Netwrix launches new channel program to better enable partners in more proactive channel strategy

Netwrix has revamped their North American channel program, beefing up education, enablement and support, and as a first step wants to develop a cadre of go-to partners who can do implementations and bring in business on their own.

Jim Smith, Netwrix’s VP of Sales

Irvine CA-based Netwrix, which makes a visibility platform for data security and risk mitigation in hybrid environments, has introduced a new channel program in North America. It represents a more proactive strategy by Netwrix to make its channel better informed about its value, able to do implementations on their own, eventually, and bring in business on their own rather than simply fulfill. The program will be directed by Ken Tripp, who was promoted to the position of Director of Channel Accounts in January.

“The best way to summarize why we are revamping the program is that we had been using the channel in North America on a reactive basis,” said Jim Smith, Netwrix’s VP of Sales. North American channel sales have been a much smaller percentage of the whole – between 25 and 30 per cent – compared to EMEA where different languages and different laws mean that almost 98 per cent of the business is channel.

“We have had multiple channel partners in North America, but we never really went after them to enable them,” Smith said. “We worked with them but didn’t enable them on a proactive basis. Generally, the channel was facilitated when clients wanted to work with partners. If a customer we sold to had a preferred channel partner, then we worked with them. Very little was brought to us by partners.”

Smith also said that Netwrix hadn’t been doing enough to develop partners’ skillsets around Netwrix previously.

“It was very much a laissez-faire strategy before,” he acknowledged. “We trained some boutiques, like Cold Creek IT Solutions in Colorado, to do customer implementations with JumpStart for us, but overall, we didn’t embrace this as a strategy. We haven’t educated partners broadly enough about our technology before. We began as an IT auditing solution, but we are much broader than that now.

Remaking the program was intended to create a corps of strong, well trained partners, who can bring deals to Netwrix.

“We have created a program that will allow Ken and his team to train and enable the channel,” Smith said. “Ken’s whole role is to make the channel understand who we are, what we do, and how they can make money with us.”

Smith said that with over 100 partners already authorized in North America, a more proactive approach begins with educating partners better about Netwrix’s solutions.

Softchoice, which is Toronto-based but has a significant presence across North America, does a lot of business with Netwrix, but Netwrix still found that Softchoice’s staff weren’t well equipped to sell them.

“We did $350,000 in business with Softchoice last year, but we found that their engineers wouldn’t know anything about us,” Smith said.

Ken Tripp, Director of Channel Accounts, Netwrix

“We are dealing with this situation by educating partners on our product so that they know more about its value,” Tripp said. “Their sales forces didn’t know the product well enough to put it in front of clients. Eliminating this is  where the enablement will really happen.”

While online training will be offered through Netwrix University, a key component of learning will be field-based.

“We will have conversations with partners about the commitment they want to make,” Smith said. “For those who are making a commitment, our proactive strategy will involve enabling them by giving  them the foundation they need to position our product. The way we intend to work with them in the field is do a lot of the heavy lifting through our own sales engineers. As we progress, we will ensure that they become more self-sufficient. but for the first year, to year and  half, we are prepared to do a lot of the heavy lifting. We know that as we grow we can’t scale this, that we won’t be able to keep up with the demand. But we expect that partners will be able to assume this.”

Tripp said that the program will have three tiers – Authorized, Silver and Gold – and that Netwrix will also provide additional tools for partners to be successful.

“We have revised the partner portal, providing deal registration and co-branded marketing material,” he indicated. “New marketing initiatives include a ‘campaign in a box. We will be providing rebates that have a more channel-centric model than previously. We will also be doing initial enablement for our more committed partners, particularly around marketing initiatives, trade shows and lunch and learns.”

Smith summed up Netwrix’s objectives for the first year of the new program.

“I want to develop a core set of partners, both boutique and larger, who are actively going out and selling our product,” he said. “If we could get a good core of the 100 partners we have today doing that, it would allow them to help us from an implementation standpoint. You educate, you enhance, you allow them to execute on their own. That doesn’t happen overnight. After a year, I would also like to see  half of the business be brought in from the channel, as opposed to just doing fulfilment.”