AMD launches new partner program

Amy McFarland, worldwide head of AMD's partner program.

Amy McFarland, worldwide head of AMD’s partner program.

Today, AMD is announcing the official relaunch of its AMD Partner Program. Key changes include broadening the categories of benefits offered, making it possible for partners to now be in multiple tracks, and adding a major new emphasis on transparency, which was a weakness in the old program.

“This program has been in the making for almost nine months,” said Amy McFarland, Worldwide Head of AMD’s Partner Program. “It started with new executive leadership, in particular Roy Taylor, the VP of global channel sales. This reflects his vision.” It also reflects reaching out to partners and collecting information about what they wanted, as well as examining industry best practises.

AMD is marketing the program on three cornerstones — A for Aspire, M for Motivate, and D for Design – but the key one seems to be Aspire, which McFarland defined as making the program transparent.

“Aspire means making the program transparent to partners, so they know what they need to do to get increased support,” she said. “Partners will achieve tiers on criteria that is transparent, with the Elite tier reviewed annually and the Premier, and Provisional Premier tiers [under it] reviewed quarterly.” Partners will now also receive early notification if tier status is at risk and, AMD says it will work closely with them to maintain that status.

Four different tracks are recognized in the new program, each with separate benefits, although for the first time, partners can participate in and receive benefits in multiple tracks. The tracks are: System Builders, which build systems for commercial or consumer end users; Retailers, brick-and-mortar resellers of components and systems to end users; Etailers, which do the same as retailers, but online; and Distributors, which resell components and/or systems to other resellers.

“The key benefits for the System Builders track are technical, like access to bug fixes and samples,” McFarland said. “Retailer and etailer benefits are almost identical, and are sell-out focused and light on technical benefits. Distributor benefits are technical, but different from system builders, and include things like access to training and sales tools.”

The new program has four tiers, two of which are by invitation only.

The top tier, which AMD calls its Elite Tier, is invitation-only, with criteria specific to region and country and based on revenue. Criteria considered include quarterly revenue and quarterly unit share of all AMD products with the partner, whether the partner sells a broad range of AMD products, and whether the partner sells to a broad range of customers, as well as Value-Add capability.

Elite partners are eligible to receive exclusive benefits according to track, including:  Marketing Acceleration Funds (the only tier eligible for them); participation in a new event, the AMD Elite Executive Team Summit; banner advertising on the Catalyst Control Center driver site; advance roadmap information; and Elite logos and plaques

The Premier Tier, from which AMD hopes to pull more Elite partners, is designed to help partners grow to Elite. It is awarded once a partner achieves the minimum Premier quarterly revenue criteria. Premier partners are eligible to receive Select and Provisional Premier benefits plus access to AMD Executives via partner meetings, Premier logos and plaques, launch participation, and sample kits, according to track.

The third tier, the Provisional Premier Tier, is another invitation-only one.

“It is really an opportunity to bring partners into the program, give them a goal and promote them to Premier,” McFarland said. Participation in a rebate program is the key benefit here.  Partners enter the program with a minimum goal and are given a two-quarter trial period to achieve the Premier minimum quarterly revenue criteria. Those that make it are promoted to Premier. Those that don’t go back to the lower Select Tier and there is a 6-month waiting period before they can be invited to participate again.

The Select Tier is the entry level tier, and like others of its kind, requires the least commitment from partners, and offers the least benefits in return. Select partners receive access to training, sales tools, and marketing assets, as well as Select certificates and logos via the Partner Portal, and channel communications.

AMD is also introducing a new cross-tier recognition in this program. The new “Hero Builder” badge is a supplemental designation for the system builder track awarded to influential and dedicated system builders that are ultra-AMD enthusiasts.

“The key benefit Hero Builders get is early access, so they can design in earlier in the process,” McFarland said. “It’s a badge of honor. The benefits are pretty much the same regardless of tier. Hero Builder is based mainly on what technology you are bringing to market, not volume performance. It is intended to showcase the best of the partners and the best of AMD. We will run joint PR, and social campaigns to strategically aligned system builders. We want to be very active with them in social media, at all times.”

“Hero Builder status allows partners of any size and any volume to be creative with technology,” said Tuan Nguyen, Director of Product and Marketing at AMD partner iBUYPOWER.

AMD has also upgraded its partner portal as part of the program relaunch.

“We’ve spent lots of efforts over the last six months revamping it, with improved navigation, and added to the content,” McFarland said. “This is another way we will be transparent with our partners. Sales tools and marketing assets here as well.” New features include an ‘Ask the Experts’ blog, as well as blogs from senior executives.

“This new program is put together in a much more modern and inclusive way than the old,” said Gerald Youngblood, Director, North America Marketing at AMD. “The old one was more financial; this one is more holistic.”

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