PAM vendor BeyondTrust makes significant changes to channel program

BeyondTrust has built the standardization of pricing across the products of the four companies who became the present BeyondTrust in 2018 into the program. They have also separated out their less active partners into a new Authorized tier that will buy through distribution.

Dee Dee Acquista, BeyondTrust’s Senior Vice President of Global Channels

Privileged Access Management [PAM] provider BeyondTrust has made major changes to its channel program. They have expanded their tier structure with a new tier for partners who will buy through distribution, made changes to Cloud and Term subscription discounts, and provided increased benefits for the top partner tiers.

A major part of what this program restructuring is all about is harmonizing the channel Go-to-Market strategies of four PAM companies who came together in a short period of time in 2018. Following its acquisitions of Avecto and Lieberman Software in the first half of 2018, Bomgar bought BeyondTrust in September 2018 – then renamed the company as BeyondTrust.

“When these four companies came together, they had four sets of sales forces, four CRMs, four channel leaders, and four pricing strategies,” said Dee Dee Acquista, BeyondTrust’s Senior Vice President of Global Channels. “The leadership then in place then tried to deal with this by taking what they considered to be the best parts of all, and make a go of it.”

A key problem was that the four product lines treated normal discounts off list completely differently.

“The way that all four companies priced was very, very different,” Acquista said. “For example, Avecto might be discounted 40%, while BeyondTrust might be 15%. We understood that to become a more effective channel organization, we would first have to look introspectively at our own pricing. We would have loved to have done this earlier, but we had to fix those issues first before we could make changes to the program.”

That took a full five months.

“We made our pricing changes in the early parts of this year, so that instead of pricing being all over the place, we were able to give a true discount off list price regardless of the product, Acquista said. “It also means that we have better discounts now than ever before.”

BeyondTrust then rolled out the new partner program on the heels of those pricing changes. Acquista said that the heavy lifting of building the program was done by Jeff Mattan, a veteran channel program director who joined BeyondTrust six months ago as Vice President of Global Partner Programs. He had previously built and managed programs at companies like Proofpoint, Citrix, ShoreTel and Netgear.

“Jeff did an amazing job, putting together one big program that is globally consistent with rigor and discipline,” Acquista said.

One significant change to the program is that it has added an additional tier – Authorized – to go along with what are now branded as the three standard metallics, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

“The Authorized Tier is the new one, and is designed to handle the one-deal partners, the long tail that will go through distribution,” Acquista said. “We did not prune channel partners after all the acquisitions, and when I joined the company about a year ago and did a ‘look and listen’ tour, I found that we as a company used close to 400 unique partners to close $100 million worth of channel business. We cannot be meaningful to 400 partners for that amount of business. So we decided to get more focused, and asked our sales people to focus on a relative handful of partners. It was about 50 partners last year, and even then, they fell within the 80-20 rule. So we are asking all our partners to get in the new partner program with the new partner agreement. They have to sign that to get the new discounts, and have to sign by the end of this year to stay a partner. That said, we’ve had an overwhelming response since we started to talk to them, including a couple of webinars this week.”

Acquista said that they expect to have about 150 partners by the end of the year.

“With the Authorized partners, lets see if one deal turns into two, and two turns into seven, purchasing through distribution,” she said. “We can’t spend meaningful marketing dollars with partners who bring us one deal.”

The actual changes around things like revenue requirements to the three established tiers were extremely minor.

“We made very slight changes to the tiers, so we are in line with before,” Acquista said. “We are still in relative infancy with partners, and we didn’t want to shock the system.”

As far as pricing policy goes, in addition to the new standardized discounts between product lines, Cloud and Term subscription discounts have also been changed.

“Those are meant to encourage more Cloud and less Term,” Acquista said.

Benefits for partners in the top tiers have also been improved relative to before.

“There’s a bit more discount, and a bit more attention,” she indicated. “These include things like a dedicated channel account manager, customized business plans, and marketing dollars.

“We also wanted program to have some teeth,” Acquista added. “We hadn’t been good in years prior about communicating requirements, or giving updates on a quarterly basis to our top 50 partners. We will do that now. We will also take a look at things like NFRs.”

Acquista emphasized that BeyondTrust is really looking for partners to gear up their training around services.

“We are not a professional services organization,” she said. “We are excited by partners who want to get trained up so they can deploy. We are looking for more partners to step up there and get that training, because we really look to the partner community to help us there.”

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