The new program is global, unlike its predecessors, has added a new classification for Referral Partners and beefed up another, Incident Response, as part of a move to broaden the partner base in that segment.
Cybersecurity vendor Cybereason has revamped and renamed its channel program. The Cybereason Defenders League has harmonized the policies being practised in different geos, and has improved North American policies by drawing on best practices being used in Europe. The program has a new focus area in Incident Response, and a new classification, for Referral partners. Finally, the North American staff has been significantly enhanced, to improve efficiency in supporting partners.
“This is a global enhancement to our partner program, with new names for program and tiers,” said Abigail Maines, VP Commercial and Channel Sales, North America, at Cybereason. “It’s still a three tier program, although the tiers are now Select, which is for new partners, Premier, and Elite.”
The superhero-tinged name is related to Cybereason’s overall corporate marketing message.
“The messaging is about improving customers’ defense by giving them access to the same kind of tools that attackers use, to reduce the attackers’ advantage,” Maines said.
The main reason for the restructuring of the program was to ensure that Cybereason was being as predictable and transparent as possible.
“There were inconsistencies globally around some of the components,” Maines stated. “We wanted partners in all areas to be eligible for the same benefits, and have the same pricing model, and pricing structure. On top of that, there were best practices from other geos we wanted to bring in. Europe was ahead of North America in some ways. Tristan Elder has done an excellent job there.”
Cybereason has a large channel, with thousands of partners globally, as well as broader access globally through distribution. Synnex handles them in North America. Unsurprisingly, their number of core partners is much smaller than that, however.
“In terms of active partners, I would categorize that as hundreds per quarter,” Maines said. “In North America, I’m focused on our top performing partners here, and there are less than 100 of those.”
The tiering system has three tiers, as did the old program, but there have been changes beyond just the names.
“We made the tiering requirements consistent globally, and we are now much more specific about the training requirements,” Maines said. “We are more now focused on components to move up tiers, than on minimum revenue, and we made that more explicit.” For example, the lowest tier, Select, is required to certify two individuals on sales training, while at the top Elite tier, five certifications are required.
The new program has five tracks, for Resale Partners, MSSPs, Incident Response Partners, Technical Integration Partners, and Referral Partners. The Referral Partner track is new. It’s for consultants who do not actually transact business, but who influence the sales cycle, and their track will provide them with tools and support to do this.
The Incident Response track is one that Cybereason is looking to expand to new types of partners.
“This is a new line of response for us this year,” Maines indicated. “In the past, GSIs used it. Now we are formalizing it to make it available to more partner types.”
Training and certification are all free in the program, and all self-study.
“I was at Check Point before and Cylance before that, and I would put the quality of our training up against them,” Maines said.
Certs are prerequisites for tier status. Six levels of certification are available, from basic sales through Incident Response.
“Those are always increasing because of partner demand,” Maines indicated. “MSSPs in particular are always happy with constant training and certifications, especially with things like double extortion ransomware.”
Enablement support will be improved through enhanced resources.
“My organization has doubled since March, so there are now more humans to help partners be better enabled,” Maines indicated. “We also launched our distribution in January, and standardized product into four bundles available through Synnex, which will make things easier for partners.”
Maines also pointed out that the partner portal has been significantly enhanced.
“If a partner hasn’t accessed it in the last 90 days, they will see a significant amount of new information, like a new partner program guide, and new battlecards.”