Websense is undergoing a "brutal scrub" of its UK channel as it looks to back committed partners and those with the skills to tell its integrated security story.
As part of a pan-European compliance process, 25 of its 50 UK and Ireland Gold partners have been reclassified as Silver and two of its 11 Platinum partners are likely to be rebadged in June.
At the beginning of April, Websense also moved about half of its 4,000 Silver partners across EMEA into a new lower tier called Associate.
Some 500 UK partners were found to have conducted only one transaction with the vendor last year.
Ross Baker, UK channel sales director at Websense, said the process was designed to make its Platinum, Gold and Silver partner categories "shinier" and more relevant.
"We had a pretty brutal compliance exercise, or ‘scrub' as we called it," he said.
"There were three Gold partners in 2010 that did not sell anything. I have no time for those partners unless they want to engage with us."
Websense still generates the lion's share of its revenue from web filtering but is increasingly pushing an integrated security story following the recent launch of an Email Security Gateway (ESG) offering.
"The Platinum club deserves to be more exclusive. As we are going to market with a completely new story around ESG, our Platinum partners need to be accredited and must invest in what we are trying to do technically. I would be surprised if we did not move two Platinum partners down into Gold at the end of June."
At the lower end, Silver partners will now be forced to meet compliance requirements for the first time. This includes exceeding a £100,000 revenue gate – 30 per cent of which must come from new business – and holding both technical and sales certifications.
Despite the mass cull, Baker maintained that Websense's door remains open to any of the reclassified partners.
"We now have a team of people revisiting them and asking them what their story is and whether or not they see Websense as a tactical product," Baker explained.
He also urged resellers to get on board with Websense's unified security message and use the vendor for both email and web rather than partnering with the likes of Webroot or IronPort.
"A lot of our customers still think of us as a glorified web site filtering vendor," he said.
"But with Triton, we are one of the first vendors with an integrated story. We truly have a web, data and email solution in one interface. If I am in the channel, why would I want to work with Websense and another email security vendor when I can work with one company?"
CRN's Nima Green caught up with Chris Labrey for a quick Q&A at CRN's recent European Channel Leadership Forum
We caught up with the Atea chief exec at CRN's European Channel Leadership Forum in London
Andy Gillett has been appointed GM for the UK and Ireland
UK is one of two countries to see rollout of vendor's newest subscription service