Barracuda Keeps Programs to a Minimum—and Keeps Partners Active

By John Hazard  |  Print this article Print


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Barracuda Networks keeps its channel roster active and full by keeping partner programs simple, and it reaches more customers because of it.

Barracuda Networks has made a practice of simplicity.

Its primary product line—firewall appliances for spam, spyware and instant messaging—is plug and play; the pricing scheme fits on six bold-typed lines of a sales slick; and the products ship with no manual for users to toss on delivery.

So it is no surprise that the network security company built its channel program to be sleek and simple. Prices are set, margins are consistent on the appliance and recurring subscription fees, and there is no partner portal to navigate.

"Those things add to sales overhead," said Dean Drako, president and CEO of Barracuda. "Sales overhead wastes time and money for a VAR. The No. 1 thing a VAR wants from a vendor is to be profitable. We can do that by being easy to work with."

Barracuda, formerly a direct seller, built its channel quickly—with 1,800 VARs, 1,000 of which are active sellers, in less than three years—and has amassed just shy of 35,000 customers with the idea that simplicity keeps partners and gets the product in the hands of more customers.

Click here to view exclusive channel research from Amazon Consulting.

Barracuda's go-to-market strategy is "fishing, but with good results," Drako said. The program is designed to get the demonstration unit into the customer's environment, and that relies on a volume channel.

"Once they're able to get inside a customer's environment, they're able to demonstrate a need, and we can have a box to them in 24 hours," he said. "The VAR comes out looking like the hero."

Following the 30-day trial, 98 percent close the deal, Barracuda said.

VARs sit in one of three tiers based on revenue and certifications, which are designed to make more knowledgeable partners, Drako said.

Different VARs serve different customers and require a different level of knowledge, Drako said. "Some are able to put a plug-and-play device in a 50-user environment without much effort; a deployment at a 50,000-user account means you're dealing with a CIO and need to explain how the appliance works in a clustered environment."

Partners make a margin on the appliance and the same margin on the service renewal, as long as they maintain a relationship with the customer.


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