Tricia Kelly, who recently came to Tehama to run their channels operation, talks with ChannelBuzz about the company’s value proposition to partners, and their plan to build up a strong channel business.
Ottawa-based Tehama, an enterprise Desktop as a Service [DaaS] provider, has launched the Tehama Partner Advantage Program, their first such initiative. While the program is still being built out, it will emphasize making partners successful at selling an offering that Tehama believes is distinctive in the DaaS market.
Tehama was created in September 2018 as a business unit of global IT product and services company Pythian. A year later, demand for their SOC 2 Type II compliant SaaS platform led them to spin out of Pythian entirely. In May 2020, they secured their Series A funding round. Then in August Tricia Kelly joined Tehama as Director of Channels and Alliances to head up the channel initiative.
“We didn’t have a program before now. but we had reseller agreements and separate referral agreements,” Kelly told ChannelBuzz. “When I came on board, my job was to rework the agreement and find partners that were a fit, both in North America and globally. The pandemic skyrocketed the opportunity, including in the U.K., APAC, and EMEA. My job was to put together a program to make it easier for partners to do business with us, and determine what we can do as a vendor to make it easier to do business with us. If you are too complex to work with, they will go elsewhere.”
Tehama currently has between 15 and 20 partners.
“I come from a security background and worked with security VARs, but with Tehama, we have a broader range of partners, including security, compliance and remote access partners,” Kelly said. “We call ourselves DaaS, but our platform has more bells and whistles than is typical for that market. We are looking for partners who are interested in the kind of new shiny toy that their competitors may not have.”
Some of their partners are MSPs. Some in Europe are larger resellers or VARs. They have consultant partners who use them to do testing of customer networks instead of VPNs. They have also had discussions with GSIs, who see them as a service they could add.
“We are in our ‘cast and catch’ phase with partners where we see how we can fit into their current offering or if they can build an offering around us,” Kelly indicated. “We don’t want to do a mass scale out though, and bring on 100 partners. And we want to fit in with what their goals are.”
The partner program has four tiers – a Registered level for no-commitment transactional sales, then Silver, Gold, Platinum, each with a rising level of sales and SE accreditations required. These are basic online courses — an hour long for sales and 90 minutes for SEs – not certifications. The certifications start at the Gold level.
The certifications, along with some of the other enablement tools, are still being put together, which is not uncommon with new programs from new companies.
“We are still building as we go,” Kelly said. “It’s a work in progress.”
Deal registration is a one page form, with a focus on simplicity. For now, it’s ten points on top of tier discounts, although that might be increased later.
“I do like the enticement of having a larger deal registration number, but right now the focus is on building it all out, with that good ten point margin across the board,” Kelly indicated. “We might look at that later down the road.”
Kelly stressed that even though Tehama has an innovative DaaS solution, partners are essential to scale the Go-to-Market
“Partners have relationships with customers that we don’t have,” she said. “We want them to be able to open doors and answer key questions, and we can go in and do the selling on their behalf if needed. We are the only vendor who does what we do. We just pitched a big SI who said this was cutting edge tech. But we are still in the educate phase. So for us to succeed, we have to listen to partners and how to make them successful.”