ZeroStack remakes channel program for those looking to transition businesses to hybrid cloud

The new ZeroStack channel program is aimed at attracting both VARs and MSPs who want to add a cloud component to their business, but don’t know how to do it.

teve Garrison, ZeroStack’s vice president of marketing and business development

ZeroStack, which makes a Cloud platform that facilitates simple installation and operation of a scale-out private cloud, is remaking its partner program. The company, which sells exclusively through partners, is looking to appeal to traditional channel players looking to make as painless a transition to a hybrid cloud model as possible. Zerostack’s new Cloud Innovation Partner Program includes standard programmatic components like deal registration. However, it also teaches partners how to develop a cloud revenue model, and how to transform a traditional business into a cloud consultancy, and it allots resources to work with partners to help them bring in their first two customers.

The new program replaces ZeroStack’s first channel program, which they rolled out in the spring of 2016.

“Our original program was a classic VAR recruitment program,” said Steve Garrison, ZeroStack’s vice president of marketing and business development. “However, in the last year and a half,  we noticed many VARs struggling to make money selling boxes in more traditional business models. They want to evolve their businesses into a hybrid cloud model, but don’t know how.”

Garrison said that ZeroStack sees an opportunity in helping these partners transform their businesses with ZeroStack technology.

“Everyone see that the market is shifting, and they want to be selling software-as-a-service now,” he stated. “Some people have not yet transformed their businesses however. We think that for us to be successful, we need to be an enabler in changing their business model. Today, the market is changing so rapidly, that you better be changing your partner program regularly to adjust to what people are telling you.”

The new partner program has several innovative components to assist with this enabling function.

“First, we help the partner to do a revenue model,” Garrison said. “For partners who are used to selling servers, teaching them how to generate recurring revenue by selling a service, as opposed to a box, is like teaching a man to fish. Learning the revenue model helps their executive team see the relationship between their investment and their revenues. It required major changes on our part, such as completely changing our training.”

The program is directed to helping partners evolve to incorporate cloud consultancies. In addition to traditional VARs looking to move from beyond pure hardware-centric models, it also includes managed service providers.

“We will recruit some MSPs who are looking to move from virtualized services to cloud services,” Garrison said.

Another big part of the program is a demand generation element, which involves call centre-generated leads as well as seminar, Web seminar and event support, and joint marketing.

“A lot of vendors are afraid to offer that,” Garrison said. “We work with each partner to help them build the cloud, and bring in their first two customers. We’ve already done this with a couple of partners, and they are pretty excited about it.”

The program has two tiers – Partner and Premier. While the suggested discount levels for hardware, software and services are the same for both tiers in unregistered deals through distribution, only Premier partners are able to register deals, and get an additional 10 per cent discount. Premier partners also get their training straight from ZeroStack; regular Partners get it through distribution.

Partners who resell managed services are entitled to additional MSP benefits – exclusive MSP SKUs and tiered pricing on managed service deals

ZeroStack currently has 15 partners in North America, who came from the traditional VAR ranks.

“We are looking to expand this, ideally to get to 30 partners in North America over the next year, and with appropriate regional balance, so we don’t have five partners fighting over the same deal.” Garrison said. “We are essentially cherry picking for a certain type of partner. They will have between $10 million and $50 million in revenue, and want to move into cloud services and offer a private cloud, but don who need help in getting there.”