Acronis makes changes to partner program to add differentiating and aggressive features

The big focus is helping traditional VAR partners transition to being cloud service providers, and in addition to improved traditional incents, new elements like a program that facilitates collaboration between Acronis, a partner, and a sports team have been added.

Alex Ruslyakov, Acronis’ Channel Chief

Acronis has made a series of significant enhancements to its existing Acronis #CyberFit Partner Program. The changes were generated by transformations in the market, which increase the importance of helping traditional Acronis VAR partners transitioning to being cloud service providers. The comp structure has been revamped to make advancement easier, and to strongly encourage partners to develop joint business plans with Acronis, the selection of which is prepackaged and available online.

This #CyberFit Partner Program was established a year ago.

“The changes that we are announcing now are not just based on partner requests, but on the transformation of the market, and its leverages we can share with partners,” said Alex Ruslyakov, Acronis’ Channel Chief. “We did a survey about what they like about the program, and what they don’t like. We also researched what other vendors they were using and what they liked in their other vendors. For us, just being on par with competitors is not enough to allow us to stand out. As a result, we wanted to be more aggressive with our partner program as well as our offerings.”

Ruslyakov cited one new element in the program as an example of this differentiating change.

“Leveraging our reach into the sports system is one way we can bring new things into play besides traditional benefits,” he said. “We developed this # TeamUp program where we bring three-way partner collaborations between ourselves, partners and sports clubs. The teams benefit from the services provided by our service delivery partners. Both ourselves and our partners share the unique marketing capabilities the clubs can offer, which improves their reach and brand awareness.”

Ruslyakov emphasized that while sport sponsorships can be super-expensive, these are not a sponsorship, but a tech partnership, where all three parties get a benefit.

“We work with all the different sports – Formula One, NFL, MLB, NHL, Euro Soccer teams, Formula E,” he stated.

Another addition to the program is new resources to help traditional partners transform into being cloud service providers.

“This is entirely related to market transformation,” Ruslyakov said. “A lot of our traditional VARs are considering the service provider space as the space to be. We help them transform and adapt to this kind of space. They are not experts in service delivery. We help them add services and combine services. We help them with marketing, billing and provisioning, and we help their tech teams.”

Revenue thresholds for all service providers, which Acronis defines as any and all partners who sell them as a service, have also been eliminated, while revenue requirements for campaigns have been adjusted to make it easier for cloud providers to step up to the gold levels and get the financial benefits.

“With revenue threshold, people look at annual revenue,” Ruslyakov noted. “It’s not the annual amount that’s important for us; it’s their willingness to do a joint business plan with us. This is designed to help SMB cloud provider partners who grow at a very fast pace of growth get better margins for having a joint business plans and MDF for executing the plans. They also get a dedicated partner account manager.”

The available business plans are available on the Acronis Partner Portal.

“They are pre-built packages with regular marketing and social media campaigns that partners can execute,” Ruslyakov said. “We tried them out with a few partners and learned what did work and what did not. It also includes events they host for their prospects.”

These have been adjusted for a COVID world.

“Some traditional marketing packages, like events in hotels with entertainment don’t work, especially in restricted regions,” Ruslyakov noted. “In this new normal, the sports is important. We still to try and organize in person events where we can do that, but you have to be creative.”

This new system is supported by what Ruslyakov called a very aggressive rebate program for service partners.

“They get 10% for Gold and 15% for Platinum if they execute business plans,” he said. “A key point is the role of partner success manager, which we have redesigned to be focused on proactive business development rather than just  reactive support. We want them to focus on growth and business development and have been hiring  people who can do that – basically act as an outsourced business development unit.”

A brand new competitive migration program, that provides financial and professional services assistance available to partners with customers ready to migrate to Acronis, has been added.

“This program is new and very aggressive,” Ruslyakov said. “We are telling our partners who want to get workloads being utilized now by other vendors, that we will compensate them for up to 12 months and help them migrate the customer to our platform. This is another example of us being aggressive in the market.”

New sales and marketing automation tools and pre-packaged content, have been added, including e-mail drip campaigns, which define an audience and schedule them for regular targeted emails to get them interested.

“This gives partners the ability to launch marketing and social campaigns, without having their own marketing tools, which is especially valuable for smaller partners,” Ruslyakov said.

Also new, and set to launch this quarter, is a new cloud-based virtual lab demo environment with Acronis Cyber Cloud components.

“This will allow partners to save costs around demos and training,” Ruslyakov noted.

Finally, an existing NFR program, which provides Acronis Software licenses for partners’ internal usage, has been enhanced.

“This makes it more attractive and available to a broader range of partners,” Ruslyakov said.