Channel partner programmes are a fine art form that can come in various interpretations but increasingly over the past few years the focus has been on using deal registration as a way of identifying those partners that are generating business and breaking new ground with fresh opportunities.
Most partner programmes continue to have a mix of value and revenue but the latest offering from security player Malwarebytes leans heavily on deal registration to build a scheme based on rewarding those that generate exposure and reach for the firm.
Resellers will be able to gain gold and platinum levels based on the number of deal registrations. The traditional measurements of revenue, certified staff and point systems are being avoided to try and make sure those that join the programme focus on customers.
The vendor took the view that revenue targets rewarded those that hit them but on the flip side also penalised partners that failed to reach the levels set out by vendors.
“Vendors often make partners jump through far too many hoops, wanting arbitrary criteria to be met, often dictating to resellers how to run their business. We’re not doing any of that," said Anthony O'Mara, EMEA vice president at Malwarebytes.
“As a company, Malwarebytes has always been innovative and we’re carrying that ethos through to our partner programme,” he added "We know our partners run successful businesses. So we’ve designed our programme to be flexible, forward-looking and mutually beneficial. We want our channel to feel part of a mutually beneficial partnership where both parties are invested in driving growth together.”
In an effort to get some more detail on just how the partner programme will operate MicroScope put some questions to O'Mara about how it will all work.
Q: Does the deal registration process take into account opportunities that more than one partner might have worked on?
Each deal registration for a Malwarebytes solution will be reviewed to ensure it meets the criteria and is approved for the partner that has submitted it. That partner, irrespective of their partnership level, will be eligible for the additional discount. While multiple partners may be engaged in an overall customer solution, we will work with the partner, with the approved registered deal, and the customer. These deal registration rules will be available for all of our partners via our partner portal – Partnerbytes.
Q: Surely revenue will play some role in determining who the most influential partners are?
We believe there is a direct correlation between deal registration, visibility, and closure of business. Therefore, by default, those with the highest deal registations will likely have the highest revenue. What distinguishes this programme is the recognition that whether revenue is immediately raised or not, exposure has lasting value so that is the criteria on which we are measuring our partners.
Q: When you have discussed this approach with partners what has been the reaction? Have they sounded positive?
In one to one discussions with our distributors and partners they have been very positive about the introduction of the EMEA Partner Programme and we expect it to be really popular - we're looking forward to receiving further feedback once it officially launches.
Q: Is the deal registration process going to be a robust one that is well policed?
Yes. The Malwarebytes Channel Manager will be responsible for the approval or denial of the opportunities being registered via the partner portal. The "lead" will come into them from community portal and will be reviewed against our set channel criteria.
Q: Would you take it as a compliment or be annoyed if in a year’s time other rivals were mimicking your approach to building a channel programme?
I'd not be surprised or offended if other vendors began to mimic this approach. We're proud to champion a partnership programme built around the principle of being mutually beneficial. Too often programmes don't help partners, they tie them down with arbitrary targets and that works in no one’s interest. If other companies were to take this approach I'd certainly take it as a compliment.