McAfee drives clarity with Partner Profitability Stack

Gavin Struthers

McAfee worldwide channel chief Gavin Struthers

McAfee has combined channel programs old and new under a new Partner Profitability Stack umbrella that it says represents “a new holistic approach” to profitability in its channel.

“This is about better, richer, faster,” said Gavin Struthers, McAfee’s global channel chief. “It’s about providing more value to our partners when it comes to profitability.”

Some parts of the Stack have been in place in various geographies around the world, but by bringing them all together and making them all worldwide, the company reckons it will make dealing its wares more profitable for all of its channel partners.

Some familiar blocks include the enhanced deal registration program announced last year, and the McAfee Rewards program that provides solution provider sales and technical staff with points that can be turned in for prizes.

But there are also plenty of new things going on in the Partner Profitability Stack. With the launch, the company is introducing tiered pricing for partners, where partners get progressive discounts at each step up the McAfee partner program levels of Associate, Premier, and Elite. “We’ve always spoken about rewarding the investments make in McAfee,” Struthers said.

McAfee is also adding a program it calls Incumbency Advantage to the program, offering the initial partner of record a financial advantage when it comes to securing licenses in further years.

On the rebates front, the company has long offered rebates to partners based on sales numbers, but it’s now adding rebates around technical value-ad in sales. With the launch of an ACE Incentives rebate, partners can get additional rebates when their Accredited Channel Engineers (ACEs) do proof-of-concept and other pre-sales work for customers. There’s a value for it not just because a more complete pre-sales effort results in more sales, but because it “takes demand off” McAfee’s own pre-sales professionals when partners do POCs themselves. “If you have an ACE and you’re doing POCs, we’ll reward that effort,” Struthers said.

In Canada, McAfee currently has six ACEs certified, and “more than 20” in the process of reaching the accreditation. The company has certified about 250 ACEs globally since the program’s introduction last year, and Struthers stressed that the program is one where McAfee is “looking for quality as opposed to making it a volume program.”

The company will now do teaming plans with all of its partners. Previously piloted with partners working on North American enterprise accounts, the company will now build teaming plans with VARs on customers of all sizes. Teaming plans around a given customer will spell out how partners will be rewarded for the value they bring to the table when they introduce new customers to McAfee, or when they are brought in early in the sales cycle by McAfee to add “business or technical value” to the customer.

Behind the program, McAfee is offering a Stack Calculator on its partner portal, a tool that allows partners to figure out how much they can make due to Profitability Stack benefits based on doing a certain number of deals at a certain deal size.

And, he said, the company is sending building blocks to its partners’ representatives, a fun promotional toy that partners can “stack” themselves. The whole purpose of the Stack approach, Struthers said, is to drive awareness and simplify its messaging to partners.

“We need to make sure our plans are clear and simple, and we need to accelerate [our partners’] learning about what we’re doing,” Struthers said.