Las Vegas – One of the big takeaways from this year’s Focus Conference for solution providers is that McAfee will be making changes to its main channel program: the Partner Alliance Program.
What those changes are may have a slightly different feel for Canadian-based solution providers as opposed to partners based in the U.S. and other regions.
CDN caught up with someone in the know on the McAfee channel team to find out some more details.
Lisa Matherly is the vice president of partner programs, marketing and operations for McAfee.
Matherly has held this position for the past four years and just last year completed the build-out of the worldwide channels marketing organization. She also played a major role in boosting marketing development funds for channel partners in the SMB.
The following is an edited transcript.
CDN Now: What did McAfee want to make Canadian operational changes?
Lisa Matherly: Brian Gumbel being a part of the North American sales team in the east will now have Canadian responsibility and I know that he is excited to expand his expertise into the Canada. This move is also good for Luc Villeneuve who can now focus on operations in the Canadian marketplace, which is his expertise.
CDN Now: Why the move to repackage and re-price McAfee solutions?
L.M.: Coming into the year we got feedback from channel partners that 68 per cent of them when they had an opportunity need to go to the deal desks. That’s too high. We need to be better in-touch with them from a competitive analysis. We had deals we lost to solutions with less functionality and at twice the price. The channel was telling us this and it was not in the deal registration program. This was a leading indicator for us that we needed to make a change. So what could we differentiate? The price point was one area and the partners determined that packaging and pricing went hand-in-hand.
CDN Now: Worldwide Channel Chief Gavin Struthers said there would be changes to the Partner Alliance Program. What are you working on?
L.M.: McAfee was bolting on other programs from acquisitions and it became very cumbersome for channel partner. We are working on trying to build out a framework that is simpler and allows them to focus on market segments or a technology focus. They will also have a path to enable and generate profitability that is at a high level from an enablement perspective. We are going to create a new framework for partners to navigate around the Web site. If they have a CAM (channel account manager) assigned to them, they will now be able to figure out how to get enabled, plan, learn and execute together. There will be new tools to help them plan better such as business plans, marketing plans, market intelligence plans and market opportunity analysis. We are going to use these as a check list for on-boarding solution providers. We want them to plan their business with McAfee. There will also be new training material for technical and sales along with a new channel marketing focus to help them drive demand such as NFRs (not for resale). Those are a few examples of what we are working on. But we are also going to go out and execute and build demand in the marketplace. The new program tools will be rolling out periodically and should be completely out by the end of next year.
CDN Now: What is your channel plan for the SMB?
L.M.: We have an on-premise end point protection solution in a SaaS model. It is easy to implement and it’s profitable from a front-end margin perspective. Partners will be able to focus on which part of program and the solutions they want. The acquisition from MX Logics, the SaaS solution, and Web and mail protection products are also great opportunities. In the SMB we are working on a tiered approach where the partner can sell and bill the customer or sell, bill and support and the margins are 25 points on the high end. We are also working on building out more enablement tools to help those partners in the SMB go out and generate demand. A lot of that is on social media such as ‘How to engage a customer on social media’. We are also looking at services and how we can help partners build out a services practice for post sales with McAfee implementation. All of this is for 2014.
CDN Now: What are you going to do differently with lead generation?
L.M.: Two things! We are making a big investment in lead development reps and they will be responding to incoming leads. They will also be making proactive call-outs to generate leads and new opportunities. Those are getting past to partners in addition to investing in co-marketing demand generation tools and assigning MDF (Market Development Funds) to Elite partners to go out and leverage demand generation tools. Partner can also use deal registration for those opportunities that they find to get added margins. With the introduction of end point suites we shall provide a demand generation kit for campaigns at a glance, how to run the campaigns, identify targeted segments, call-out scripts, and email call to action offers. These will all be in a package with Web-cast training.