Fortinet has questioned the logic of the prevailing deal registration model after launching a deal registration programme that offers no extra discounts.
The security vendor claims the upfront sweeteners that are part of most deal registration programmes have spawned a sub-industry of reseller staff employed specifically to cynically register "anything that moves".
In contrast, Fortinet's first-ever UK deal registration programme offers no automatic discounts, a move country manager Mark Hyland admits did not initially go down well with partners.
"By registering a deal, you are going to get our focused attention on that deal. I believe that on its own should be enough," he said.
Almost all the major vendors – Microsoft being a prominent late entry to the party – now offer deal registration schemes to protect resellers' investment in generating new sales. But Hyland argued that an over-emphasis on discounts has seen deal registration diverge from its original aims in two ways.
Most importantly, it may have decreased the chances of the most-skilled resellers from winning the deal in favour of those most able to navigate vendors' CRM systems, he said.
"Certain larger integrators and resellers have hired people to just do deal registration," he said. "They sit there all day registering deals on Salesforce.com.
"Does that mean they are the right partner? No, it means they have the resource to sit there and go through the systems of all these vendors."
Secondly, he argued vendors who offer an upfront sweetener may be giving money away for no reason.
"Was that additional discount required by the vendor? I think not," said Hyland.
"If they need price support against other competitors, we will do that with the reseller that has agreed deal registration. That is the incentive: register it and work with us on it, rather than just getting paid a percentage."
The programme is available only to Gold and Silver resellers, although Bronze resellers can register deals through Fortinet's UK distributor, Exclusive Networks.
Hyland added: "When we launched the programme a lot of the resellers' first question was ‘how much do we get'? They told us it was not going to work, but most of our key partners are now using it."
Chris Walsh, sales director at Exclusive Networks, said: "I think we will see more and more vendors go down that route. That would not work in a cutthroat anti-virus world. But if you look at our products, none of them are commoditised.
"These are products where deal registration is so important. Some of the deal turnaround times are three to six months. Partners need to know that their investment is protected."
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