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UPDATE: Citrix Streamlines Sales Process for Partners

Citrix Systems Inc. modified its Citrix Solution Advisor partner program on Monday to make it easier for partners to sell new products.

The new program, called CSA Authorized, allows partners to sell products immediately and line up the previously necessary technical training to implement the products later. To start reselling Citrix wares, VARs will still need to join the Citrix Solution Advisor program at a cost of about $1,000.

"This allows partners to evaluate an opportunity before getting their training," said Tom Flink, vice president of worldwide channels and emerging product sales at Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Citrix. "It might take sales people six months to go out and develop a pipeline for a new product. We're not going to ask our partners to marry us before we date."

Flink said Citrix is trying to lower the barriers to entry for partners to begin selling the company's entire portfolio, known as the Citrix Delivery Center. The CSA Authorized program applies to all of Citrix' products except for XenApp, which still requires partners to get up-front technical training and certification.

Citrix is aiming to encourage existing partners to carry more Citrix products, while also attracting new partners to the Citrix line. Citrix has grown its partner registration by about 20 percent in the last year, Flink said. There are about 8,000 Citrix partner in more than 100 countries.

Flink said the program shows that Citrix recognizes that it's been hard for existing partners to keep up. "Over the last two years, we've introduced about 18 new product lines, and partners had to go get certification and maintain certification on each one of those. What we realize is that requirements on certification don't always meet the needs," Flink said.

To make sure partners do obtain training later, Citrix is making its popular Citrix Advisor Rewards program contingent on partners getting certification on the affected products. Advisor Rewards is a deal registration and influence program. Citrix partners who evangelize Citrix products and register their engagements can receive payment from Citrix for up to 15 percent of the value of the deal, even if it's eventually closed by a transaction-oriented partner.

Kennith Rindt, director of strategic alliances at Bridgeville, Pa.-based system integrator AEC Group Inc., said the new Citrix program is another example of the way the firm understands and addresses the needs of its channel partners. "It gives us the ability to take new solutions to market faster," Rindt said. "We never were in a situation where we sold something we weren't certified on, but we came pretty close sometimes."

For AEC, a Platinum Partner in the Citrix program and a Gold Certified Partner in the Microsoft Partner Program, the CSA Authorized program is a nice addition to Citrix' program, Rindt said. But to him, the best parts of the Citrix program remain the Citrix Advisor Rewards program and the way Citrix avoids competing with its partners for sales.

Editor's Note: This story has been changed. The original version of the story used Citrix' pre-release, unofficial name for the CSA Authorized program.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.