Supermicro tweaks partner program with new website, marketing and training resources

Supermicro also wants partners to make more use of Centres of Excellence to demonstrate POCs to customers.

San Jose-based ODM Supermicro Computer has announced new enablement resources for their channel partners. They include new training and co-marketing offerings, and a new portal to deliver them to their resellers. The announcement was made at Supermicro’s annual Innovate! event in Berlin for their European channel partners, where over 300 people were in attendance.

Supermicro’s differentiation from other OEMs has been based on being able to deliver an enormous selection of very differentiated SKUs, which they make a point of trying to be first to get to market. They once sold exclusively through channel partners, although that changed as they did more business with large enterprises and hyperscale players who wanted to buy direct and get white glove service.

“A very healthy chunk of our revenue comes through the channel,” said Neil Blecherman, Director, Global Marketing for Alliances and Operations at Supermicro. “In looking at how we want to grow the business, we looked at how we could better serve our partners. We decided it would be mutually advantageous to centralize the assets we offered them. It’s not changing what we sell or how we sell it. It’s helping them with how they sell, and helping them sell from the beginning to the end of the sales cycle.

The benefit structure is somewhat dictated by the flat partner program

“We don’t tier,” Blecherman said. “We offer all benefits to all partners, working from premise that the best way to support is uniformly, with all benefits available to all partners.”

Blecherman said that over 350 of their partners could be described as registered and active.

One major change was in the website that Supermicro uses to manage its partners.

“The site has been completely revamped and restructured in a way to make it easy to identify and use the assets,” he said.

Training material available through the portal has also been revamped.

“Our salespeople were spending significant amounts of time educating partner salespeople on our products, existing and new,” Blecherman said. “This cycle continued as we introduced new products and as our partners hire new people. So we have increased the emphasis on training material in our launch We have taken old material and are aggressively adding to it. This is on-demand, self-serve material online, although Supermicro also continues to offer free face to face training to partners.”

Blecherman noted that Supermicro is considering further initiatives in this area.

“Oracle refocused their partner program very effectively around subject matter,” he said. “Their incent was like boy scout merit badges. We aren’t doing that today, but that’s certainly an option for us.”

Co-marketing support is being extended, through joint advertising and marketing programs, including tradeshows and Innovate! events, and customer training.

“These are in addition to our existing co-op program,” Blecherman said. “Making available assets for campaigns in this way is new for us. We are also now making our marketing assets like logos and advertising available to the  channel, which is something that we hadn’t been doing before. It’s another part of helping customers in every phase of their sales cycle. For some customers, developing advertising content is a challenge.

Supermicro also is emphasizing their Proof of Concept support, which enables testing and validation of pre-configured new solutions using Supermicro products in onsite labs, or through remote systems. They also facilitate early access programs.

“We have two Centres of Excellence, which are doing good work for salespeople who are aware of them,” Blecherman said. “We wanted to make sure they are known to all partners and accessible to those who have great Proof of Concept opportunities. These are impressive, and we want them to be more widely known.”