Riverbed Rise Shines Light on Riverbed’s Channel Transformation at Channelnomics Awards

Bridget Bisnette

We’ve been seeing a lot of great results from our new partner program and we have another accolade to add. Riverbed Rise was honored as the winner of the CIA’s 2018 Channel Transformation Award.

The Channelnomics Innovation Awards (CIAs) are designed to recognize the channel players across North America who bring innovation, forward thinking and excitement to the industry. The winners embrace the ever-changing state of the market and forge ahead of their competitors.

Riverbed’s innovation and transformation of the channel can be seen through our new Riverbed Rise channel partner program, which adapts to the changing IT landscape and how partners are evolving to solve their customer’s technology needs. With the new program, launched in January 2018, Riverbed moved away from a traditional, compliance-based approach featuring rewards tied to certifications, and revenue that needed heavy up-front and ongoing investment by partners in order to maintain compliance and tier status. Riverbed Rise introduces a new performance-based program to the channel, designed to reward all types of partners, business models and various customer technology consumption preferences.

Over the past year, Riverbed has made big changes in its channel strategy.

Riverbed Rise heavily supports Riverbed’s new sales strategy, which is to work more closely with partners to acquire new customers and drive account penetration with new technologies and flexible consumption models. To support this new sales strategy, Riverbed works with partners to focus on its new and existing enterprise and public-sector sales accounts and the newly expanded commercial segment customers.

The program is built on simplicity, flexibility and profitability for partners. It simplifies how partners achieve and continue to maintain their status, and uniquely adapts to multiple business models and partners’ needs. Most importantly, Riverbed Rise rewards achievement across key strategic activities and joint sales priorities.

While the old channel program was a traditional, value-based program with rewards tied to certifications and revenue, Riverbed Rise is flexible with rewards for different types of partner investments and successes. Also, program benefits used to be a “one-size-fits-all” model with heavy upfront and ongoing investment required to obtain and maintain compliance and tier qualification. Now, the program allows partners to accrue and “spend” dividend benefits to match their strategic and operational needs and partner levels, and their resulting discounts are tied directly to earned dividends with no complex compliance requirements.

Riverbed is treating the channel as a business and that means the company is actively tracking the overall benefit of Riverbed Rise to its partners. Overall, Riverbed Rise partner bookings increased by double digits across all geographic regions and more than 200 additional partners earned dividends for rebates and Business Investment Funds than received benefits in the old channel program. Riverbed did not just spread out the same amount of money across more partners, but there was actually a substantial increase in Riverbed Rise benefits with partners earning more this year versus last year.

To lead these changes, Riverbed brought me on as Senior Vice President, Global Channels and Commercial Sales. In my first year, I focused on delivering a new partner experience with the launch of Riverbed Rise that included the new program, a new partner portal, more robust marketing tools with dedicated partner social channels, revamped programs and simplified discounting schedules.

We see a massive increase in partner engagement.

In the months after the launch, Riverbed Rise has seen a massive increase in partner engagement.  Partner engagement is measured by the number of partners engaging on Riverbed’s online Partner Center, the number of deal registrations and partner-initiated opportunities, and the number of new accreditations and certifications. In the last 8 months, Riverbed has seen a 700 percent increase in users on the Partner Center, deal registrations have increased 22 percent over last year, the number of partner-initiated opportunities is up 64 percent year over year and 767 new accreditations and certifications from Riverbed’s new Riverbed Certified Performance Engineer (RCPE) track have been awarded since the program’s launch in January.

Riverbed Rise was also recognized with the Channel Company’s 5 Star Best in Class Program Award and ESG Channel Acceleration Program Innovation Award. ESG stated that the Riverbed Rise program was, “highly evolved and touches all the bases. It facilitates faster deal flow and encourages building high-margin services teams. Most importantly, it gives partners total control over their Riverbed business. They choose how to earn and how to invest benefits based on their own unique business and profitability goals, which means they can invest with confidence.”

This example with our Elite partner Teneo speaks to the powerful transformation of Riverbed’s channel offerings over the past year:

Teneo was one of the first channel partners to engage with Riverbed in 2004. It has since gone on to serve over 450 Riverbed customers across the globe and have over 5000 Riverbed assets under maintenance through its offices in the USA, UK, France and Australia.

“Riverbed Rise gives us much greater flexibility and choice in the way we’re able to support our internal business operations. For example, we have much greater freedom to choose the way in which we invest in our people development, expand our lab environment or boost sales and marketing activities,” said Andrew Humphrey, SVP Sales EMEA and APAC, at Teneo. “This makes our customer service more impactful because we can grow in an agile way based on what our customers need the most from us, and it makes us a much more effective and strategically-aligned Riverbed partner.”

We share this award with all our Riverbed Rise partners – we can’t shine without you!