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Their new channel chief took the helm in the summer.

James Anderson

November 6, 2018

4 Min Read
SDN

SD-WAN provider Silver Peak Systems introduced a comprehensive set of changes to its partner program Tuesday.

New financial incentives, training and channel executives highlight a host of enhancements to the Partner Edge program. The company has simplified objectives for revenue and training so that partners have a clear up-front understanding of how much they need to invest. The program has silver, gold and platinum tiers.

Silver Peak is also launching “Partner Accelerators,” a set of financial incentives with different reward levels. There’s an opportunity to earn a 12 percent margin when selling Silver Peak’s EdgeConnect SD-WAN product to a new customer.

Silver Peak also introduced a new “programmatic approach” to deal registration, where gold- and platinum-tier partners can receive active leads from Silver Peak’s sales teams.

Here’s our most recent list of important channel-program changes you should know.

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Silver Peak’s Michael O’Brien

“The reality is we’ve had deal registration as a company, but there was limited benefit other than some price protection. This not only gives you the benefit of price protection, but it also gives you the ability have access to a set of incentives on the back end that really reward partners for working with us …” said Michael O’Brien, vice president of worldwide channel sales.

O’Brien, who joined the company in July, told Channel Partners that financial incentives did not previously exist in Silver Peak’s program. But the Santa Clara, California-based vendor has been building based on partner feedback.

“What they [told us] is, ‘Make your program more predictable, make it easier to understand, make it easier to navigate, and demonstrate that if I make investments I can make more with Silver Peak,'” he said.

The company has deepened its support side. Silver Peak has “completely” refreshed its training. Partners can learn and get certified using modular, self-paced education. There is also a new online platform – the Silver Peak Technology Experience Center – available to platinum partners to help them run tests and demonstrations of the vendor’s SD-WAN platform. There’s also the Authorized Deployment Partner program launched in August that functions as a post-sale resource.

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Silver Peak’s Allen Arguijo

Silver Peak has also bolstered its resources on the personnel side. Allen Arguijo, a former Dell channel leader, has joined Silver Peak as vice president of sales for the North America channel. Other new hires include a channel manager who worked at Palo Alto, as well as program managers.

“We continue to pull more channel IQ into the company and build out a more robust channel organization,” O’Brien said.

It’s en vogue for SD-WAN vendors to pitch their dedication to the channel. We recently heard five vendors clamoring for the attention of partners. And as Infovista’s channel chief said last month, what vendor doesn’t describe itself as partner-led when it’s talking to partners?

Well, the litmus test is pretty clear, according to O’Brien.

“Is the company committed to working with partners? ‘Committed’ means we don’t have a selling force that can sell direct,” he said.

O’Brien said 100 percent of the company’s leads go to partners, working in conjunction with Silver Peak’s sales teams.

“We have sellers that work with partners that can’t sell a direct device. They can’t sell a direct license,” he said. “We literally have to sell everything through a channel partner.”

He agreed that channel conflict is one of the biggest problems SD-WAN vendors must overcome. He previously worked for a larger company …… whose direct and indirect efforts clashed.

“I can tell you that those customers are probably pretty frustrated about competing with a direct-selling organization,” O’Brien said. “While they’ll say, ‘We use the channel,’ that is competing internally for access to customers.”

And while channel conflict is a problem with the large vendors, O’Brien said another problem is specificity. He agreed with the sentiment that many vendors have jumped into the SD-WAN market not because they believe in their product, but because their product is a “defensive” play.

“The underlying reason is, we only do one thing, while all these other vendors out there are bolting [on] SD-WAN because of the defensive play of ‘I have to protect my install base of routers and switches and support MPLS lines and support for these rich, old networks that I’ve built over 20-30 years,'” he said.

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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