Splunk says switch to 'partner-first' sales model has borne fruit

Josh Budd
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Splunk says switch to 'partner-first' sales model has borne fruit

Partner revenues are up 60 per cent at the operational intelligence vendor as a result of change in tack, global channel boss claims

Splunk claims its change of tack towards a "partner-first" sales model has yielded results, as partner bookings grew by 60 per cent in the last year.

According to Brooke Cunningham, area vice president of global partner programmes, the US-based monitoring and analytics vendor has seen partner bookings increase by 60 per cent year over year in its fiscal year ending 31 January.

Cunningham claimed that Splunk has also been driving up partner certifications in the past year. The firm has awarded 5,381 technical certifications in the last 12 months, a 57 per cent increase on the preceding year, while sales certifications have hit 2,692.

Splunk does not disclose how much of its business goes direct and how much is pushed through the channel, but claims that its recent push for channel centricity has yielded results.

The vendor's EMEA senior director of partner and territory sales Ed Dolman talked up Splunk's channel-centric approach after rival SIEM vendor LogRhythm - which puts 100 per cent of its sales through the channel - slammed its competitors for their lack of channel commitment.

"I can't speak for the strategies of our competitors, but for Splunk we are very publicly partner first, and you can talk to any one of our partners about how they are viewing Splunk and the investment we have made to the channel," he said.

"As a company we have come out recently about being a partner-first organisation. We were working with partners all the time but now, with the growth we are seeing, we have come out publicly saying ‘we are partner first'."

Splunk has recently made alterations to its partner programme through simplifying its discount structure as well as implementing a deal-registration desk. Cunningham also said that she has reworked Splunk's rules of engagement with partners.

"The rules of engagement were long and wordy in the past; that has been completely revitalised to consist of just one brief document outlining how we are going to work with partners in terms of deal registration, customer quotes and support.

"Secondly we looked at the discount structure, the way it was before then, we had a lot of requirements for partners to register discounts. Now we have made it easier for them to achieve more discount. In the past the discount was the same but there were so many gates in the deal that they were not accessing discount as easily as they should,"

She added: "We have also put in place a partner deal-registration desk. The process for registering deals was not as predictable as it needed to be. We have added transparency and clearer rules to provide visibility for the partners' process, and a 48 hour SLA turn around on those deal registrations."

Dolman said that revenue and certification requirements have not changed through the firm's partner programme revamp. Partners are divided into three tiers - Associate, Premier, and Elite - with different revenue thresholds based on market size. An Elite partner in the UK or Germany for example is required to generate $4m in bookings revenue, ten sales certifications and four pre sales certifications.

"We are looking for partners who want to make Splunk a strategic vendor in their portfolio," said Dolman.

"From a European perspective, we are looking for the EMEA organisation to be a significant growth engine for Splunk as we go forward. We have added significantly to our headcount across the business and we will continue to do so."

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