Zerto reworks channel program to better manage growth, cloud partners

Zerto has introduced some new compensation features, and is also consolidating its programs, bringing its cloud program into the main program now, with vendor technology partners slated to follow early next year.


Mariah West, Zerto’s Director of Partner Marketing

Availability and disaster recovery vendor Zerto has announced a significant reworking of its Zerto Alliance Partner (ZAP) Program. New elements have been added to partner rewards, and the training has been revamped.

“We changed the old program because of the economies of scale,” said Mariah West, Zerto’s Director of Partner Marketing. “Zerto has grown so significantly over the last couple years. When we went all channel in 2012, we launched the original program with 33 partners. Now we have 1500 partners globally. We also started addressing new channel audiences. The original program was traditional channel, and as we have grown we have added more cloud service providers.”

Previously, there had been a separate program for cloud ecosystem partners. Now they are both in one program. In early 2017, they will be joined by vendor technology partners as well, as Zerto puts every partner type that it has under one roof.

“We wanted to make sure we provided the proper support, and the same degree of support across all the partner types, while providing a really clear differentiation between partners, as well as appropriate rewards,” West said.

Two of the entirely new elements in the program both relate to partner compensation. The first, a way to compensate individual salespeople in a non-spiff format, is called Zerto Perks.

“Zerto Perks is a gamification platform, which rewards people for the achievement of challenges,” West stated. “The feedback from partners was that our program tended to reward the company rather than people for achievement. While we had spiffs, they were on a partner by partner basis.”

Zerto Perks is philosophically different from a spiff program, which is generally related to specific sales accomplishments.

“Partners get points for fulfilling challenges,” West said. “Most of these are not sales-related, although there are some, like registering your first deal. The challenges are designed instead to reward individual partner staff for their overall contribution as an advocate. So they get a challenge like achieving a certification, for 750 points, or sharing a Tweet, for 75 points. The points can be redeemed for gift cards or rewards.”

The second completely new feature is a more systematic way to disburse marketing development funds.

“We are now providing funds at a company level – Accrued Marketing Funds – to reinvest in building a Zerto Business,” West indicated. “In the past, we have used discretionary funds, which still exist. But now partners who have deeper relationship with Zerto can get 3-5 per cent back in marketing funds depending on meeting criteria. These criteria are based on education, marketing campaigns and the number of new customers.”

The program has three tiers, the same as before, but enhancements have been made to several areas. A key one is training and certification.

“It is important to certify on delivering products, but you have to make it efficient, so we have taken a very hands-on approach to training, to make it more efficient,” West said. The new training is all free, is online, and is presented in a simulation, sandbox-like environment.

“We have reduced the PowerPoint guide-based training to a minimum,” West stated. “We’ve received amazing feedback from this, and have reduced the time needed for certification to hours – as opposed to days or weeks.”

Other enhancements include the streamlining of the ZAP Portal, to provide fuller access to sales, marketing and technical resources. New management tools have also become available with the launch of Zerto Virtual Replication version 5.0. A new mobile application allows remote administration from anywhere, and role-based provisioning and management designed for cloud service providers is provided.