NetSuite revamps partner segments

People sitting around a table having a meeting

Cloud software company NetSuite (NYSE:N) has revealed it is to replace its traditional revenue-based scoring system for partners within its Solution Provider Programme in favour of a new set of performance indicators.

At its partner kick-off last week during its annual customer event, SuiteWorld, NetSuite announced Partner Altitude, “a scoring and recognition initiative” that replaces partner segmentation based solely on revenue.

“Historically we’ve rewarded partners largely based on what they’ve sold. Obviously our partner community has got a lot more mature, our business has got a lot more mature, and over time we’ve built a lot more measures [for tracking partners’ success] and we realised there was an opportunity to pull that together to have a more meaningful conversation with our partners about their practice,” explains Craig West, NetSuite’s SVP of channel sales.

The new system will be based on “four Cs”: ‘Commerce’ is centred on how many new customers a partner brings in; ‘Competency’ is focused on partner certification; ‘Customers’ sees partners measured on customer renewals; and ‘Collaboration’ is where partners are rewarded for working more closely with NetSuite on things like quarterly planning, their attendance at events like SuiteWorld, as well as building a practice in certain vertical markets.

For each of the pillars there are 100 points, with a perfect score available of 400. There will then be three tiers – Solution Provider, Premier Solution Provider and Elite Solution Provider – based on how many points you earn.

Partners can go up a level at any time, but will drop down if at the end of each quarter if the designated scores aren’t reached.

West admits that segmenting partners based on revenue “worked great for us for a long time. We felt it was easy to say ‘as long as you’re selling enough stuff, the rest will take care of itself.’

“But we realised that certain partners that are innovating in these areas deserve to be acknowledged and rewarded for their performance,” he continues. “It’s about us acknowledging our partners in a new way. It’s for partners that are doing really meaningful things, it’s our way of saying congratulations to you.”

It is not clear what monetary benefits partners in the different tiers receive, if any. West maintains the key benefit for partners is that they can “differentiate themselves in the marketplace”

“I don’t want it to be about benefits right away. I want it to be more about acknowledgement and recognition, and not benefits,” he tells Channel Pro, though adds: “I think it sets us up naturally to start adding benefits.”

The Altitude scorecard will appear on the cloud ERP and business software vendor’s partner portal in Q3, and then NetSuite will work with partners throughout Q4 on attaining their scores. “We want to give them six months to get it as high as they can get it,” says West.

The new credentials will be rolled out on January 1.

Elsewhere, NetSuite has built on its Vertical Velocity Programme, which it unveiled at last year’s SuiteWorld and helps partners create and market specific solutions around different industries. This year the vendor capitalised on its vertical-focused roadmap with the announcement of its ‘Suite Success’ programme, which focuses on best practices around selling the company’s software into particular verticals.

“It allows you to say ‘this is how you’re going to do it, this is what NetSuite’s going to look like while you’re using it’ and from that we provision the account, to have all these best practices and workflows and KPIs for that industry already there,” says West.

The new out-of-the-box approach was welcomed by partners in attendance at the event. “It’s a specific vertical approach to the sales and implementation process, which were really looking forward to getting on board with,” Ian Irwin, MD of UK NetSuite partner, NoBlue SaaS, tells Channel Pro. “So we can go in on day one, not with a blank slate, but saying, ‘here’s best practice’. It’s a much better way of going about things.”

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Christine Horton

Christine has been a tech journalist for over 20 years, 10 of which she spent exclusively covering the IT Channel. From 2006-2009 she worked as the editor of Channel Business, before moving on to ChannelPro where she was editor and, latterly, senior editor.

Since 2016, she has been a freelance writer, editor, and copywriter and continues to cover the channel in addition to broader IT themes. Additionally, she provides media training explaining what the channel is and why it’s important to businesses.