Zerto makes changes to channel program and channel management to deepen partner relationships

Zerto is announcing a series of interrelated changes involving new rebates, deal registration, and more strategic partner management, with the goal being to encourage partners to work more closely with Zerto.

Eric Barnhart, Director Channel Sales at Zerto

Today, continuous data protection [CDP] vendor Zerto  is announcing both enhancements to their Zerto Alliance Partner Program (ZAP) and to their internal processes for managing key channel partners. The programmatic changes add new rebates for partners in the top two tiers for bringing in business, although it’s not really a new business rebate since the customer doesn’t have to be new, and the partner doesn’t have a hunt the lead down, just play an important role in bringing it in. They have also deepened the deal registration discount to make it more important as a component of partner remuneration. The other major change involves Zerto’s channel management policies. They have increased  resources to engage key partners in a more top-down, strategic manner, than has been the case in the past.

“I have organized my staff in the Americas to include channel account execs to involve practice leads in a top-down motion,” said Eric Barnhart, Director Channel Sales at Zerto. “Historically at Zerto, our channel motion was very tactical. We had engaged partners at the rep level, and how we might add value to that motion. We have been successful doing that, and we have grown the channel through that tactical motion. We aren’t eliminating that, but we are now adding a strategic top-down enablement model. Through this, we can go in at the executive level and talk about things they take to market and how we can enhance that messaging.”

This isn’t being done with all partners, just the most critical to Zerto’s business.

“We have added resources to the teams that own the executive relationship for eight key resellers across the Americas, where they add Zerto into solution sets that they push down into their teams,” Barnhart noted. “That’s a strategic change, compared to the rep-to-rep engagements without this strategic downflow that we had been using.”

This change was accompanied by changes to the ZAP program designed to encourage partners to sell more Zerto.

“We found that partners would be more likely to add us into deals if we gave them financial incentives to do so,’ Barnhart said. “Platinum and Gold partners in the Americas will now get rebates. Platinum partners will earn 5% additional rebate on deals they initiate or heavily influence, and Gold partners will earn 2.5%.” At this time, the rebates are only in the Americas.

Barnhart made clear these rebates are not  just for new business opportunities.

“Existing opportunities can be expanded, and that qualifies,” he said. “It also doesn’t have to be partner initiated. It can apply where we identified the deal, but also realize that the partner is in a better position to drive it home successfully. This concept of partner influence is important.”

Silver partners aren’t eligible for the rebate, but Barnhart said there is an indirect appeal to them here as well.

“We want the majority of our silver partners to strive to go up, and the new rebates are an incent for them to become Gold partners,” he indicated.

Deal registration has also been enhanced as a percentage of partner remuneration.

“The enhanced deal reg program is designed to protect the partnership, being on one hand a commitment from the reseller to support and drive Zerto in an opportunity,  and a commitment from us to partner exclusively with a reseller believing they are the right influencer in this account,” Barnhart said. “We have neither increased nor lowered the price to the partner, but partners invested further in their Zerto capabilities get deeper discounts as a result of their deal registrations. That is the shift which has taken place.”

Barnhart acknowledged that CDP and journaling, which used to be pretty much exclusive to Zerto when the technology was just high end, and quite expensive, is now being adopted promiscuously by other data protection vendors as the price has come down, but he also emphasized that this hasn’t impacted Zerto’s relationship with key partners or customers.

“We had a unique value proposition,” he noted. “Now many data protection vendors are announcing journaling capabilities of their own, and so it has been commoditized for much of the market. But there are a lot of enterprise customers with highly valuable workloads who would not trust anyone but us to deliver near-zero RTOs on their key enterprise workloads. They still trust those to Zerto. We can do that at scale, and the partners know that.”