VMware says the new incentives move away from transactional rewards to focus on the entire customer life cycle.

Christine Horton, Contributing Editor

March 22, 2021

3 Min Read
Businessman chasing after a dangling carrot incentive

VMware continues its overhaul of partner incentives with Monday’s launch of the Customer Lifecycle Incentives program.

The vendor says the new incentives move away from transactional rewards to focus on the entire customer life cycle. The program provides incentives in three new ways.

The Technical Assessment Program rewards a partner’s evaluation of a customer’s IT infrastructure, and for creating new engagement opportunities.

Another program compensates partners that deliver proofs of concept (PoCs). This can be done by both transacting and nontransacting partners.

The Partner-to-Partner Accelerator focuses on partners working together. It rewards “sell through” partners who identify opportunities and book eligible orders. They then hand off the deal to an “orchestrate with” partner to complete the rest of the implementation.


VMware’s Tracy-Ann Palmer

“Over the last few months, we’ve completely redesigned the incentives we have in place. We’ve gone from five incentives in our program to 13. It’s a pretty significant shift,” said Tracy-Ann Palmer, global technology transformation leader, VMware.

Partner Connect & SaaS

A year ago, VMware launched Partner Connect to reflect the company’s move to a SaaS subscription model. The new incentives continue this move away from traditional transactional reselling.

“VMware’s subscription business is expanding and accelerating,” said Palmer. “Whereas before everything was around this transact motion, we now are building out. We are moving down the SaaS subscription journey with our partners. To do that we need to look at the entire customer life cycle and the value that our partners bring to that.

“We know today, partners are already doing PoCs, assessments, services, consumption, adoption,” she said. “So let’s ensure that we are aligning our model to support both the customer and the partner.”

Palmer said she is most excited about the Partner-to-Partner Accelerator.

“If you look at how a sales cycle works with a customer, there is never one partner involved. It’s a minimum of two to three partners involved in any kind of life cycle. The partner accelerator is [to] build a community where partners understand each other’s core competencies, [and] can work together. That’s the multiplier.

The exec said VMware’s biggest partners are already embracing the SaaS model.

“Our strategic partners are there, the top 20%,” she said. “Those are the ones that bring in 80% of our revenue. But it’s the others that we want to bring along.”

Partner Experience

Palmer also says there are more changes ahead for the Partner Connect program. Specifically, VMware is looking at the capabilities to support partners across its tiers: enrolled, advanced and principal.

“We’re looking at how to bring in our services partners. We need to ensure that we are aligning with them on how to deliver and build practices around customer success. We’re planning on launching that in the second half [of 2021]. It’s not going to be net new; it’ll be an evolution. And it’ll be foundational-based on the tiers that we’ve developed.”

Elsewhere, Palmer said VMware is “doubling down” on the partner experience.

“We have a really big initiative inside of the company right now around partner experience. We’ve just completed our global partner survey. We’ve got excellent feedback from our strategic partners around what we need to do going forward. We have spent a lot of time with some consultants on what the partner experience should look like. We’ve partnered up with our CDTO, Mike Hayes’ organisation, to look at what the [that] should look like for the future.”

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About the Author(s)

Christine Horton

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Christine Horton writes about all kinds of technology from a business perspective. Specializing in the IT sales channel, she is a former editor and now regular contributor to leading channel and business publications. She has a particular focus on EMEA for Channel Futures.

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