Intel Security Continues to Revamp Partner Program
Intel Security rolled out the second phase of improvements to its partner program, in a move to continue simplifying pricing and improving profitability for its reseller and distributor partners.
The first phase, launched in October 2014, developed the framework for the new program, which included simplifying solution competencies, eliminating baseline certifications, and adding a new partner dashboard and new marketing platform.
The new program is built on how customers are buying security now, and how partner business models are changing, said Lisa Matherly, head of worldwide partner programs, marketing and operations at Intel Security. "They are evolving from just reselling product to providing managed services, and working with their customers on improving their security posture and implementing security technologies."
"It really is based on how do we improve customer outcomes around security and help our partners be that trusted advisor," she added.
The second phase of the partner program initiative focuses on making investments in reseller partners and driving their profitability. One of the biggest enhancements is what Intel Security calls a new Teaming Plan. Under this program, the company is making investments in resellers that are committed to building a practice around Intel Security solutions, and are adding value to Intel Security-found deals. This increases deal protection as well as streamlines the approval process for the partners.
When Intel Security engages with partners on teaming plan opportunities, the opportunity margin will be exclusive to them as a way to protect their investments.
Over the past year, Intel Security has tripled its investment in enablement programs for both pre-sales and post-sales enablement to give its partners the technical and selling skills around its security connected platform and strategy for implementation services around its solutions, Matherly said.
The new investments include post-sales services training—the same training it provides to its professional services organization—and channel sales expert training, an in-depth sales course to bring partners up to speed on new technologies.
When Intel Security brings in partners around a new opportunity it identifies, the company expects the partner to bring to the table those skill sets it has invested in, including technical skills for proof-of-concept or customer demos, additional services and post-sales to help customers implement the technology so they have a positive experience.
Other key enhancements—such as the removal of tiered pricing, improved deal registration, and improved incentives (via the Incumbency Advantage Program)—also are designed to protect and improve partner profitability.
A big change was eliminating Intel Security's complex pricing model, allowing partners to improve retained margin and protect their deal registrations.
"What we've done is to level the playing field with our standard discounting to all partners, and then incremental margin enhancements around the teaming plan, deal registration and Incumbency Advantage go to one partner on each deal," Matherly said.
The new deal registration, which rewards partners based on their Intel Security Partner Program level, limits deal registration to one partner per each approved partner-found sales opportunity.
The improved "Incumbency Advantage" Program, a rewards program for bringing in new business, provides additional incentives based on the program level by increasing the discount for resellers as the partner level rises, and automatically rewards resellers for renewals.
In addition, the company changed the partner levels to Platinum, Gold and Silver to reflect industry-standard terms for partner tiers. It also rolled out its new sales and partner rules of engagement.
"No program will be successful without communicating the rules of engagement and ensuring that our sales reps are bringing partners in early to opportunities, and identifying and protecting the investment those partners are making on those opportunities via the teaming plan and deal registration," Matherly said.
The final phase of enhancements will launch in January 2016 and will focus on reducing the cost of doing business with Intel Security, which will result in higher net margins for partners. This will include moving completely to a point-based continuing education program for training and enablement requirements.
The company expects to release in August a "service delivery specialization" that will recognize partners, based on certification, for their expertise to deliver services around Intel Security's technologies.
Services delivery includes assessment services and health checks for customers "so our partners become the trusted security advisor to them," Matherly said.
Gina Roos, a Channel Insider contributor, focuses on technology and the channel.