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Symantec Adds Micro-Financing for SMB Partners

Move comes as software vendor increases education programs to help partners with basic business topics.

Symantec Corp. launched a small financing program in August to help its small to midsize business (SMB)-focused partners survive the slow payment environment that plagues many sales and threatens partners' cash flow at the moment.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based security and storage software vendor, which was named to the Redmond Channel Partner Platinum Program for 2009, is one of the vendors most often represented by Microsoft partners.

"We're extending the terms from net 30 to net 60 for the partners in this program," says Randy Cochran, vice president of Symantec channel sales. Set up through GE Capital, Symantec will pay the points to give partners the extra 30 days to pay distributors of Symantec's products -- including Ingram Micro Inc., Tech Data Corp., Synnex Corp. and Douglas Stewart Co. -- for the software they order on behalf of customers.

To qualify for the program, a partner must belong to the Symantec Partner Program at the Registered or Silver level and must have passed Symantec's SMB specialization. Currently, about 700 partners have gone through Symantec's SMB specialization.

Cochran says the SMB transactions average about $1,000, and the program is the first formal financing from Symantec aimed at the SMB space. "As you move up to enterprise or large enterprise, we'll entertain financing on a customized, one-off basis," he explains.

In conjunction with the financing program, Symantec created a new partner-training program focused on business topics. "This isn't your typical training on speeds and feeds on solutions. It's a how-to in the business world on topics like cash-flow management. It shows how they can run a more profitable business," Cochran says.

Symantec launched three training modules and will roll out a new one every other week until about a dozen are available. Symantec partnered with Channelcorp Management Consultants Inc. to create the modules. "In this down economy, what we're trying to do is create a sense of urgency in this space," Cochran explains.

About the Author

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