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If a pilot sees a weather pattern changing conditions in his flight path, he changes course. So do good channel executives.

Like most channel executives, Mike Ross, area vice president of North American Channels at RSA Security, saw buying and selling patterns changing conditions in his intended path and redrew a channel plan to take advantage of the new conditions.

Ross, who joined the company 13 months ago, recognized VARs no longer sold their services as a one-off deal, as they had when product reselling ruled and services meant implementation.

Ross recognized VARs were selling products and services in monthly installments, mostly as MSPs (managed service providers), and pioneered a pricing scheme for MSPs that matches the way they sell.

The course correction and a new commitment to make the company 100 percent channel helped bring Ross and RSA to their intended destination—new resellers on the roster and new customer engagements.

“This pricing structure allows the end-user customer to recognize this cost is an expense [as opposed to] a capital expenditure,” he said, “therefore getting RSA into markets that wouldn’t be available to us.”

Since Ross came aboard, the Bedford, Mass., company has added 400 new partners (including 28 MSPs) and 800 new customers, and increased new-license sales more than 30 percent.

“The bottom-line goal is to grow our customers,” Ross said. “We are focusing around new technologies and new licenses over upgrades and renewals at current customers we’re already in, and that means a focus on the channel, which is bringing us into new deals.”

RSA made a point in 2006 of expanding its reach to new geographic areas and skill areas, such as networking and VOIP (voice over IP). It all started by getting senior management to commit to the channel, he said. A synergy was born as company officials signed on to the concept that RSA’s future depended on the company being more channel-centric.

The results, among other things, were a major monetary investment in its channel budget, increased rebates and incentives for partners in the company’s SecurWorld Partner Program, and the addition of several channel managers throughout the United States and Canada to handle accounts. The company instituted a 5 percent instant rebate upfront to solutions partners.

RSA also reaped the harvest of better-trained partners after it transferred its online sales curriculum onto the RSA SecurWorld Partner Portal, which improved access to and the utilization of training tools.

Another major success of the channel program is the changes launched earlier this year to the Deal Registration initiative that allowed channel partners to register certain potential opportunities as soon as they were identified, thereby increasing the likelihood of being rewarded for closing the deal.