“We want you to participate in the renewals as a partner. And at the same time stimulate expansion, because renewals are also a good time to expand the business. So that’s the steering wheel of the subscription business. And we really want to build that steering wheel with our partners,” Nutanix CEO Rajiv Ramaswami told CRN.
Nutanix CEO Rajiv Ramaswami’s vision for the channel is for partners to find deals, close them, and then renew contracts with those customers – with a few new subscriptions added – and all that regardless of involvement. of the parent company.
“Where I would like to get to with the channel is that there will be a set of accounts, or maybe segments or regions that are completely driven by the channel without even having any of our reps,” a- he told CRN in an interview. . “I mean, it’s a logical end to where we can take autonomy from the partners. You know, first we help the partners do more, but then it gets to a point where the partner can do everything.
It starts, however, with renewals and channel partner involvement for much of the journey with Nutanix products, from that first installation to selling to the customer through the stack, he said, and the partners must be involved in each phase.
“What we would like our partners to do is to be part of the whole life cycle with us. We have moved to a subscription business. We want our partners to be able to pilot this and bring this business in on their own,” he told CRN. “We want you to participate in the renewals as a partner. And at the same time stimulate expansion, because renewals are also a good time to expand the business. So that’s the steering wheel of the subscription business. And we really want to build that flywheel with our partners.
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Channel partners applauded Ramaswami’s statements, but said to reach that promised land, they needed Nutanix sales reps to stay on the job, adding that ‘churn’ from his sales organization could hamper closing deals. .
“The only thing I would say to him, ‘Please allow some stability in your sales organization,'” said Tim Joyce, president and CEO of Roundstone Solutions, a Nutanix partner in Orinda, Calif. “Nutanix’s sales organization has had so much turnover. They’ve been through so many people. If they got stability, they’d sell a lot more because the product is so good.”
Another partner in a different time zone said that while Nutanix engineers never seem to leave and seem happy, sales people come through every six months, an issue that predates Ramaswami.
“If they could pull themselves together, they would dominate,” the partner said. “It’s the best on the market. They just can’t perform.
Asked about the sales department, Ramaswami said it worked best when he worked “hand in hand” with partners.
“We have strengthened our sales team. We have trained our sales people. We continue to develop them. We continue to hire people,” he said. “We also continue to focus on the productivity of our sales reps and how they can be more productive. But I think part of the equation here is that these two work together. They are not independent entities. The sales people are there. The channel is here. But the two work hand in hand. The best accounts are those where our sales people work hand in hand with a channel partner to go hand in hand. And this is true for a good part of the accounts.
Nutanix has dedicated resources to give partners more freedom to win deals, said Rick Gouin, chief technology officer at Nutanix Winslow Technology Group, based in Waltham, Mass. He said they offer partners a training and empowerment program to do just that. He said, however, that the goal is not just to land more business, but to extend that sale to renewal.
“It’s almost like [Ramaswami] is how you should run a subscription business,” Gouin said. “Some of these other providers used to only have goals for us with revenue. Now its earnings and your renewal percentages. They want upgrades and they want our numbers to be over 100%. »
Vendors, in addition to tracking Winslow Technology Group sales, also look at what percentage of sales are upgraded and by how much from the previous contract. But Gouin said VARs would be better off to adopt this revenue model, due to the predictability of the pipeline, which underpins their business valuation.
“At the end of the day, that’s where we’re going to see everyone go. Now all I’m selling is a subscription. Now I watch everything I do as recurring revenue… What it has done is it makes me think a lot more about bringing in a new partner,” he told About the suppliers he works with. “The days of selling a piece are over. I have to commit to these guys: Nutanix is my jam and I’m going to work with them.
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