NetSuite to add tiers to partner program

Craig West, vice president of channel sales at NetSuite

Craig West, vice president of channel sales at NetSuite

After maintaining a relatively flat partner program throughout its history, cloud-based ERP vendor NetSuite has announced plans to add tiers to its partner program.

The new partner program, dubbed Partner Altitude, was introduced by NetSuite channel chief Craig West at the company’s annual SuiteWorld conference in San Jose, in response to concerns that it was too difficult for partners to differentiate themselves in an increasingly crowded market.

“We’ve always kept it pretty simple — we reward you based on what you sell, but as we’ve gained a lot of maturity in our marketplace, we felt like it’s time to get a bit more sophisticated, and give our top partners more credentials,” West told

Altitude will introduce Premier and Elite tiers on top of the homogeneous community of solution providers in the program. The company did maintain a list of star-rated partners, but West said that was based entirely on sales volume.

The new program will instead base status on a combination of four categories, or as West puts it, “the four Cs.”

Under commerce, NetSuite will measure a partners’ ability to sign new customers. Under competency, partners will qualify based on the certifications they hold. A customers category covers success, retention, and account management with existing customers. And finally, a Collaboration category will consider a partner’s alignment with NetSuite in terms of business planning.

Under each pillar, there will be a system whereby a partner can earn up to 100 points, and top partners will move up the ranks. The company currently has about 400 partners worldwide, and West said the Elite category will likely be 10 per cent of the partner base or less. Premier will likely be the next top 15-20 per cent of the partner base.

“They’re both meant to be aspirational,” West said. “And Elite is meant to be very aspirational. It will be very hard to reach.”

That said, based on the company’s current measurement of partners, West said he’s confident that “there will be Elite partners come January 1.”

As West suggested there, the new credentials and the new branding for partners go live on the first day of 2017, although Altitude measurements will start showing up on partners’ NetSuite dashboards by early in the third quarter to help partners plan their path to upper levels of the program.

While the new program shows an interest in expanding how the vendor recognizes the value partners provide, West was also clear that growth — represented by the Commerce category — is by far the most important measurement.

“Recurring revenues [from existing customers] is a benefit you continue to earn by adding new customers every year,” he said. “To stay in good standing, and to continue to earn new revenues, you have to meet the new customer minimum.”