Kaspersky to introduce small business specialization

While Kaspersky is emphasizing the enterprise in its strategic objectives this year, it is also providing more segmented assistance to partners focusing on different parts of the market. This includes a new specialization which will see small business leads limited to partners who have secured it.

kaspersky channel

Leslie Bois, Vice President of Channel Sales at Kaspersky, and Jon Whitlock, Kaspersky’s SVP of Marketing

CANCUN – At its 2016 North American Partner Conference here, security software vendor Kaspersky Lab introduced several new and enhanced resources for its partners. One important change, which is not live yet, but will be in Q2, is a new small business specialization. Enhancements are also being made to deal registration and spiff programs, and some marketing elements are being improved.

Kaspersky is putting special emphasis on the enterprise sector this year. Yet at the same time, it is tailoring its messages to different segments more than it has in the past, with a focus on differentiating in each space. As a result, the small business segment – defined here as the sub-100 seat market – is also gaining attention with a new specialization for small business.

Kaspersky’s partners drive about 70 per cent of their leads, with Kaspersky providing the partners with the rest. The goal of the specialization is to make 100 per cent of the leads partner-driven in this segment

“We didn’t have anything specific for this segment before, but we want the SMB segment to be partner led, so we are creating this certification to incentivize partners in it to do that,” said Leslie Bois, Vice President of Channel Sales at Kaspersky. “We want it to be completely partner-led.”

Scheduled to be rolled out a month from now, on April 4, the new program will require both technical and sales people to be trained to earn the specialization. The program has two tiers, and the second tier will require a single resource to be dedicated solely to Kaspersky.

In addition to the branding for customers from showcasing their expertise, achieving the specialization will bring additional incents, with a key one being a significant change from the way things are handled now. While the goal is to get the partners producing all the leads in this segment, for the present, Kaspersky will still be providing some, as they have always done. However, getting the leads in the future will require the Small Business specialization. Bois acknowledged this is a two-edged sword, by design. Partners in the small business segment who invest in the specialization will reap benefits. Those who choose not to will be worse off.

Wade Danielson, President of Fort Worth-based Guardian Network Solutions, whose company won the Kaspersky award for the Very Small Business [VSB] (1-25) segment at the Partner Awards presented at the event, said that the Small Business specialization will be very important for them.

“Kaspersky had asked us how they could do better in the VSB space, and we are really excited about them putting more focus on that segment,” he said. “Many vendors don’t even track that segment.”

The 1-2-3 sales spiff per node will continue, and is being enhanced for 2016.

“New this year is up to $2500 per deal (at 5% of deal value ) on premium support and professional services targeted services as well as targeted solutions,” Bois said. “We have never included services in our incentives offerings before. They have been on products only.”

More partner incents – up to 5 per cent – are also being offered for Platinum and Gold partners through a new rebate program. End user discounts were also announced – 25 per cent off targeted solutions, Kaspersky Security for Virtualization, and Kaspersky Security for Mail Server. Discounts of 30 to 40 per cent were also announced on small business license packs.

Jon Whitlock, Kaspersky’s SVP of Marketing, stated that the marketing initiatives Kaspersky introduced last year have produced strong results, and indicated some new things are coming this year

“The First 90 Days program, designed to help new partners start selling as quickly as possible, has worked well he said. “It is also great for new reps of existing partners. We provide a little bonus for hitting objectives, and the company receives funding for a lead generation campaign when two reps complete it.”

Whitlock said 25 per cent of new partners are active in this program, and that these partners have over three times the number of prospects in the pipeline compared to new partners not in the program. Partners in the program also achieve their second deal registration 2.5 times faster than partners not in the program.

“Our monthly partner call, in which we interview Kaspersky people in webinars on key trends, has been a huge success,” he added. “Our engineers also do weekly endpoint security for business demos and weekly security for virtualization webinars. Partners who send customers to these demos have seen tremendous increase in their closure rate.

“We also continue to add new capabilities to the Partner Demand Center launched last year, which provides content syndication, email campaigns, and cobranded content – all at no cost,” Whitlock said. “It is now available to all partners, whereas before it was only Gold and Platinum. Now even Registered partners are eligible.” He highlighted its ‘set it and forget it’ elements,’ including the Social Media program.

“Through this, we will syndicate through the partners really good thought leadership content, including the latest security news and threats,” he said. “It’s branded from the partner, not Kaspersky.”

Whitlock said the Center also offers multi-touch nurture campaigns like invitations to webinars, which can put prospects into different tracks depending how they act on certain touches. Another aspect – which has been limited to select partners to start – involves content syndication and retargeting using ad words, to a partner landing page. The contacts come from inbound marketing, similar to what is done by the Kaspersky demand generation team, but extending it to the Center’s platform.

“I see the VARs who will take advantage of this being the more regional and local partners,” Whitlock said. “The national VARS have their own programs. We can target those local people effectively with ad words.”

Kaspersky also has an enhancemnent of their partner portal coming out in about a month.

“The last one was launched two years ago,” Whitlock said. “We are adding a new section to the portal with new resources for the partners. With the expansion of our portfolio and our shift to solutions, it highlights different things about the conversations they need to have with customers.”