McAfee boosts deal registration bonuses

Alex Thurber

McAfee channel chief Alex Thurber

Two months after rolling out a new SMB partner program that promises partners better margins when dealing with small customers, McAfee has made changes to its deal registration program that promises more cash for resellers working with larger customers.

Under its new deal registration program, McAfee partners selling to commercial and enterprise accounts will get a margin uplift of up to 25 per cent on deals they run through registration first.

“This is the biggest investment McAfee’s ever made in the channel,” said worldwide channel chief Alex Thurber. “It’s a re-confirmation that even after the acquisition [of McAfee by Intel] we’re 100 per cent focused on growing the channel.”

Under the revised deal, McAfee Elite, Premier and Select partners can notch up to 25 per cent in margin protection on new registered deals, and up to 10 per cent on upgrades within McAfee’s suites of solutions. Partners at the Associate level get “a limited version of the program” with up to 10 per cent margin boosts.

As do most major vendors, McAfee has had a deal registration program for some time, but Thurber said that when he talked to channel partners, “they were very vocal” about two major issues – it was a “very standard” (and not very exciting) deal registration program, and it was very complex to get deals through.

By making it more profitable, Thurber believes the company has tackled the first complaint – when it comes to deal registration, profitability equals sexiness. It’s a topic Thurber knows well – in his days as a solution provider (prior to runs as a channel exec at Cisco and McAfee) he recognized the value of deal registration to “help reimburse me for the most expensive part of the deal, and help protect me from swooping.”

The company has also taken steps to improve on complexity, and particularly time to response. By reducing the number of approvals required on a deal registration opportunity and adding automatic escalations, Thurber said the company’s goal is to get deals registered and recognized in 48 hours or less. He declined to comment on exactly how long it took before, other than to say it was disappointing. “It was a lot longer than that.” Thurber said that operationally, the focus is on getting deals registered “quickly and predictably.”

With the new program in place, Thurber says that between the SMB program and the new mainstream deal registration program, McAfee believes it has “the most aggressive deal registration program in the industry,” and has delivered on its promises from its partner conference last year in Las Vegas.

That begins to set the stage for this year’s partner conference, held in concert with its Focus end user event, again in Las Vegas. Thurber said this year’s event will see further enhancements to its partner program, but said that in the past, McAfee has often made too many changes too quickly. With the groundwork in place, he said, changes to the program will focus on “making it profitable and interesting to work with us.” Thurber also hinted at announcements at the event which will begin to make clear “the fruit of our acquisition by Intel.”

And, of course, will be there to make sure you know what’s happening as it happens.