Digital performance management vendor Apica introduces first channel program as part of push to expand partner sales

Matt Wilkinson, vice president of revenue operations at Apica Systems

Apica Systems has introduced their first formal partner program. The Apica Partner Program is a two-tier program that begins with a small number of partners, but the objective is to expand that significantly. They are also looking to increase partner profitability by driving partner success with professional services and managed services around the Apica platform.

Apica has several well-established competitors in their space, but they see themselves as significantly different from the rest.

“We compete with Catchpoint, New Relic, Dynatrace, Datadog, but the big difference between us and them is that we are a best of breed tool,” said Matt Wilkinson, VP of Revenue Operations at Apica. “With them, synthetic monitoring and load testing is just part of their solution, whereas with us, that is our focus.”

Apica has sold mainly direct in the past, and direct still accounts for most sales, but the goal is to increase the focus on the channel sales model and become a channel-first company in the not-too-distant future,

“Partners began to enter our business model around 2015, with some select technology integration partners, most notably AppDynamics, Wilkinson indicated. “We are still very much a direct sales force, but our goal is to have the channel drive about 30% of our total revenue moving forward.”

That required a formal channel program with proper support. While Apica had a channel program before, it could best be characterized as ad hoc.

“It wasn’t a formal channel program,” Wilkinson acknowledged. “ We had partners and worked with them, but didn’t use the program to actively promote the channel in the same way that a channel program does.”

Wilkinson indicated that today Apica has six channel partners, which no longer includes AppDynamics, because they acquired a competitive product.

“We are looking to double the number of partners by the end of the year,” Wilkinson said.

He noted that partners tend to be focused on two areas, finserv/insurance and manufacturing.

“We are trying to drive partner success by encouraging professional services and managed services around the platform,” he noted. “We really do see it as valuable for our partners to help increase adoption of our advantages around synthetic and load management.”

The program includes a two-tiered approach with incentives, training and streamlined contract management across all tiers.

“The tiers are based on the amount of revenue we expect a partner to generate,” Wilkinson indicated. “The entry level is the Silver tier, with an expectation of $250k in annual revenue. They start at a 15% discount. Gold partners get a 20% discount and have an expectation of a $500k target per year. We also provide a partner team incentive if they help close. It’s like a deal reg process where they can get an extra 10%. That’s for both tiers.”

The program also has three main partner tracks – resellers, which includes MSPs, SIs, and a tech partner track.

“With service providers, we drive more revenue for them, and they drive more licenses for us,” Wilkinson said. “We see that as a win-win.”

Training has also been upgraded.

“We are putting more focus on training partner, and aligning it with our direct partner and customer training around sales, Go-to-Market and specific training around both implementation and usage of the platform,” Wilkinson noted.