’s Americas sales kickoff. Nick Otto, head of global strategic partners, joined La Rose in explaining the incentives during the virtual event.

Partners were expecting the new incentives to go into effect at this time. In a blog on Thursday, IBM ecosystem general manager Kate Woolley marked the next phase of the new program. Woolley had set April as the time frame for launching the new incentives when she announced the IBM Partner Plus program.


IBM’s Kate Woolley

“Based on partner feedback, we’ve created a simple incentives stack – across software and infrastructure – that maximizes transparency and predictability,” Woolley wrote. “It provides a clear line of sight into how a partner’s business decisions impact the incentives they receive, including how to maximize incentives and eligibility. Partners can start earning in the new incentives program on day one of joining as an IBM partner, making it easier than ever to scale their growth.”

3 Components of the Incentive Program

Woolley noted that partners can benefit more from the new program with IBM’s new Value Seller Tool. The tool provides upfront discounts for infrastructure and services when partners are eligible. During an interview with Channel Futures, Woolley broke down the new incentives into three components.

First is a base sales incentive available to partners across all opportunities. Next is a proficiency accelerator. If a partner has skills in selling and supporting a specific product, IBM tacks on an accelerator incentive.

“We believe that it’s going to be a better experience for our partners and our clients when our partners have the skills that we want them to have in that product,” Woolley said.

The third component is IBM’s select territory accelerator, when a partner steps into an opportunity outside of IBM’s house accounts.

With the IBM Partner Plus launch, IBM told partners it would phase out PartnerWorld by the end of June. In July, as Woolley indicated in January, IBM will start rolling out the program’s new co-marketing initiatives. At the center of the co-marketing efforts is IBM’s new demand engine. Woolley said the co-marketing efforts are on track for this summer.

“I think it is a huge step forward in terms of the support and the benefits that we’re providing to our partners, as well as the marketing kits that are part of that,” she said. “And then, in addition to that, we have the more traditional co-marketing program where our partners that are growing with us continue to have access to a very attractive set of co-marketing funds to help drive their business.”

Early Momentum

Woolley said she is pleased with the number of partners quickly embracing the new program. In her post, she said 1,400 new partners had joined the program since IBM announced it. More than 45,000 people have enrolled in the new skilling program.

This week marks one year since IBM went live with its new deal registration platform. Woolley marked the portal launch at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas a year ago. Woolley said she is encouraged by partner uptake with the new portal.

“We’re seeing a lot of engagement with the portal, which makes it very easy to register deals and have an immediate line of sight into a partner’s earning capability,” she said.

Overall, Woolley emphasized IBM’s added ecosystem investments. The company has increased the resources supporting the IBM Ecosystem.

“Last year, we doubled the amount of brand-specialized resources and increased our technical resources by 35%,” she noted. “In January of this year, we increased resources by another 50%.”

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Jeffrey Schwartz or connect with him on LinkedIn.


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About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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