Sun Microsystems for the first time is making training materials and methodologies used by its direct sales force available to the channel under a refreshed partner program.
Under the program, Sun partners would be trained and certified to sell the company’s infrastructure products and services. This would initially be in the areas of data centre consolidation, identity management, storage and data management, said Michael May, director of partner sales at Sun Microsystems.
The training was in line with that provided to 100 direct sales staff within Sun’s Client Services Organisation (CSO).
“We felt that the training and certification program had fallen behind the times and we needed to refresh it,” said May.
Using the web-based training program resellers would do a “self-assessment”. If a partner passed, they gained accreditation immediately without having to complete that module. If they failed, they were required to complete training.
According to May, Sun’s direct sales force would feel more comfortable dealing with partners. In the past, some direct sales staff felt that partners didn’t have the required skills, he said.
Sun direct sales staff were required to engage partners on deals, he said. “It’s been difficult in the past to have an effective engagement [with partners]. We couldn’t cope with the volume,” he said.
“The new web-based learning capability is significant. It gives us the flexibility to provide partners with the skills they need on an individual basis as soon as they want them,” he said.
The company also announced a “commercial sales model” which had seen it employ telephone-based account managers that would find and qualify leads for channel partners.
Initially this service would be available to NSW and Victorian partners with plans to rollout across the rest of Australia and New Zealand over the next 12 months.