Citrix’ Luca Marinelli, Vice President, Channel Sales and Strategy, EMEA and Johnny Karam, Regional Vice President, Middle East and Africa, discuss partner enablement strategies and company focus for 2016.
Specialisations have been key to partners’ growth over the last few years. Increasing number of partners, with the help of distributors and vendors, are realising how they can increase their margins and sustain their profitability through specialisations.
Citrix had announced four key specialisation categories – desktop virtualisation, networking, mobility and cloud networking – at its Citrix Partner Accelerator (CPA) event last year. And this year, the company has used the platform to build on its message of specialisations and enablement to the channel.
Luca Marinelli, Vice President, Channel Sales and Strategy, EMEA, Citrix, says, “We have seen a good uptake of the specialisations, which were introduced last year. Today we have around 100 partners specialised across the whole EMEA. Specialised partners are able to sell products up to 12 times better than other partners and gain more profitability. There are benefits from a skills and an economic perspective.
“The momentum was slow in the beginning because we have taken our time to introduce, educate and enable partners. It’s a skill, marketing and profitability advantage in front of the customers,” he adds.
CPA 2016 was an opportunity for the company’s partners to gather together and learn about its strategy for the year.
“Last year, we had a growth of 25 percent in rebates to our partners. We also shared trends in the market and aim to guide them to the opportunities and help leverage it. Along with that, we also discussed the integration of our technology and the specifics of our partner programme,” says Johnny Karam, Regional Vice President, Middle East and Africa, Citrix.
He says the headroom in mid-market is huge and the company plans to push partners towards this area.
Partners have mid-market kits and detailed material available to capitalise on.
Citrix aims to encourage partners in its three main sales priorities, which are land new customers, expand on the current customers and partner for success. What was discovered was that there was an opportunity for partners to upsell or ensure existing customers considered the company’s solutions across technologies.
“We plan to have meaningful partnerships with the channel and are also looking to partner with third party technology companies to win together such as Microsoft, HP and Nutanix. This way, partners will have complementary solutions, which they can take and sell as full-fledged offerings,” he adds.
Ensuring partners are aware of the tools and use-cases available to them from the company is another important aspect for Citrix.
Marinelli says, “We are planning to introduce incentives for partners to go after mid-market customers, for effectively rewarding them for selling to customers who we might never touch. There are many elements we are putting together, where we will work with partners as an extension of our sales force. We are trying to also make sure our partner account managers help partners to engage in a better way.”
As far as the focus goes, Citrix believes mobility is still the way ahead. But it is more than mobile device management.
Karam says, “Mobility continues to be a big game for our customers but what needs to be understood is that mobility goes beyond managing a mobile device. Mobility is the ability to give employees the freedom to access their data and applications, securely on any device and have the same experience without transferring the data. It is about giving the staff the ability to work on any network securely.
“It is not about the mobile, it is about the mobile work style. The way employees are consuming IT today goes beyond just mobile device management.”
The company has worked on enabling and reaching out to as many partners as possible through its distributors in the last year.
Karam adds, “The next level was to specialise those partners who got enabled. And we are giving them incentives to do this. The third aspect includes giving each and every engineer in our team an allocation of their time dedicated to enablement. So we have access to engineering time to do those partners. We consider enablement as a continuous exercise as we move into 2016.”