Unified security management vendor AlienVault is promising partners 25 points of retained margin on every deal they register as part of a channel shake-up under its new global channel boss.
Mike LaPeters told CRN that AlienVault has made a raft of changes designed to woo the channel since his appointment in April.
Chief among them is the formal launch last week of its ‘Margin Assurance' programme, which is designed to offer partners a predictable margin on deals they generate and register, namely 25 points in EMEA and 20 points in North America.
Under AlienVault's previous deal registration programme, which offered 25 points off list, partners were typically retaining five to seven per cent margin, which LaPeters said made it "almost impossible" for them to invest in the relationship.
"The challenge with a points-off-list model is that nothing ever goes down at list price," he said. "Most of it gets eaten up by end-user requirements, due to competition or budget. We wanted to find a way for partners to have a predictable margin on every deal, regardless of what the end-user price ends up being."
"The focus is now on getting partners comfortable representing our technology."
As a safeguard to ensure partners don't go in at rock bottom on price to win deals - safe in the knowledge they will still bag the 25-point bounty - AlienVault's channel account management team in Cork will help the partners come up with the "right number" on each deal.
"If we're not engaged, Margin Assurance won't happen. We will work with them to keep the price as high as we can," LaPeters said.
"The most exciting thing about our technology is that we don't run into too many competitive situations," LePeters said, asserting that AlienVault's offering is "way more than just SIEM [security information event management]" and that in any case competes below the likes of IBM in the SMB space.
Open source specialist AlienVault's average deal cycle in the UK stands at 62 days, added LePeters, who was promoted to the global VP channel role following the departure of predecessor Anthony D'Angelo after just three months in the post.
Margin Assurance is one of a raft of tweaks AlienVault has made based on feedback garnered from 200 existing and prospective partners following LaPeters' appointment.
The channel emphasis has now switched from partner acquisition to enablement, LaPeters said, explaining that AlienVault has a target of adding a maximum of 25 UK VARs this year.
"I think AlienVault was very focused up through 2015 on ‘how many partners can we sign up - let's get ‘em, and move on to the next guy'. A key component of when I came on board was really pushing to say education is the key to success. You can sign 500 partners but if you don't help make them successful you have a very frustrated partner community."
"The focus is now on getting partners comfortable representing our technology," he added.
Referencing the discontent expressed by several of its former partners earlier this year, LaPeters acknowledged that "stumbles happen" but insisted AlienVault is committed to the channel from the top down. Although its Cork team still engages in direct sales, over 90 per cent of UK business is conducted through the channel and AlienVault is "aggressive" in its explanation of why the channel is a better way to go, he said. Dedicated channel resources have trebled since his appointment, LaPeters claimed, with 15 channel staff now employed for EMEA.
One of several new UK partners to sign up to AlienVault is SBL and Brendan Walsh, partner relationship manager at the York-based VAR, said AlienVault will plug a void in its portfolio.
"We wanted to make sure we had a product that fitted midmarket customers. The likes of IBM is for large enterprise companies, and you need something cheap and cheerful as well, but AlienVault seemed to fill a gap in the middle," he said.
David Hood, managing director of Basingstoke-based ANSecurity, said his firm recently forged a partnership with AlienVault due to the fact more customers are "leaning towards SIEM solutions in an attempt to be more proactive and improve reaction to attacks and threats".
"This price protection means that partners that work on deals are rewarded accordingly," he added of AlienVault's deal registration mechanism, which he said is allocated based on who is proactively working on a project rather than simply being first.
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