Checkmarx revamps channel program to encourage more partner focus on application security

The new program makes changes in both structure and resources to give partners more paths to deepen their partnership, and encourage network security companies to deepen their focus on application security, which is Checkmarx’s area.

Patrick Fedele, Head of North American Channels at Checkmarx

Application security testing vendor Checkmarx has launched a new global partner program. It replaces an older program that the company no longer believed met its needs. The new one makes the program more consistent globally, gives partners more diverse opportunities to invest with Checkmarx, and is focused on encouraging network security-focused partners to place more emphasis on application security.

Checkmarx is an Israeli-based company, in business since 2006, which has U.S. offices in Paramus N.J. and in Atlanta.

A major challenge for Checkmarx in growing their channel business is that application security is a relatively underdeveloped practice area for most partners.

“It’s a blind spot for a lot of them, even though they all know many more applications are being created,” said Patrick Fedele, Head of North American Channels at Checkmarx, who joined the company in April after almost 18 years at Cisco. “To a degree it also reflects the fact that there are millions of unfilled cybersecurity jobs today. There are partners who have a true OpSec practice, but most don’t, and most of the big partners don’t have one. Even though Gartner says that this is a $2.6 billion market, a lot of partners are still focused on network security, not application security. They tend to work with us on an opportunistic basis, and their depth is limited.”

The revamped channel program is intended to address this.

“We wanted to create a consistent experience and help partners grow their practices beyond network security,” Fedele said. “We need this in order to scale better, since we are only an 800-person organization.”

Fedele indicated that the consistency issue was a major problem with the old program.

“I’ve been here for a few months, and found that even though we have been around for a while, we had a relatively immature channel program,” he said. “Normally these programs are consistent globally. The first thing I did when I came in was dive into the North America program. We had an inconsistent experience for partners, depending where they were, and who they were working with.”

The structure of the program, which used to be two tiers, Registered and Plus, has also been overhauled.

“We now give more options for partners to determine how much they invest with us,” Fedele said. “We made the top tier partners Experts, and our goal is to have them sell our whole portfolio, including services down the road. Our new middle tier is called Advanced. This is for partners who are in growth mode but who don’t have the right staff or customer base for the top tier, while still being willing to put skin the game. Each of these tiers has training and revenue requirements that need to be met. The training will lead to certifications. We are revamping the training, to make it cleaner.”

The third tier, the Authorized partners who bring in opportunistic business, does not have training requirements.

“Partners also have access to CheckMarx University, which has a wealth of content they can use,” Fedele added.

Sales and marketing support include deal registration and Joint Marketing funds available to the top two partner tiers.

“Our top tier partners are required to build out marketing plans,” Fedele said. “We love it when our partners are aligned with our sellers.

“We are really trying to do a lot to help partners with a path to profitability,” he continued. “We pay them extra for bringing us new logos, and for renewals which expand it additional products or seats. If they hit new business and expansion goals, they are eligible for rebates and additional marketing funds.”

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