Juniper Partner Advantage Program, Partner Summit Update
Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR) is finalizing plans to host a January 2013 global partner conference in Las Vegas. In the meantime, Juniper Senior VP Frank Vitagliano sounds upbeat about the networking and security company. The reason: The Juniper Partner Advantage Program, which offers some back-end rewards to to VARs, is off to a good start. Roughly 65 partners are already participating in the effort. Vitagliano expects that figure to reach 120 partners by year’s end. Here’s the update from CompTIA Breakaway in Las Vegas.
The new-look Juniper partner program is built on three main elements:
- skills-focused sales and technical training accessed through Juniper’s Learning Academy portal, which the company is calling Reach;
- co-marketing resources available through the vendor’s online Marketing Concierge, stocked with tools to build market awareness, referred to as Accelerate; and
- incentives, deal registration and product promotions, housed under a Rewards offering.
(DH Kass, one of The VAR Guy’s resident blogger pals, offers more background here.)
“We have never really offered (back-end) rebates. It had been front-end margin. Now we’re doing a combination, where partners that hit certain targets can earn six additional points — and that can be really lucrative,” said Vitagliano.
Still, the new partner program involves skin in the game from VARs. Channel partners have to complete certain training requirements to qualify for the discounts. Right now, the back-end rewards involve all of Juniper’s products, but the company has not ruled out some tweaks down the road that helps partners emphasize specific Juniper product families.
(Rival Cisco Systems, for instance, offers a VIP program with partner incentives to cell specific offerings, but it doesn’t sound like Juniper will fully go down that road since it requires partners to potentially change their staffing, sales and training priorities every six months or so.)
Vitagliano said the Juniper partner program will continue to receive fine tuning but he sees for truisms that will never change:
- Juniper must continue to offer a strategy that delivers mutual revenue and profit opportunities to both Juniper and its partners.
- Juniper must invest in those partner program offerings.
- Juniper must make sure it’s easy to do business with.
- Juniper’s own sales team must mesh with partners in the marketplace.
And what about Juniper’s technology portfolio? Vitagliano sounds confident there, too, since the company invests 22 percent of revenues into R&D.
Still, Juniper — like the broader networking industry — must navigate macroeconomic challenges plus some service provider buying weakness in selected geographies. The described some opportunities and challenges in its July 24 quarterly earnings report.