Commvault’s New Channel Strategy: “Partner-Led” with New Discounts

Data protection and management software developer Commvault on Monday unveiled a major change to its channel program that it says will make it easier for partners to earn money working with the vendor.

The change, primarily focused on a significant increase in how partners can receive discounts, is part of a decision by Commvault to implement a partner-led go-to-market strategy, said Riccardo Di Blasio, Chief Revenue Officer of Tinton Falls, New Jersey-based Supplier.

“Commvault’s new go-to-market strategy will be partner-led,” Di Blasio told CRN. “We looked at how to impact our community of partners, including Tier 1 and Tier 2 VARs. We serve our customers through someone else. And that other person is a distribution partner. We want to give them more benefits, not only by paying them better than the competition, but much better.”

[Related: Commvault Hires Former Puppet Master Sanjay Mirchandani As New CEO]

Di Blasio joined Commvault in May following the company’s hiring of former Puppet CEO Sanjay Mirchandani as its new president and CEO. This hiring led Commvault to reorganize its distribution team, in particular with the departures of Ron Miiller, senior vice president of worldwide sales, and Owen Taraniuk, global manager of partnerships and market development.

Carmen Sorice, vice president of global route services at Commvault, told CRN that the change in channel leadership was not a shake-up but rather a continued development of the company’s channel strategy.

“As we were rolling out a distribution strategy, we decided to bring the company closer to the field and to regional organizations,” Sorice said. “It has meant some leadership changes. And with Riccardo on board as chief revenue officer, it will accelerate that move.”

Di Blasio, who previously served as CEO of Globetouch and has held leadership positions at Cohesity, VMware and EMC, said changes in a company’s channel often accompany a change in CEO.

“[Mirchandani’s] ready to do a second act for Commvault,” he said. “The former CEO was also the founder of the company. And when there is a new CEO in such cases, you can expect changes.”

Sorice said that since last year’s Commvault Go Partner Conference, his company has invested in channel program simplicity and improved partner enablement, and is now focused on improving benefits in three ways.

The first is a big expansion of new customer discounts, which are additional discounts vendors offer to solution providers who sign up net new customers. Commvault is now extending these discounts to all new customer sales made through the partner within 180 days of customer sign-up, Sorice said.

“They have 180 days to grow their business and get more discounts for new customers,” he said. “Andy, they continue to get discounts on the backend for these sales as well.”

Commvault takes the gloves off with partners signing new customers, Di Blasio said. “For us, this is not a new client,” he said. “We see it as a way to churn the waters. We don’t want partners to think they’re transactional.”

The second new incentive is what Sorice called proxy quota rebates. Commvault offers quarterly bonuses to partners who reach their sales quota for each quarter, but will now extend this with an additional annual bonus, with new accelerator bonuses for partners who reach 120% or 150% of their annual quotas.

“We don’t want partners to just hit their target, but to do it over and over again,” he said. And as the year progresses, a partner may miss a quarterly bonus, but can still get the annual bonus.”

The third change is increased business development funds that allow partners to secure more funds to conduct joint marketing and demand generation programs with Commvault, Sorice said.

It’s good to see Commvault looking to make it easier to get discounts, said Glenn Dekhayser, field technical manager at Red8, a Costa Mesa, Calif.-based solutions provider and longtime Commvault partner.

“It’s good to see that the new discounts aren’t an all-or-nothing proposition,” Dekhayser told CRN. “Even so, we sell Commvault primarily because it’s a technically vastly superior product.”

Dekhayser said he will closely monitor the impact of the new partner benefits.

“It will be interesting to see how partners leverage these enhanced discounts to incentivize their sales forces to sell Commvault,” he said.

Tanya J. Hill