To maximize channel growth and sales, it is imperative that vendors provide seamless access to the information and resources partners need to succeed, including sales tools and training materials, marketing collateral and deal registration.
Sungard Availability Services (AS), a provider of IT managed services, information availability consulting services, business continuity management software and disaster recovery services, has spent the last five years building and ramping up its channel initiatives. With 300 partners in the U.S. (including Canada and the Caribbean) and UK, Sungard AS is optimizing TreeHouse Interactive Reseller View PRM to improve overall ease of doing business and further expand its partner network.
The Sungard AS partner program consists of two key groups: Referral partners and solution partners. While referral partners merely refer business and share leads with Sungard AS, solution partners resell services to customers. The majority of the partner program consists of referral partners who are compensated if a lead closes.
Since implementing Reseller View PRM in February 2014, Sungard AS has seen the total number of registered deals increase by 20%, and is on track to see a 30% revenue increase, due in part to the improved partner portal. The company also expects to see total number of leads generated improve by 20% between 2013 and 2014.
“We’ve received very positive feedback from partners regarding the new portal experience,” said James Schwartz, Director of Channel Operations at Sungard AS. “Our previous portal was homegrown and had its challenges. By moving to TreeHouse, we have eliminated a lot of the hurdles partners experienced.”
Specifically, the new partner portal — combined with TreeHouse’s marketing automation platform — offers anytime, anywhere access to deal registration, sales collateral, enables partners to download and customize marketing assets, as well as craft, plan and execute campaigns, all within a single platform.
“We have some referral partners that are very large and take advantage of some of the collateral we provide,” said Schwartz in an interview with Channel Marketer Report. “Through our partner portal, partners can log on and access a variety of features and components.”
For example, a sales tool section provides partners with all the collateral and background information they need to sell services. Content and information is broken down and tailored based on the service, competitive landscape, among other factors.
New content and literature can be uploaded to the portal “on the fly,” so partners can go to market faster once new products are released, according to Schwartz. Old content also can be removed easily, allowing Sungard AS to be “more nimble than we were before.”
Above all else, the new PRM solution enables Sungard AS to make partnering and selling easier, which will have an ongoing impact on partner engagement and loyalty.
“We’ve always strived to make it easy as possible for partners to do business with us,” Schwartz said. “The easier it is for them to find necessary information, register and track leads, the more willing they are to work with us. If we have a portal that causes errors and they have to submit things more than once, they’ll find the same services from one of our competitors.”
Scaling The Channel Program
Evolving from a homegrown system to Reseller View will help Sungard AS achieve future goals for its partner program. Currently, the company has two different programs for U.S. and UK partners. However, Reseller View will help the company globalize and consolidate the program.
Moving forward, Sungard AS will continue to scale the program, making the channel a significant focus “from the CEO down,” Schwartz explained. “We’re doubling down on channels. Our direct sales force isn’t going away but there will be more emphasis on partnering with the appropriate partners to drive revenue through the channel.”
Increasing partner quantity may be important, but partner quality will be central for Sungard AS. “We don’t want 15,000 partners and just hope they send leads to us. We’re very strategic in terms of who we partner with and want our services to be synergistic with partner services so they can sell more.”
Want to learn more about the journey Sungard AS has embarked on? Check out the company’s session during Dreamforce.