Security player Avast started the year by inking a deal with Westcoast as it looked to expand its channel across the UK, and its efforts to attract and reward partners have continued over the past few months.
The decision to onboard a fresh distribution partner is part of a wider ambition to swell partner numbers and to ensure the firm is putting its cyber security proposition in front of as many small and medium-sized customers as possible.
At the helm of the strategy is Marc Botham, vice-president of worldwide channel and alliances at Avast, and he has a clear view of the importance of the firm and its channel in protecting customers.
“What we are doing is very clear in finding the space in which Avast business is focused, which is very much on the SME space,” he said. “We really understand the SME customer and for me there’s only route to market, and that’s through the channel.”
Botham added that the firm understood the hopes and fears of SME customers and it could protect and support their growth ambitions.
The vendor has been refining its programmes to make sure it is attractive for partners and is giving its top-level resellers more rewards for bringing in business. Platinum partners can earn up to 55 point margins for bringing in an incremental deal.
“We have signed up some big distributors that are very keen to work with us and we are on a recruitment drive right now,” he said.
“A lot of partners are coming over to us. The market is rapidly changing, there are some players in the market that are moving away from the SME space and we are seeing more of those partners coming over to us. They are proactively coming to us and one of the things we have got is big open arms right now and saying, ‘we’re welcoming you all, partners’.”
One of the targets Westcoast was expected to go after were MSPs and Avast has a programme to support those that sign up and is looking for those that are keen to sell a solution, not just a product.
“We now have a proposition that is really compelling and we very much see it as a partnership,” said Botham.
“The only way we are going to build our business and expand our businesses is with the channel. A lot of the channel partners have incredibly strong relationships, as trusted advisers delivering those business outcomes to their customers that allow them to promote and sell our technology. It comes in many forms – we deal with traditional VARs, we deal with those born in the cloud, with the MSPs, so we cover the whole channel.
“I think if we were to look past 12 months ago, and look at this now, in terms of a channel, it’s completely transformed. I think this is a company that completely understands that channel is key to that growth. We are making investments in the channel programme all the time and our partners are benefiting as a result.”
Botham added: “In terms of the market conditions those partners will be selling into, the past year has been a busy one, with users working from home scrambling to get technology to protect themselves, and there are signs of that continuing as we move into a hybrid working world.
“I see that only growing strongly, not only through the rest of this year, but through the following years too.”