Siemplify reworks partner program to solidify margins in competitive SOAR market

Siemplify has made multiple changes to simplify the Go-to-Market model, but the headline here is margin protection up to a 65% discount level.

Wayne Goeckeritz, vice president of global channels at Siemplify

The SOAR market is booming, with analysts projecting it to effectively double by 2024. Growing sales do not ensure good margins, however, and the SOAR space has been hit with aggressive price competition. Siemplify has overhauled its year-old channel program to make it more attractive to partners faced with this situation. It includes margin assurance on most deals, a relaxing on certification requirements, and an even greater appeal to partners like MSSPs who can speed up Siemplify’s time to market.

“When a new channel leader comes into a role, they re-evaluate what their predecessor did, and the benefits that the existing channel program brought, including where the deals have been coming from,” said Wayne Goeckeritz, vice president of global channels at Siemplify, who joined the company in February. “I determined that we needed to change a couple of elements and make us quicker and more nimble.”

A key issue with the old program is that the registered deal margins disappeared under competitive pressure, making deals unattractive from the reseller’s perspective.

“Profitability was super lacklustre,” Goeckeritz said. “It didn’t get the partners excited.”

Goeckeritz noted that posted margins typically dissolved under pressure to get deals done.

“All these programs start out with a lot of excitement, and offer a heavy front end discount plus extra if you bring in the opportunity,” he said. “The problem is that  under any constraints, immediately those deal registration margins seem to vanish, and everything goes to NSP – non standard pricing. The old margin guarantee is out the door.”

The problem in this sector has been that as the SOAR market consolidated, with the original pioneers Phantom and Demisto being bought by Splunk and Palo Alto Networks, a lot of price pressure was the result. Goeckeritz, who worked at Demisto until it was acquired, and for several months after, said the pricing pressure really took off after that acquisition, the second of the two big ones in the space.

“With this price pressure, we have to be more nimble and provide partners with a better window of profitability, in order to keep their sales reps interested in talking about our SOAR platform,”  Goeckeritz noted.

Accordingly, Siemplify’s partner program has been rebranded as 20-20, with changes designed to provide partners with complete visibility and transparency, including a sell-with strategy and margin assurance.

“The name is a play on good sight, and is all about providing the visibility and trust between ourselves and the partner community,” Goeckeritz said. “The philosophy is to keep it simple, have a strong sell-with-them motion, and provide a guarantee of margin in most cases.”

The margin is protected up to a 65% discount level.

“Many reps don’t understand difference between discount and margin,” Goeckeritz emphasized. “This is a guaranteed margin – a qualified guarantee up to a certain discount level, up to more than 65% on the front end. When they sign up for a deal reg they can be assured it will stick through the whole program.”

He stressed that this kind of protection is critical in the market for a smaller vendor like themselves to give resellers confidence.

“If you are a smaller guy in the marketplace, you won’t beat the bigger ones by going straight on,” he said. “You have to be nimble and work with margins to make sure partners can realize profitability.”

Other changes to the program are geared at making things simpler.

“A big part of this is about speed to market,” Goeckeritz stated. “We have eliminated almost all the enablement barriers to entry. It’s now a very simplistic way to sell. Before there were multiple tiers of education and training. We have eliminated most of those. That doesn’t mean the programs don’t exist, but it’s more about if and when you want to take it. We will carry most of the load in the selling. We want to keep it simple for the partners, and sell with them.”

New components have been built for MSSPs, who have always been an important to Siemplify, and for professional services partners.

“We want to have dedicated security resellers, but we are also now focusing on managed services partners that can take us to market quicker” Goeckeritz said. “In addition, we would be foolish in this pandemic market to turn anyone away who wanted to pitch our product – because we can’t always be there today. If someone in Ukraine wants to sell us, where you can only be virtually, we have to look at them. In the pandemic, you can’t manage a channel the way you used to.”

In addition, at the end of March, Siemplify unveiled a  Community Edition, a free version of the product that they launched in tandem with an online user community.

“It is a free, ‘lite’ edition that partners and users can access,” Goeckeritz said.

He also noted that Siemplify has acquired its first Canada-based channel partners during the last year. They are regionally-focused rather than the big national players.