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It’s been 18 months since NetSuite introduced its partner programme, and the firm has indicated it has been making solid progress with the channel across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
The supplier cut the ribbon on SuiteLife in April 2019, and so far, 245 partners across EMEA have signed up. The ambition to use a simplified programme as a way of attracting fresh blood has also seen the partner network increase by 24% over the same period.
Chris Norfolk, channel director for EMEA at NetSuite, said it was encouraged by the levels of participation in SuiteLife from the channel. “We’ve also been able to acquire partners a lot quicker than we have done in the past,” he said. “The last number I saw was 24% growth in partners joining the programme.
“Even during the current circumstances we’re seeing that our partners have growth rates quicker than ever,” said Norfolk. “The last number I’ve pulled, which was a quarterly view, was around 37% growth year over year. Even in the interesting times we’re in at the moment, [the programme] is helping partners get up and running and selling quicker, implementing quicker and selling more, which is good for everybody.”
He added that compared with its previous channel efforts, the current programme is much easier to navigate, and that meant onboarding new prospects was less complicated.
“They’ll go through the onboarding and we are seeing partners selling in three months now, getting their first live customer, rather than nine months or so like we saw before,” said Norfolk. “Throughout that process, they will then take on extra skills and learn them as they need them, rather than trying to teach everything upfront.
“One of the inhibitors before was that we were going to teach you everything, and that’s going to take months and month. You’re not going to see a return in that case, and I think people were nervous about that. The fact that they can now learn as they go and start seeing a return significantly quicker makes it much more attractive to propose to prospective partners.”
Enhancing the programme
He said that the plan had always been to avoid making SuiteLife a static programme, as well as enhance the offering, remaining open to partner feedback from the start. Some of the ideas from resellers have shaped developments and enhancements.
“We’re now reviewing and asking which pieces we think are working and which ones we can do a little bit better on,” said Norfolk. “In 12 months, I expect it will be different to what it was today, and we’re going to continually look back and see what’s working and what needs to work better.”
A few weeks ago, the latest of those enhancements was introduced, with the latest adaptation to SuiteLife seeing the supplier launch a programme targeting business process outsourcing partners across EMEA.