Security vendor Avecto drives towards 100 per cent channel with revamped partner program

Avecto, which sells endpoint and privileged access management solutions to the enterprise and midmarket, has moved from direct to close to 100 per cent channel sales within two years.

Matthew Knutsen, Vice President & General Manager, Americas for Avecto

Avecto, a British-based security software vendor which has had U.S. offices for years, has announced that following its redo of its channel program in January of this year, the company has accelerated its shift towards an all channel model.

Avecto started in 2008 selling entirely direct.

“At that time, we started out very much as a niche player around privileged access management, and we had a lot of success with our Privilege Guard solution,” said Matthew Knutsen, Vice President & General Manager, Americas for Avecto. “Over the 2012-2013 period we had a number of major launches which broadened us out into broader endpoint security. Today, while we still have lots of privileged access management conversations, we are very much focused on the endpoint security space and our Defendpoint software.”

Their market tends towards the high end, but they also have a midmarket presence.

“When we sold direct, we were focused on large enterprises, and a number of our partners are still in that market – in financials, health care, and now in manufacturing,” Knutsen said. “However, the midmarket also has become a significant part of our business. While we haven’t done a lot of marketing, we have accrued a lot of customers over the years with a renewal rate that is north of 98 per cent. While other vendors talk about detection, we are very much about prevention, and while it’s a bit boring and dull, it is effective, and it’s operationally effective, so you don’t need a huge team to manage it.”

Avecto established a channel program when it decided it needed a channel program to scale two years ago, but Knutsen acknowledged it was a pretty bare bones operation. It was a two tiered program, with Authorized partners and Referral partners, the latter being basically for consultants who found an opportunity.

“The previous program was very opportunistic, and we were basically ‘one foot in’ the channel,” Knutsen said. “We didn’t have a partner portal. There was very little enablement. There was no partner portal, no deal registration, no MDF. Authorized partners were supposed to have two certified engineers, but we didn’t actually have any training for them, so it was all very informal.”

The new program has three tier thresholds: Platinum, Gold, and Silver. The program is much more fully fleshed out compared to its predecessor. It includes technical and sales enablement, and marketing support that includes co-marketing opportunities and MDF funding. It also features professional consultancy services, lead generation and deal registration incentives.

“We invested a lot of money and time in the partner portal to make it a one-stop shop for partners,” Knutsen said. “The MDF is available for the top two tiers. The deal registration is available for all of them. We also have an enablement plan all mapped out, with training and certification and best practice guides.”

The marketing tools include ‘campaigns in a box,’ channel-friendly campaigns which partners can use, and which include webcasts, webinars and on-site events. Avecto is also conducting a global ‘Know your threats’ roadshow, joining forces with 16 Avecto partners in locations across the US, Canada, the UK, and Germany.

“We also now have a consultancy program around delivery of services, recognizing the importance of services to partners,” Knutsen stated.

Avecto has moved from 40 per cent to 92 per cent of their business coming through partners over the last year and a half, and Knutsen said they are on target to their goal of 100 per cent. However, while the amount of channel business is increasing, they are not looking to massively increase the number of partners, which presently stands at 80 globally.

“Right now, we have 28 partners in North America,” he indicated. “That number will grow, but growth in numbers is not the focus of our Channel Partner Program. We are investing in strategic partners who have made the investment in us as well. We have key strategic partners in all of the areas that we operate. There will be some strategic asks in the next few years. However, the goal is not to grow by numbers but to expand the business through strong, mutually beneficial relationships built on strict requirements and standards.”