SanDisk creates new Enterprise partner program for Fusion-io focused channel

SanDisk has created a second program for its enterprise-focused products, which mainly came from Fusion-io, because their target markets, sales motions, and skill requirements are different from the SMB-focused Premier program.

Ken Oberman Headshot 300

Ken Oberman, vice president of worldwide business channel sales at SanDisk

SanDisk has announced the creation of a second partner program, the SanDisk Enterprise Reseller Partner Program, which is focused on the enterprise market and more technical sales, with the core products supported being the Fusion-io line that SanDisk acquired in 2014. It complements SanDisk’s existing Premier Partner program, which is more SMB focused and covers SanDisk’s other commercial products.

“This is a big broadening of what we are offering to our partners from a program perspective,” said Ken Oberman, vice president of worldwide business channel sales at SanDisk. “We created the initial Premier program to encompass our branded product. In 2014, we acquired Fusion-io, which brought us PCIe products, and moved us into that enterprise segment. We now have a unique product line from where we were two years ago.”

SanDisk originally built its business and reputation in the consumer market, and its strong push into the commercial space really dates only from its acquisition of Pliant and its performance SAS SSD drives in 2011. The Premier Partner program was designed to support the initial commercial lines, and was revamped and improved last year. Now with the Fusion-io lines on board, SanDisk decided to create a separate program, instead of combining the two sets of product lines in a single program, because their target markets, sales motions and skill requirements are significantly different.

“They are two different types of programs serving partners who today buy in two different ways,” Oberman said. The Premier Partners are typically buying from SanDisk to build products for their customers, using products like SanDisk’s Lightning and Optimus SAS SSDs, CloudSpeed SATA SSDs, SanDisk X210 and x300 SATA SSDs and SATA software. Their customers are typically SMBs.

“The Enterprise Partner program is for the PCIe products from Fusion-io,” Oberman said. “It’s truly the Fusion products that are in this. These are a more technical sell for the partners, and the support and rewards system from the program reflects that. The enterprise engagement is also different. They can buy directly from SanDisk, but most buy from OEMs.”

The new enterprise program has four tiers, to serve a partner base that Oberman said can be measured in the dozens, and where the ultimate objective is to get not much beyond 100 partners.

“We have focused on top-tier partners, and we want to drive closer relationships with them and make it easier for them to access information on the products,” he said. “We are looking to expand the number slightly, but we are really looking for partners who are established, who have been in the enterprise space, and can address customer needs and requirements.”

“This will really expand and drive the awareness of SanDisk in the enterprise market,” Oberman said.

Like most partner programs, the benefits scale significantly, with the entry level being able to access the website’s access and support assets to better develop new business opportunities, and improve deal close rate. The top tier provides access to the SanDisk sales community and team directly, and the rewards are much more significant. These include both MDF and a Volume Incentive Rebate for targeted resellers hitting certain volume-based reseller goals.

“This enterprise program is a world-class one in terms of its benefits and support,” Oberman said. “After we introduced the Premier program, we realized it wasn’t the best on the market, so we revamped it in 2014 to get it to be world class. We have two really good programs now, addressing the markets we are really going after.”