Security appliance vendor SonicWall has defended its decision to abolish Silver and Gold partner discounts on certain parts of its product portfolio.
Since 1 April, Silver and Gold partners have been unable to receive discounts on specific SKUs within the vendor's E-Class range without registering deals first.
By doing so, partners will then become eligible for a 35 per cent discount on the manufacturer's recommended retail price for its network security and secure access E-Class products.
In an email sent to partners last week, the vendor said enforcing the deal registration element was designed to "reward and protect partners who focus on the enterprise market".
The move has been met with a mixed response from partners, with some claiming the new system means they will receive less margin than before, while others say it will offer them much greater protection on deals.
One long-standing SonicWall VAR who asked not to be named, said: "It means we are going to have to sell a lot more product to get the same money that we used. This is really going to hit the Gold partners where it hurts."
This is not a view shared by Neil Roberts, chief operating officer at SonicWall VAR Concorde IT Group.
He said: "It is definitely a good move for partners because there is nothing worse than putting in all the groundwork on a deal only to lose it at the last minute because a competitor swoops in with an offer at cost plus two per cent."
Andy Zollo, regional director for Northern Europe at SonicWall, said Roberts' interpretation of the rationale behind the changes was spot on.
"The E-Class products are aimed at the enterprise and the deal size is usually a lot larger," said Zollo. "What we have been hearing from partners for a long time is that they want more protection on these deals and to engage with us at an earlier stage when it comes to delivering on them."
Jim Black, marketing manager at rival security vendor Bloxx, questioned SonicWall's decision to withdraw discounts now.
"We designed our partner programme from the outset to reward and protect partners who initially find and register a deal with us," he said. "Other partners can register and work the deal, but at a reduced margin."
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