Avira Aims for Simplicity with First Partner Program

Lance Jacobs, North American general manager for Avira

Lance Jacobs, North American general manager for Avira

As major security vendors scramble to add more functionality and new types of features to their offerings, is there a room for the simpler sale of traditional antivirus? Germany-based Avira is betting so, bringing its core security offering to the forefront with the launch of its first North American channel program.

The company’s pitch is simple: basic but high-quality antivirus software available to resellers for $10 per seat per year. That cost covers its core Avira Professional Security offering, a product with an MSRP of $37 per seat per year. Other products from the company will carry a more conventional margin. But Lance Jacobs, general manager for Avira’s North American operations, believes the $10 price point, and the message of simplicity, will go a long way in the right circles of the market.

“We’re not really going to get into the enterprise space, but we have this nice niche for resellers in the SMB,” Jacobs said. “And it seems like every reseller we meet is trying to get, to some extent, some business in that SMB space.”

Although not well known in North America, the company boasts more than 100 million users worldwide, mostly thanks to its use of the “freemium” model. To date, the company has only about 70 partners in North America.

“The only things that’s missing is brand awareness, but we have more than 25 years of very solid experience in this market,” Jacobs said.

And those partners are using its products in a variety of ways. Jacobs said the company is working with system builders to include antivirus with systems they ship, as well as to more managed service-type partners that are offering full desktop support.

The company is also going for simplicity in structuring its program. A base Smart Partner tier includes all the usual partner program trimmings, from access to training and marketing collateral to published margin rates, inclusion on the partner portal and the like. Jacobs said it’s a “sign up and go” type of program with no training requirements and the expectations that partners will self-serve their training, marketing, and fulfillment through the company’s Web site.

Avira’s program includes a second tier of solution providers, a group which the company dubs Über partners, in keeping with its German background. This groups of partners get designated channel account managers, front-of-the-line technical support access, not-for-resale software and evaluation licenses, as well as leads from the vendor. Über partners will have to commit to revenue clip levels with Avira, although Jacobs did not disclose those clip levels.

While the Smart Partner category is an open opportunity, Jacobs said Avira is going to “be a little more selective about who to bring in” to the Über level, expecting to garner no more than 25 or 30 of those top-tier partners in its first year of operation.

Avira has a background and experience in building and running a channel in Europe, but Jacobs said the newly-launched program represents “the first time we’ve really done anything in North American with full resources behind it.”

Currently, the company is handling procurement largely online, or through channel account managers. Jacobs said it’s too early to talk about distribution, although he was open to the idea of one or more Über partners taking on a distributor role.