McAfee channel chief comes clean to partners

LAS VEGAS – Gavin Struthers, the worldwide channel chief for McAfee, called himself every name in the book. He told an audience of channel partners, of which 25 are McAfee’s top solution providers, that the channel teams in certain areas “stunk”, “struggled” or needed to “do a better job.”

His overarching theme with the channel is to make a better connection and he started with deal registration. The company has increased its eligible bookings by 85 per cent. However, Struthers admitted the company struggled in this area.

“We really struggled in this business especially with paid compensation to the enterprise reps to up there bookings so they would not be compromised by deal registration,” he said.

Even though McAfee offers some of the biggest margins in the channel, rebates continue to be an issue with solution providers. Struthers said that rebates are fundamental for back-end profitability and many channel partners have been unable to make these rebates mainly because McAfee was unclear where solution providers where in the quarter.

That has been fixed, according to Struthers, and recently rebates have spiked by 40 per cent. “We made it better from the portal and the channel can get access to rebate letters from 21 days down to 10 days. And, we are pushing for a three-day turnaround,” he added.

Partner enablement is an area that Struthers said the company “stinks” at. One of the tactical moves he has made was to move away from e-learning and use a continuous learning approach where channel partners can earn points. Currently, McAfee has roughly 7,000 partners worldwide participating in CE education and the company is offering double the CE credits for this initiative.

On top of this points program is a rewards program where channel sales people get spiffs if they lead with McAfee solutions. Struthers reported that in the last 12 months he has seen a 33 per cent increase in this area.

In the McAfee StarTrac program, the channel team at the security vendor accelerated 36 sales courses across 20 countries including Canada. The company has also invested in 150 new channel employees worldwide most are specifically focused on SMB.

The company also plucked Bill Reilly from Apple to run the SMB business at McAfee. There has been some growth in the SMB for McAfee, Struthers said with 20 per cent growth in the MSP space in North America. Last year McAfee only had 10 skus in its MSP program. Today the number of skus increased by 65 per cent.

Struthers introduced a new promotion at the Focus conference where if solution providers bring a new opportunity they will automatically earn $200. This promo runs until the end of the year.

McAfee’s worldwide channel chief will also host a partner executive at the next World Cup final in Rio in 2014 through another promotion. Solution providers who win competitive displacement deals will earn online codes for a chance to win a $25,000 prize package that includes tickets to the World Cup final game in Brazil.

McAfee has assimilated five channel programs attained through acquisitions and so the Partner Alliance Program will be revamped over the next few quarters, Struthers said. New areas that are being worked on is mobility and lead generation that will try to get after the $30 billion addressable market by 2017.

There will also be an upsell initiative. Struthers said there are currently more than 62,000 customers who are up for renewal and he is pushing solution providers to attach one new security solution to all those renewals. One example in the database market. Struthers said that there is a $30 billion market in Oracle and Microsoft databases. Since 90 per cent of all databases are compromised; database security monitoring is something that solution providers can upsell to customers.

“We need to engage better and together for profitable growth. How do we have rigorous execution, fierce engagement and disruptive growth? We have to make a number and smash that number in the channel,” Struthers said.

That number is eight per cent growth, which just happens to be the average growth rate for the entire security marketplace.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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