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Symantec’s New Channel Strategy Charts Course for Successful Partner, Customer Transformation

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Symantec is changing its Global Channel Strategy to reflect the new Symantec 4.0 business culture. Here's a rundown of the changes.

At the annual North America Partner Engage event in November, we pulled back the curtain on Symantec’s new Global Channel Strategy and shared how the company is changing the way we go to market. Symantec has committed to delivering more than 5 percent organic revenue growth with operating margins better than 30 percent and can’t achieve this goal without the partner community. I’d like to take this opportunity to share more details about the new Global Channel Strategy and explain how it represents an important step forward in Symantec’s 4.0 journey.

But first, let me take a brief step back to provide some context around how Symantec got to this point. When Symantec’s CEO, Steve Bennett, joined the company over a year ago, he embarked on a global listening tour where partners, customers and employees voiced a need for Symantec to change. He learned that Symantec had great technology and great people but needed to do more to help customers solve their bigger jobs. In addition, structure, incentives and internal culture were hampering growth. And while Symantec has great point solutions, we also needed to develop new, integrated products that address important customer needs.

With that, we knew we had to completely revolutionize the way we do business and focus on delivering compelling, integrated, higher-value solutions that solve critical customer jobs better than anyone else. The changes to Symantec as a company are reflected within the channel organization—with the goal of making it easier for partners to do business with us, by building partnerships that are more rewarding and by exceeding customer expectations.

Here’s a look at the core components of Symantec’s Global Channel Strategy:

  • We’ve mapped out the playing field for Symantec’s partners to offer them guidance on where to play and invest to win in the market. We looked at the jobs that partners are solving for customers, in addition to how they work with Symantec’s products. We then analyzed the Symantec channel ecosystem to determine which partner types would be best suited to deliver the solutions that customers need, in an optimal way. We are confident that this approach will provide partners with the flexibility to turn investments into more profitable results.
  • We’re investing in Symantec’s most committed and capable partners to drive deeper relationships with customers, while leveraging their unique value to help deliver a superior customer experience. Partners will be recognized and rewarded based on the value they provide. Those who identify new opportunities, demonstrate expertise, close more deals and delight customers will have greater access to partner benefits. Additionally, we’ve re-evaluated training tools and processes to better enable Symantec’s partners with skills and capabilities to help address our customers’ most critical needs.
  • We’re making it easier for partners to do business with us, and providing a more predictable and consistent experience to meet changing customer and market demands. We’re collaborating and aligning with Symantec’s partners on their business objectives to ensure that we are growing our businesses together. We’ve also established clear rules of engagement to ensure more consistent interaction with partners.
  • We’re committed to building a channel-focused culture that understands, appreciates and supports partners’ growth and success—and ultimately the value that they bring to mutual customers.

We are in the process of building the next-generation Symantec Partner Program that supports this new strategy. It will help drive partner growth and profitability, while at the same time offering incentives to keep partners focused in the areas of greatest opportunity. I can confidently say that Symantec is more committed to our partners and distributors than ever before and focused on helping partners solve customers’ most important jobs together.

The Partner Program will be rolled out in phases starting in 2014 and Symantec’s strategy will continue to evolve with the ever-changing market demands and business needs of our customers. The intent is to ensure that we are always investing in the right channels at the right time, while also helping partners to grow and sustain their business. The end results will be great for Symantec customers and will help to widen the addressable market for ourselves and partners.  Ultimately—together with our partners—we will make the world a safer place.

John Eldh is vice president, channel sales, Americas, Symantec. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy's annual platinum sponsorship.

Discuss this Blog Entry 2

Jeff Goldzweig (not verified)
on Feb 27, 2014

John, I don’t know how new you are to Symantec, but they are definitely not helping small partners grow. They are currently focused on taking down the SMB network. This article is not accurate and misleading in that respect.

Today. Symantec is sending mailers to registered clients informing them of their license renewal status. In that letter they mention the Partner name, but they also provide a link to a site where the customer can renew their product at the partner's cost. This obviously being used to bypass the partner relationship and take the customer back from its “partners”. Symantec does not see this as a bad business practice or unethical business practice because they mention the vendors name in the solicitation. But soliciting business away from a partner is not going to grow their business.

A few years ago Symantec contracted out its sales to a company in India. This company was not supposed to solicit partner customers unless the partner failed to contact a client for renewal. The agreement was that clients would be contacted 60 days prior to renewal. Although they swear up and down that this agreement was in force. Clients began getting notifications 90 days in advance for 3 year contract terms. This in effect locked out the “partner” from future sales.

Desperate times call for Desperate measures.

Symantec blames the loss of market share on the transition of its personnel, but in reality they violated their commitment to the SMB channel and started an exodus of their own making. Greed got them a black eye and the practice continues.
Don’t be surprised if they lose more market share as vendors begin to transition their clients to “better solutions”.
SMB’s are not fools. They will protect their client base.

Today partners must send a list of clients so they can be put on a do not call list. Get this, it has to be approved by Symantec. (Ha). This is the dumbest part of all. Leaving Symantec as a partner is much easier and smarter.

on Mar 25, 2014

Hi Jeff – Sorry to hear about the difficulties you experienced. On behalf of Symantec, I wanted to let you know that I appreciate your passion for customers and your dedication to making sure they have uninterrupted support.

We share that passion and have designed our notification process with the same principles in mind. We want to make sure that customers know when it’s time to renew, who their partner is and how to contact them. We have a responsibility to Symantec customers to make sure they know when a renewal is coming up.

Your feedback is invaluable to us as we make changes to our Partner Program in the upcoming months. We’d like to set up a call for you with my colleague Ken and our renewals team. We welcome your feedback and can also discuss future plans for the program.

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