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IMHO: The revamped Xero partner program

Some weeks ago I wrote a post about my dislike of the Xero partner program. This post was met with horror as expected by hard and fast Xero lovers across the nation. I didn’t mind though because it started a conversation that I think needed to happen. Xero it seems has listened because at the most recent Xerocon, they announced the introduction of a new and revamped partner program. Today I will explain the new program and provide some thoughts on its viability.

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The new program

The new program is all about earning points! Xero would like to reward partners who actively engage with the product and they will do this by awarding points for the following:

  • Getting certified
  • Attending Xero events
  • Going to Xerocon
  • Being invited to a new Xero subscription as an advisor
  • Every Cashbook or Business Edition already owned

Partners with staff who get certified or attend events etc will also accrue points via their staff for their practice.

The new partner status levels will be:

  • Bronze 10 points
  • Silver 30 points
  • Gold 120 points
  • Platinum 500 points

The points system starts as of now, however, the official start date of the new program is 1 April 2015.

What I like about the new program

  • Partners are encouraged to improve their knowledge (and skills) of the product by attending Xero events and training. This is so great. This is what all partner programs should be about – pushing partners to improve knowledge and skills – good one Xero!
  • Partners are rewarded for staying certified. This is important because it is all too easy for partners to avoid the certification test.
  • Partners won’t be rewarded for owning subscriptions going forward, rather they will only attain points if they are invited as an advisor to a Xero file. This takes away the compulsion some partners had previously to grab as many subscriptions as possible and what urked me about the partner program in the first place.

What I don’t like about it

  • Basing the “experience” component on number of invitations to subscriptions isn’t in my book, a great indicator of experience. For example, a partner might attain 50 new files in 6 months whereas, another partner might only attain 2 new files in the same time. Does this make the partner with 50 files more experienced in using Xero than the smaller practice? I don’t think so. Shouldn’t experience be measured on more specific characteristics like time spent using the product, knowledge of various features, using addons, understanding payroll etc. I think Xero needs to do more work here.
  • Partners who already own subscriptions will receive 1 point for each of those subscriptions. Hmmmmm. How is this different to the previous program? Not sure it is but given that Xero will have a mega revolution on their hands if they don’t do this, I suppose there isn’t any other choice.
  • Getting points to attend Xero functions is great if those functions are purely for educational purposes. However, if events are less technical in nature i.e. more fun-focussed, then I’m not sure how they support the “educational” philosophy of the new program and I’m not sure attending those sorts of events should be rewarded.
  • I would like to see more points awarded for attending some events depending on the level of technical outcomes and testing required. Some training would be worth more than just one point in my opinion.

Overall, I think this is a much better program concept than the previous one. I love that Xero are turning their attention to partners’ education and knowledge levels and are rewarding them for improvements in these areas. Knowledge and skills need to be the main focus for all partners. These are far more important characteristics than perhaps Xero’s concept of “experience” being related once again to subscription numbers.

What do you think of the new Xero partner program? Do you think it is an improvement? What do you like or dislike about it? Let me know by leaving your comments below.