Juniper Networks says it hasn’t been paying enough attention to partners and 2012 is the year to change that. The company had its first global partner conference in Las Vegas last month where it announced a range of new initiatives being rolled out to its worldwide network of partners over the next few months.
The company has announced the official launch of the Marketing Concierge, a free online tool pre-loaded with ready-to-wear marketing campaigns designed for distributors and resellers.
“Only a small number of partners have marketing resources. The big ones do. The others are relying on us,” says Lauren Flaherty, Juniper’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer.
Flaherty says that partners can use the resources made available on Marketing Concierge and create co-branded material to take to customers.
That material can be adapted to each partners’ specialisation. The tool includes event management capabilities to help partners connect with customers.
The company has also announced the launch of a mobile partner application. “Smartphones have eclipsed laptops. We are going mobile as a company and enabling partners to do so too,” explains Flaherty. She describes the mobile app, which will launch in April, as “beautifully simple and elegant”, as well as being another tool that partners can use when selling Juniper solutions.
“Three years ago, partners were asking for more brand-awareness and for us to enable them to better help them help us. We’ve made a lot of progress,” says Flaherty, adding that the new tools are the result of feedback provided by partners worldwide.
“We’re in a complex industry, this isn’t selling soap. The mobile app makes it really simple and elegant. You don’t have to be a network architect to understand it,” she adds.
The company has also announced the release of InnoVAR, a training programme that engages partners with world-leading marketing experts through quarterly skills sessions and educational material.
According to Flaherty, the time is right for this level of investment in the partner community. “We are now occupying a different market position. We are now in top tier networking with HP and Cisco.”
“2012 is a big step forward for our work with partners. It creates a stickier and more valued relationship with partners. Loyalty is critical and this helps us build that. The more productive we can help them become, the more revenue they’ll generate for us,” she adds.
VP of marketing for the Asia Pacific region Alita Wong agrees that, up until now, the company had not been doing enough to support partners. “We have been very thin in what we provide them,” she says, adding that, in spite of the new announcements, the existing partner portal will remain the core of the communication between the vendor and its partner community.
Juniper is distributed in New Zealand through Datastor and Ingram Micro, according to the company's website.
The evolution of Juniper’s partner programme
New training, certification and rebates are some of the changes introduced to Juniper’s partner programme, now renamed Partner Advantage.
According to Steve Pataky, VP of worldwide channel development, the new programme is all about enhancing profitability for partners. He says the company hopes to achieve that through a “standardised partner operating model”. “The programme is designed to be holistic – same structure for distributors and resellers,” he adds. “We believe it will evolve to segment partners into domains.”
The programme will be rolled out to partners across the globe throughout the year and some of the details are still being finalised. Pataky says the company is still “working through the math” regarding rebates but they will fit within the standard front-end discounting rates.
Pataky says that changes to the partner programme and higher investment in partners are highly important as “almost 100 percent of Juniper’s enterprise revenue comes through the channel”. “We’re very reliant on the channel,” he says.
The VP says the company has had a “deliberate strategy to focus on front-end discounting” but was missing “the back-end component”. “We felt it was time to deal with the realities of pricing”.
According to Pataky, Juniper’s partner network grew by 10 percent between 2010 and 2011 and the company expects to continue this past of “controlled growth”. “One of our first principles is to not over-distribute.”
“As a vendor, there is no such thing as exclusivity in the channel. What I hope this is doing is re-affirming our commitment to the channel. Just like Cisco likes to battle with us in the press, bring it onto the channel. We want to make Juniper as appealing as possible,” adds Pataky.
“2012 is all about executing Partner Advantage, reach, accelerate and reward. We’re investing millions of dollars in new systems and infrastructures for the partner interface.”