PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – During its annual Americas partner conference, Kaspersky Lab announced new channel tools and resources to better engage with and support its partners.
The event, now in its third year, saw close to 200 North American channel partners in attendance.
Randy Drawas, chief marketing officer for Kaspersky Americas, announced several partner enablement tools designed to help partners with their sales and other marketing efforts.
One example of this is ThreatPost.com, Kaspersky’s security news service. More specifically though, it’s an IT security information blog and partner collaboration Web site which the vendor announced almost a year ago. ThreatPost is available across North America, including Canada and is available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
“ThreatPost was designed to create dialogue in the marketplace to create more awareness of threats in the industry and to also encourage partner collaboration,” Drawas said.
The site includes news stories and other related information for IT security and networking professionals and is led by two security journalists, Ryan Naraine and Dennis Fisher. Kaspersky channel partners also have the opportunity to promote themselves and events they host on the Web site, Drawas said.
This year, Kaspersky will take ThreatPost on the road with events across North America to help facilitate more engagement and lead generation opportunities for partners. Drawas said the vendor is also looking to move more up-market this year and to do this, Kaspersky will be offering what it calls super-leads to its partners.
“These leads will be a higher quality because we’ll filter our leads before we give them to the channel,” he said. “The leads will be more sophisticated before they even become a lead to give out to partners.”
In addition to more sophisticated leads, Kaspersky will also introduce a new product configurator, which will enable partners to easily connect to Kaspersky’s deal registration system.
Partners will also be able to take advantage of a new online quoting tool from Kaspersky that helps partners automatically generate sales quotes for their customers. This will help partners start the sales process faster with their customers, Drawas said.
Jeff Milcz, director of software services at London, Ont.-based Metafore IT Solutions, was one of the Canadian partners in attendance at the conference. Milcz said that while Metafore is a Kaspersky partner right now, not a lot of the company’s software portion of the business comes from Kaspersky.
“I’m here for Metafore because we’re exploring the Kaspersky relationship further,” Milcz said. “I love the idea of a quoting tool and the new product configurator because this will help us reduce the time and efforts of our sales organization.”
Regarding the super-leads, Milcz says during his time in IT, he hasn’t seen much in terms of high quality leads and hasn’t really witnessed any vendors do this successfully.
“If these Kaspersky leads are of quality, we’ll be happy to embrace them for sure,” he said. “If we decide to engage more with Kaspersky, we’ll definitely hold them to what they say they’ll do with the leads.”
Among the new channel marketing initiatives, Kaspersky will also launch a new program, called Kaspersky Katalysts for its partners. The purpose of this program is to help establish and distinguish an elite group of channel partners who represent the Kaspersky brand.
“We’ll elevate these elite partners with our support for them with things like exclusive perks and branded Kaspersky resources,” Drawas said.
Lastly, Kaspersky is also in the process of building out a training program for partners whenever they hire new staff members. The program will help these new hires better understand the security threats and what’s going on in the IT security landscape, Drawas said.
Kaspersky executives also said that due to its fast growth and success rates in the Americas, the vendor will be making North America its primary regional focus this year.
“In 2009, the fastest growing region was the Americas,” Eugene Buyakin, Kaspersky’s chief operating officer said. “We believe this trend will continue this year and growing in the Americas will be a strong priority for us now.”