Extreme Networks stresses pay-for-performance, new customers in channel program changes

Extreme Networks has announced a series of significant revisions to its channel program, with more to be announced at their partner event in October.

Gordon Mackintosh Extreme

Gordon Mackintosh, Senior Director of Worldwide Partner Program and Sales Business Development at Extreme Networks

San Jose-based Extreme Networks has announced a series of enhancements to its Extreme Partner Network (EPN) designed to incent partner actions that Extreme believes necessary to stay on the cutting edge of networking. The enhancements include a new deal registration program. Solutions rebates have been increased across the board, now cover Gold partners for the first time, and include an additional 50 per cent bonus for wireless solutions. MDF funds will now be based for the 12 months going forward on the average of the previous 12 months, to remove seasonal volatility. Service maintenance growth rebates are now available for new sales as well as renewed maintenance agreements. More changes will be announced at the company’s Global Partner Summit in late October.

“We are moving to paying for performance, for solution selling, and for new customer acquisition,” said Gordon Mackintosh, Senior Director of Worldwide Partner Program and Sales Business Development at Extreme Networks.

Mackintosh, whose appointment was announced earlier this year, was tasked with developing the worldwide partner strategy to move the Extreme Networks partner model into the future. The existing partner program was created specifically to bring together the very different businesses and channels of Extreme Networks and Enterasys following the merging of the companies. What Extreme is doing now is reshaping that program to meet the needs of the future.

The new deal registration program offers fixed upfront discounts for new approved deal registrations, increased price protection, and a new tool to increase partner visibility.

“The enhancements to deal registration dovetail into our strategy of going after new customers,” Mackintosh said. “We have also added a new accounts rebate promotion on the back end, which provides a ten per cent back-end rebate for selling into new accounts.”

Significant new rebates have also been added for solutions sales in ExtremeManagement, ExtremeControl, ExtremeAnalytics and ExtremeWireless.

Extreme is increasing rebates for wireless sales, including a possible 50 percent rebate increase for qualifying Wireless Specialized Partner selling ExtremeWireless products.

“Every partner will see a significant increase in rebates on wireless,” Mackintosh said. “Diamond moves from 3 to 5 per cent, and Platinum from 3 to 4 per cent. Gold partners will now qualify for the first time, and will receive 3 per cent.” The addition of the rebates to Gold could signify expand the partner base eligible to receive rebates. Extreme Networks has about 200 Platinum and Diamond partners and around 450 gold partners, with 50 per cent of their revenue coming from the Diamond and Platinum.

“In addition, if a partner is wireless-specialized, they will receive an additional rebate of 50 per cent,” Mackintosh said. “This applies for the Platinum, Diamond and Gold tiers.”

Extreme launched the wireless specialization in March.

“We are just over double figures now in terms of the number of partners who have the specialization, and we have more coming through,” Mackintosh said. “We are pretty pleased with those numbers considering the specialization was only introduced a few months ago.”

Mackintosh indicated that Extreme believes it needs to invest heavily to ensure partners not only invest in wireless skills, but that they keep them current.

“Wireless is becoming easier to install but is a very dynamic environment that is forever changing,” he said. “We want to ensure they will have the right skills in the future, and that they will continue to invest for a dynamic environment. It also fits into our strategy of going full-on for new customer acquisition.”

Extreme has also changed the way it administers marketing development monies, which it terms Extreme Development Funds (EDF).

“We are now providing the partner with visibility of MDF funds for the next 12 months, based on the previous 12 months,” Mackintosh said. “This makes it easier for them to plan because in the past, EDF allocation has been lumpy, depending on when big deals closed. Now, instead of fluctuating quarterly changes, they can plan for the year, and we believe the money will be put to better use.” Mackintosh said that they had had positive feedback from partners about this change.

A new service maintenance growth rebate has also been added for new as well as renewed maintenance agreements.

“This is again consistent with our focus on pay-for-performance and new customers,” Mackintosh said. “This staggered rebate on the maintenance business had been just for renewals in the past, and is now being extended to new attaches.”

Extreme’s new fiscal year begins this month, and new training-as-a-service and self-paced training models will be available to qualified partners in Q2 of the year. This is one of the topics that will be announced in more detail at the October partner event.

“We expect this will go live at the tail end of the year,” Mackintosh said. “It is complementary to our existing training, but online training modules means less time out of the office for partner staff, and less time spent travelling.”

Mackintosh said partners can expect to see further announcements at the Global Partner Conference.

“We will be announcing the next wave of improvements at that time,” he said. “There will be a big focus on cloud and software, as well as increased profitability for demand generation efforts that the partners can leverage to drive demand for Extreme Networks.”