Imperva doubles down on channel-first with new incents to spur mid-market push

While Imperva is looking to push more business to loyal partners rather than recruit a bunch of new ones, they are making a major launch down into the midmarket, with new subscription plans, a lead generation machine, and new incents to help partners along.

Kirt Jorgenson, Imperva’s senior director of channel strategy and programs

Cybersecurity vendor Imperva has announced that it is pushing down into the mid-market, leveraging a channel that has become central to their Go-to-Market model with a channel-first strategy. Imperva will be assisting partners in this effort with new enablement resources. These include new subscription plans and incents around them, a new lead generation engine, and new programs like rewards for bringing in partner-sourced customers.

Imperva has been in business since the early part of the century, originally as a Web Application Firewall [WAF] specialist, and while they still do that, along with other capabilities like bot management that came through acquisition, today they emphasize it all being part of a broader platform play.

“Over time as we extended our portfolio, our mission became to protect data and all paths to it,” said Kirt Jorgenson, Imperva’s senior director of channel strategy and programs. “We developed a platform and position the portfolio as part of that rather than as individual point solutions.”

While Imperva’s focus has been on the enterprise, they moved to a channel-first model in the last decade.

“I’ve been here for five years, and we have always been committed to the channel Go-To-Market, evolving to channel-first,” Jorgenson said. “Over the last couple of years, we completely relaunched the channel program, with China being the last market where we formalized the program. The channel-first commitment was further reinvigorated by CEO Pam Murphy and her leadership team, which came in in January 2020. They re-energized that commitment.”

Today, north of 80% of Imperva’s overall business goes through a channel partner.

“The key metric for us is how much of that is partner-sourced,” Jorgenson said. “We have a few hundred partners that transact, but less than 100 are really active – the 80-20 rule in practice.”

The goal with this new initiative is to get more business out of those existing motivated partners.

“We are not really focused on recruiting new ones, but in investing in ones that have shown commitment to us,” Jorgenson said. “We are doubling down on those. We already have a nice mix of partners from our [2014] Incapsula acquisition that was originally more midmarket and SMB, which expanded into our broader portfolio. We may see some new partners pop up, but we are not specifically looking at recruitment.”

They are, however, looking to increase their MSP base.

“It is there today, but we are seeing more interest in managed services,” Jorgenson indicated. “We will be launching a new program aimed at managed services.”

The programs already put in place around the midmarket initiative to enable incents and accelerate pipeline start with new subscription plans that simplify a partner’s sales process, eliminate the need for complicated sizing exercises and allow resellers to increase margins by reducing the overall cost of the sale.

“What I’m excited about with the new subscriptions is we are simplifying this for all customers who want to protect against data breaches, regardless if they have the internal ability to support them,” Jorgenson said. “It really expands the addressable market. It makes it easier for partners to sell and deploy, and expand as customer needs change.”

Jorgenson said the subscriptions can be sold to a broad range of customers.

“They can be positioned for any size business that wants to protect applications,” he indicated. “Even a large enterprise might start out with a lower-end subscription model.”

Also new is what amounts to a lead referral plan, a self-service product trial program from Imperva, which will feed out contacts generated through a trial program through the Imperva website.

“We identify partners who are trusted advisors, and work closely with them in a co-sell,” Jorgenson stated. “That’s how you build relationships with the partner ecosystem. The trial program is a proof point of how we take it to the next level. We ask the prospect if they have a preferred partner. If they do, we refer it to them. If they don’t, we work with partners with a high velocity sales model and pass these opportunities to them. Eventually, they will be able to generate these leads on their own websites, and won’t have to be referred.”

New incents include ones around longer-term subscriptions, and one for partner-sourced net new logos.

“They don’t have to be new for the partner, just to Imperva,” Jorgenson said.

Imperva is also making what Jorgenson termed ‘robust’ MDF and joint marketing programs available.

The new incents follow up on other recent enablement activities, including the launch of a new partner university last year to provide on-demand training.

“This all represents a commitment to growth and innovation and the channel-first Go-To-Market,” Jorgenson concluded.

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