Panda Targets Symantec, McAfee with Revamped Channel ProgramBy Lawrence Walsh | Posted 2009-09-23 Email Print
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Panda Security is revamping its U.S. channel and sales programs to focus exclusively on growing through solution providers. By making its products and programs easier to use, Panda hopes to take share away from its larger domestic rivals.
Spain-based Panda Security has nibbled in the North America antivirus and endpoint security market for nearly a decade, but never gained traction against giants such as Symantec and McAfee. Now with the market leaders increasingly diversifying their portfolios, Panda says it believes it has an opportunity to more than crack the market, and the wedge it's looking to use is the channel.
"The only way to grow is to penetrate the U.S. market, and the only way to do that is through the channel," says Ruben Garcia, director of U.S. channels at Panda. "When you're looking to bring in a brand that no one has ever heard of, you need the partner to make the introduction to the customer."
For much of its time in the U.S. market, Panda has operated a mixed direct and indirect sales program. It drives much of its North America sales through a network of 300 solution provider partners. And it develops leads for its partners and inside sales teams by giving away free basic antivirus applications and services.
In revamping its sales strategy and channel program, Panda is going 100 percent indirect and converting its entire inside sales team to channel account managers and sales facilitators. Increasing market share will require attracting new partners to its program, so Panda enhanced its channel program with several incentives for solution providers. They include:
- Deal registration that protects partner investments in account development. Partners receive an additional 10 percent margin bonus on new customers registered with Panda. Should a competing reseller try undersell an existing customer, the account owner will receive a 10 percent commission.
- Renewal protection that gives resellers up to 30 percent commissions when licenses or service agreements expire.
- New marketing and training support through its partner portal, which includes customizable marketing materials.
- Market development funds, promotions, rebates and discounts designed to stimulate sales and ensure partner profitability.
- Cloud-based services that allow resellers to provide their customers with complete endpoint security that’s hosted by Panda by delivered and managed by the partner.
Garcia says the program revisions and the restructuring of the Panda internal sales teams are designed so that partners can earn high sales and profitability opportunities with minimal fear of conflict from direct sales or other resellers. Additionally, he says Panda made its program as simple as possible so partners will have greater opportunity to sell to new customers and service existing clients rather than dealing with program bureaucracy.
"Resellers are ... looking to find another vendor that's easier to work with and easier to use, and we're hoping that's Panda," says Garcia.
Panda says it wants to increase its reseller community from its current 300 partners to more than 1,000 within a year. In addition to the added incentives in the program, Panda has lowered the barrier to entry by eliminating sales quotas for its elite partners. New partners will have three quarters to meet sales expectations without losing privileges in the elite tier.
The North America IT security market is fiercely competitive and dominated by the likes of Symantec and McAfee. But Panda says it believes it can make headway against the market leaders and established domestic security providers through its simplified program and by offering easy-to-adopt managed services, a program it calls Panda Managed Office Protection (PMOP).
While Symantec, McAfee and CA have diversified their security product portfolios away from client security, Garcia says Panda aims to fill the void by providing right-sized products and services for businesses that don't need enterprise-class security offerings.