New resources aim to drive profitability for partners and make it easy for them to do business with the network solutions provider. By Cecilia Galvin
By Cecilia Galvin
April 11, 2012
D-Link’s partner program is ever-evolving. “When we design our program, there is no finish line,” says Steve Ryan, director of North America channel programs for the Fountain Valley, Calif.-based designer, developer, and manufacturer of unified networking solutions. The latest upgrade to the company’s Value in Partnership (VIP) program became available to partners last month, and is now designated VIP.
The new program offers three partner tiers: Registered, Silver, and Gold. All VIP partners have access to D-Link marketing and sales resources, a deal registration program (6 percent to 10 percent of MSRP), pricing assistance, priority technical support, and the D-Link certification program.
Gold and Silver partners can also benefit from quarterly rebates and D-Link’s bounty program (3 percent of MSRP), which pays partners even when a registered deal is lost to a competitor. Resellers move up to Silver and Gold levels based solely on completing certifications—there are no revenue requirements. “All training is online, on-demand, and no charge,” notes Ryan. “They’re self-paced, downloadable files.” Available certifications are D-Link Sales Specialist, for sales professionals; D-Link Certified Specialist, for presales technical professionals; and D-Link Certified Professionals, for network engineers.
The goal of these various programs is profitability for partners. Other such offerings include specialization discounts (5 percent off the purchase price), volume incentive rebates (2 percent to 10 percent of the purchase price), and a GovEd discount (5 percent off the purchase price).
D-Link’s rewards program, which features a more expansive product catalog, lets resellers earn points through sales as well as through the completion of new training modules, which can be put toward a range of rewards. “We usually have anywhere between 30 and 50 of our business-class products with rewards points attached to them,” says Ryan. “The current program has points that per SKU can be valued up to $750.” If a reseller does not wish to select merchandise, points can be converted to cash via D-Link’s own reloadable Visa debit card—another new feature.
The company has also integrated its distributors’ POS information into the rewards engine, so partners do not need to upload or email proof of performance and wait for D-Link to manually check end-user invoices. “Partners simply tell us the product, quantity, and the distributor’s invoice number,” says Ryan. “It will be easier, quicker, and less hassle for the partner.”
To help drive leads, the company has created a campaign center, which provides partners with a range of marketing resources without charge. Resellers can find banners for Web advertising or generate and distribute self-branded direct marketing campaigns. “The tool is like a CRM platform where partners can manage leads themselves, or they can share them with D-Link using the CRM function,” explains Ryan. “Only then will D-Link see a lead and be able to help work the deal on behalf of the partner.”
The partner portal is key to accessing benefits. With a fresh design that puts information only a click or two away, the portal enables partners to access services more quickly, notes Ryan. And it’s on the portal where partners will access D-Link’s new e-learning program, featuring quizzes on newly launched products that partners can take to earn rewards points.
Also on the portal is a dashboard-style display of personalized information called “My Account” that is unique to each partner. “That means when I log in, I need to know, at a glance, that my partner level is Silver, for example, and I have the following certifications and when those certifications are expiring,” says Ryan. “I need to know what my rewards points are, what orders are coming, etc.” But this is only a starting point, notes Ryan, who says D-Link will ultimately include revenue information, rebate targets, and how partners are tracking throughout the quarter so they can see what’s required to advance to the next tier of a rebate level.
The last new feature, Ryan reiterates, “is our new name: Value in Partnership.”