Pure Storage targets top partners with channel program changes

Notable changes include funding a dedicated resource for Platinum partners, enhancing the Demo program with six months of free support and the ability to resell Demo units, and a fourfold increase in MDF funds.

Michael_Sotnick (insert)

Michael Sotnick, Vice President of Global Alliances and Channels at Pure Storage

All-flash vendor Pure Storage, which sells entirely through channel partners, has announced changes to its Pure Storage Partner Program (P3). While the changes are fairly broad, they are especially designed to provide more benefits to the company’s top partners, who have invested the most in Pure.

“This is definitely an evolutionary step for Pure, and is the first major enhancement to the P3 program,” said Michael Sotnick, Vice President of Global Alliances and Channels at Pure Storage. “Our team collected feedback from our partners, and found a desire for more differentiated benefits for top partners, as well as a general enhancement of enablement.” The result includes the introduction of a new Pure sponsored headcount incentive for platinum level partners, a fourfold expansion of MDF funds, a new co-branded partner-driven customer reference program, and an enhanced demo purchase program which adds six months free support and the ability to sell a demo unit to customers at a much higher margin – and then obtain another demo unit.

Some significant changes impact geographies outside of North America. While the P3 program in North America consisted of Silver, Gold, and Platinum membership levels previously, the Platinum tier had not been available outside North America. Now it is. Similarly, an Authorized level had existed outside North America, and this has been removed, to have a standard tier system globally. Likewise, while the changes to the Pure deal registration system in Asia Pacific and Latin America are fairly significant, in North America, they are much more limited, to giving partners a self-service ability to view the status of the registration.

The changes which do impact North America are noteworthy, however. An additional incent available to Platinum partners is a Pure-funded headcount incentive, to allow a partner to hire a Pure storage specialist for their organization.

“Typically, this will involve taking a resource who is already in the company, and making them a Pure resource,” Sotnick said. “The expectation is that we will subsidize the partner’s compensation by paying for at least 50 per cent of the individual’s salary. This will let them focus on market facing activities for Pure.”

This kind of vendor funding is more common at the distributor level, but not for solution providers.

“We believe that for solution providers, this is groundbreaking,” Sotnick said.

Another benefit that will be targeted more at Platinum partners than the other levels is a quadrupling of MDF funds available.

“This will bring the message of ‘All-flash’ out to the market,” Sotnick said. “We will keep that funding discretionary, which is the best practice today, and it will apply to apply to partners of all sizes. However, the way in which the MDF will be implemented will be to reward Platinum partners, who have reached that stage based upon their investment. So the MDF support will be disproportionate towards Platinum partners.”

Major enhancements have also been made to Pure’s Demo Purchase Program.

“We have added something really exciting here,” Sotnick said. “We offer deeply discounted demo units, with Gold and Platinum partners being able to purchase two a year and Silver partners one. Now we have added six months of free support to the partner, so they are just paying for the box. After that six months, they can pay for support, or they can sell that unit into the marketplace and have it be compensated as a regular sale, even though they bought it much cheaper so the margin is higher. They can then start over with a new box. That ability to resell the box is also new to the program.”

Pure has been running, in North America only, a Customer Reference Program featuring co-branded customer success stories and incentives for participating partner Account Executives and Sales Engineers. It had not been a formal part of the program previously, however, and had not been strongly publicized. Now it is a formal part of the program, and is also available outside North America.

Other improvements to the program include the addition of a Pure Presales specialist accreditation to the training program, a new government accreditation, specifically for highly security-conscious government agencies, and a new accreditation for a FlashStack architecture built around Pure, Cisco UCS, and VMware.

“The same tectonic shift which happened within the compute layer with virtualization is happening now in storage,” Sotnick said. “Pure’s 100 per cent channel focus and our dedication to our channel partners positions us well to deal with that transformation.”