Orange, Calif.-based Web security vendor M86 Security has updated its channel program with a simplified partner portal program and new incentives the company announced today.
M86 was originally four separate companies amalgamated through various acquisitions over the past several years. Since 2008, the company has been moving away from its previous direct sales strategy to make its channel a priority, according to Paul Myer, the vendor’s senior vice president of corporate development. “Last year, we made the commitment to move to a 100 per cent channel.”
Over the last year, the vendor has also rolled out its M86 University program, or its partner training initiative. “It’s one thing to provide the training but another to provide the incentive,” Myer said, so these new changes were the next logical step in developing the vendor’s channel strategy. “You’ve got to have the tools available for them to use.”
The redesigned M86 PartnerFocus Portal includes a new marketing automation tool that allows partners to customize their marketing assets more easily. It also includes dashboard views of deal registration status, automated enrollment for all new partner and simplified search functions aimed to help partners find information faster. The idea is to have a single pane to access all M86 materials, according to Myer.
“Once they login they have access to anything they need to market a product…and take advantage of all of the tools,” he said. “We actually have worked with all of our partners proactively as we developed the portal,” Myer said. Channel partners were looking for a way to speed up their sales process without too much input from the vendor. “That’s always one of the requests- give me the tools we need to be successful and I’ll pick up the ball and run with it,” he said.
The portal changes are currently targeted at North America, where the company has roughly 300 channel partners. M86’s Canadian partners include CDW Canada, Softchoice Corp. and White Hat, among others. “We will add incremental partners but we’re not looking to cast a wide net,” Myer said.
“The portal itself is a global portal and the concept will be localized in local languages,” according to Choo Kim-Isgitt, M86’s director of corporate marketing. A similar rewards program to the newly announced incentives is already running in the U.K.
With the new incentive program, channel partners receive rewards automatically for sales they accumulate. Incentives include entertainment, travel, electronics, gift cards and Visa debit cards.
“We’ve always had the challenge of ‘how do you provide incentives to our channel partners’ sales rep to help them to have some motivation to develop some expertise?’” he said. “With this enhanced program that we’re launching now, the only thing a partner has to do is register initially…we do the rest of the work.”
“It allows us to increase our incentive on a particular product that we want to focus on seamlessly,” Myer said. Right now, for example, M86 is offering its partners extra incentive on its Secure Web Gateway product, but if the vendor decides it wants to promote another product more aggressively later, it can do so more easily with the portal. For M86’s own channel management within the company, “this just gives them another tool to track the progress of their channel partners.”